The nerves first start when you get on the bus to head to the arena. You have prepared all week, watched film, learned personnel and have gone over all the plays, but, you still get that excitable yet uneasy feeling in your stomach.
Everyone on the bus is listening to music and no one is speaking. You get off the bus in a single file fashion as you head into the arena, headphones still in and a swagger when you walk through the doors to the locker room.
Music still playing, the team gets ready in the locker room and heads out to the court. We warm up for what seems like an eternity because we just want to start the game. The clock finally hits zero and both teams hustle to their benches.
The national anthem is played, the starting lineups are announced and then the ball is tossed.
Game day is much more than just getting off of a bus and playing a game. There is so much more that goes into it that no one sees besides your team. All the hard work and sweat you put in all week, the early morning preseason practices, lifting and conditioning everyday of the week, attempting to get eight hours of sleep each night, fueling your body with the right food and meeting with the trainer to do rehab for sore joints and countless other injuries.
All of this while still being a student and trying to succeed in the classroom the best you can.
Being a part of a Division I college basketball team is a job. A job that can be very rewarding, and sometimes disappointing, but it’s always stressful.