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ENGL 1010
Elaine Tarutis

1 Delgado Chantz Delgado March 28 , 2011 First Year Writing Seminar Professor Elaine Tarutis TheAthlete Nay-Quan and I played basketball at Cardinal Hayes High together for four years where we developed a great friendship that will likely, last a really long time. Nay-Quan Bloomer is what many will say “gifted” on the basketball court. Off of the basketball court, this phenomenal athlete is a shy, timid, and artistic person. However, a close friend will definitely understand how funny he can be. When I told him I would be writing about his life and what impact did basketball have, he smiled and said, “Chantz, really? You had to choose me.” His responses were usually humorous regardless of the content. What surprised me was that without me telling him about the interview, he managed to ask me a question regarding our past memories on the court together which coincidentally relates to my research topic. He started the questioning over Skype and said, “Yo Chantz, you remember when we were freshman and all the ball players were trying so hard to get us to play ball against each other so they can label who the best freshman was?” This question reminded me of how similar our passions are for the game of basketball. From day one, Nay-Quan and I had a lot of pressure on us. I experienced the pressure on my own and never bothered to ask him about his. I never spoke to anyone about how I was expected to do so well, and I never bothered to ask my competition. My previous coaches and family programmed me to believe that I was always competing with teammates, even 2 family members, when sports is involved. Therefore, I was always supposed to remain confident and un-phased, and I know he was programmed the same way. Therefore, the amount of pressure seemed so small, but it was not. Nay-Quan has always been a superb athlete. His leaping ability gave him an edge over the players. However, most of his time was consumed by playing a sport that he loves.As a result, he struggled to manage academics with athletics. During our freshman year, we were always great teammates and a powerful duo in the backcourt during our games. What plagued him were his grades. While he flourished on the court, the opposite was happening to his academics.All that Cardinal Hayes High School required for Nay- Quan to play a sport was to pass five out of his seven classes.Apparently though, my fellow teammate was doing horrible in class. He failed five classes, which caused a severe suspension that lasted a semester long. Over Skype I said, “Nay, honestly, what was the real reason you were not excelling in your academics in high school?” He said that since he was an only son, his parents always wanted him to be the best he can be. I did not really understand him so it explained it a little further. “My parents knew I loved basketball so they spoiled me. They knew I wanted to be the best and hopefully play at a professional level so almost every night, my stepfather brought me to the gym to work on my game for hours. By the time I got back from the gym, I was exhausted. School basketball practice ended at 5:30pm and my stepfather would pick me up and take me to the gym to shoot. Occasionally, I lifted weights but essentially, I used more energy.” He was so focused on improving in the sport that he forgot about school. What is important to note is the fact that he was drastically improving in basketball while the rest of the team was only slowly making progress. It got to a point 3 Delgado where the officials of a game would question his age and history. He was a man among boys. I never liked to admit it, but he was clearly the better player on our team. He told me of a story when he and his cousin went to play in a tournament with an age limit of fifteen and under. At the time, he was fourteen but his physical appearance said otherwise. He stood tall at 6’1, dark-skinned, buzz-cut hair, broad sho
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