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Senior Varsity player, Jonah Grant, takes a 3pt. shot
Senior Varsity player, Jonah Grant (’14), hits a three-point shot during the Red Sarachek tournament at Yeshiva University in NY.

Although the ultimate goal of a basketball team is to win games, through my experiences as a member of the Varsity Aces basketball team, I have grown to appreciate that being a part of a basketball team is about much more than winning games.

The lessons I have learned through being on the team are profound and will remain relevant throughout my life. Among many other valuable lessons, I have learned about working well with other people, placing my own interests in the background in order to achieve a greater, collective goal and persevering through difficult circumstances.

Furthermore, the hard work my coaches, teammates and I have put in throughout our years together has allowed me to recognize that hard work truly does pay off. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the team’s turnaround from last year to this year. After a sub-par season last year in which the team finished with a losing record, the returning players, along with the coaches, were determined to use those disappointments as motivation to improve. All of the players worked hard over the off-season, both individually and collectively, to improve their skills. It was due to this tireless and dedicated work that the team was able to find success this year.

The team’s Tier II championship this past weekend at YU demonstrates the invaluable lesson of perseverance and response to failure. Following a heart-breaking loss in the exciting opening game against MTA on Thursday, we were relegated to the second tier. The team could have easily sulked about the upsetting loss and given up on the rest of the tournament. Instead, we showed that we could bounce back from disappointment, beginning at the opening tip of the early game the following day.

As we won the ensuing three games en route to winning the Tier II championship, the team embodied some of the many lessons the Ida Crown basketball program teaches players. We were forward-looking, unified, and motivated by challenges. We were disappointed that we had lost the first game, but we recognized that through this loss we were given an opportunity to learn a lesson that applies beyond basketball. Disappointment in life is inevitable. We showed that we understood that the real value in the experience was proving that we could embrace failure and use it as motivation to succeed in the future. This experience exemplifies the transformative benefits of being a member of a basketball team. Experiences like these throughout my time as an Ace have been a crucial part of my maturation, and the lessons I have learned through basketball have prepared me to thrive beyond the realm of athletics.

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