Basketball and Other Buried Dreams

If I wasn’t already living my dream as an author (and also not 30-something years old with a husband, a mortgage and two kids), I’d want to be shootin’ hoops and knocking it down with the ladies of the Women’s National Basketball Association. (Yes, people, there IS an actual women’s pro basketball league here in the U.S.!) I can’t think of any other way I’d rather spend my time than getting paid to condition my body and play my favorite sport. I’m not kidding. Just read my novel, LITTLE 15, and you’ll find that basketball is a key theme throughout the book.

I used to be really good at the game – and I even have a few MVP and All-Star trophies stashed away in the attic to show for it. Unfortunately, I gave up playing competitively after high school, a decision that still haunts me to this day. Next to writing, I’ve never felt a more amazing adrenalin rush than when I was playing basketball for Ursuline Academy – especially when I’d get on a scoring spree and every shot I took seemed to sail into the basket with ease. (I think my record was 23 points in a single game.) Wow, I miss that … the feeling of being unstoppable, when no other player has the capacity to break your stride.

A few years ago, I played a few pick-up games at a local rec center. It was purely for fun and exercise, yet it wasn’t long before I found my zone once again- pounding down the court at break-neck speed (I know, I know, just work with me here), weaving in and out of defenders with ease, drawing fouls, stealing balls, taking shots, sinking baskets …

Then I got pregnant with our second son – and basketball took a back seat. Understandably so.

The Importance of Play

And that’s really what basketball has become for me – play time. In our adult world where everything is serious, I think we tend to forget the importance of play. As I’ve continued to delve deeper into THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron, I’m coming to understand more and more the positive impact that play can have in my life as an artist. For when we allow ourselves to play, we become more childlike. And when you become more childlike, you break down all the rules and limitations placed on us as adults. In other words, we get out of our own way and let our creativity flow through us, unfiltered.

According to Cameron, learning to play is also about unearthing  buried dreams and desires – as silly as they might seem – and carving out a place for them in your life.

For example. I love basketball, but I fully realize that my dream to play in the WNBA is unrealistic. However, getting back on a rec team is not. It’s completely doable, and in fact, it would be great exercise and an easy way to put the game back into my life.

But I don’t want to stop there. I have a few other “buried dreams” that I’d like to share – all of which can be integrated into my life in some way, shape or form. So let me lay them out for you:

I Wanna Be a Rock Star

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Don’t laugh, but I’ve always wanted to be a lead singer in a band. Like Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. Now that’s hot. I would totally be down with being the only girl – and wearing all those funky outfits and sexy getups. I’d have to be in tip-top shape, so working out with a personal trainer would be a must, as well as a choreographer . I love music (especially rap and alternative) and I love to sing, so I’d have no qualms of performing in front of thousands. In fact, that would just pump me up more.

Putting it into practice: This is probably my toughest dream to execute. For me, adult hip hop classes would be a good compromise. You literally feel like you are dancing in a music video, while getting a killer cardio workout. There’s even a class called Hip Hop Heels pioneered by the amazing and beautiful Geena Driven that I’ve been wanting to try. And yes, I’d have to wear heels, just like Fergie.

I Wanna Be a Concert Pianist

Again, if you’ve read LITTLE 15, you will also notice an emphasis on piano. That’s not by accident. I played for years growing up, participating in several guild competitions, performances, etc. Unfortunately, once I discovered boys and all the other perils of high school, I didn’t have time for it any more. And oh how I yearn to play again. A few years ago I ordered Clair de Lune by Debussy (you’ll find that in LITTLE 15, too), which is one of my favorite classical pieces. I started teaching myself how to play it, but then I got pregnant (do you see a trend here?) and 24-hour morning sickness took over.

I told myself that when I get published, I would splurge and get myself a piano teacher. LITTLE 15 released Jan. 3 and still, I have no teacher and no piano lessons. How easily we let promises to ourselves slip through the cracks …

I Wanna Be a Actor

In eighth grade, I tried out for the lead in the school musical and got the part. I was shocked, yet completely invigorated. I remember going in there and giving it my best shot, not thinking for a moment that I would actually land the role. Like basketball, it turned out to be a nice ego boost for me (believe me, I needed it). In fact, I remember getting my braces off only a few days before opening night, just in time for my big debut.

But just like basketball and the piano, I really didn’t take acting beyond my school auditorium. And I can’t even begin to explain why. Regardless, it still hangs out there as a far off dream or missed opportunity. (Who really can recognize an golden opportunity at 13 anyway?)  But believe it or not, it’s actually a lot closer than it used to be.

You see, my fascination with acting inspired me to write a screenplay based on LITTLE 15. And yes, I wrote in a small part just for me. Crossing my fingers big time on this one. And once again … I. Am. Not. Kidding.

I Wanna Be a Motivational Speaker

There’s something about encouraging people that really gets me going. Whether it be about jump starting creativity, pursuing a life-long dream or letting go of always trying to please others, we all go through similar ordeals in life. The details might differ, but the emotions and fears oftentimes are the same. I have overcome a great deal in my life and more times than not, I see myself in other people’s struggles. We all have insecurities – I’ve got ’em and constantly work on them – but we don’t have to let them rule our life.

Couple that with an odd liking for speaking in front of groups (the more people, the better) and you’ve got the recipe for something really exciting. And windows are already starting to open for me in this area, particularly with book clubs. I love mingling with readers and discussing LITTLE 15. And lately, the conversation has turned to writing, creativity and making a go of what seems like a far-off dream. In some way, shape or form, we all have them, buried dreams that we have pushed aside because we are “adults” now and feel ridiculous for even thinking about them. But the thing is, we don’t have to go giving up our day jobs or neglecting our families to make a dream reality. We can start slowly – piece by piece, step by step, word by word – t0 make it happen. While it might not look exactly how we’ve dreamed it up in our heads, making room for even a tiny slice of it in our lives can open doors that we didn’t even know existed – and bring more satisfaction to our lives.

Take it from me. Ten years ago I sat down to write what I thought was a short story. And then it turned into a novel. Two novels, an agent and a screenplay later, I’m living the dream that I once saw as completely and utterly  impossible.

And so can you.

Your turn

What are your buried dreams?