After back-to-back 20-win seasons and WNIT appearances, there are expectations around the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team.
A program which few outside of friends and family members of the players cared about turned itself into an entity which casual basketball fans in the area ask about. That is no small feat in the crowded sports landscape of Western New York where the top media priorities are the NFL and NHL.
But what makes the Bonnies so successful isn’t just their skill level. It’s their approach to the game. Head coach Jim Crowley espouses the philosophy of knowing who you are, both individually and as a team. Embrace who you are and work hard and the results will take care of themselves.
Sometimes the key, tough, is in knowing exactly who you are and what you’re capable of. It’s easy to see the players who have an inflated opinion of themselves, who think they’re better than perhaps they really are.
But it doesn’t take much to also see players who undersell their own abilities.
It’s evident in Bona junior forward Megan VanTatenhove. A talented and athletic forward, she has the ability to score on pretty much every play. She has all the tools — a good touch, good footwork and strength. Watch long enough, though, and you wonder if VanTatenhove has an inkling of how strong she really is.
Crowley even said that she doesn’t quite understand just how good a player she is.
There’s a line between humility and hubris and some of us see it as a fine point. Only, maybe it really isn’t. Maybe there is a wide gulf between humility and hubris, an area in which we can be proud of who we are, show our strength, challenge ourselves and improve without putting others down. We’re taught, especially as girls, to be mindful of boasting, of tooting our own horn.
But what if we believed we were really that good without judgement, either of ourselves or of others? Perhaps we are uncomfortable with our own power and potential because we are concerned with how it relates to others.
I can see the growth in Megan because it’s something that’s been part of my own journey — understanding just how good I am, not just as an athlete but in all other areas of my life.
My favorite saying used to be, “Maybe I don’t suck as much as I think I do.”
Truth is, I only suck if I think I do.
There’s nothing wrong with being confident in my abilities, being confident in who I am. In knowing that if I challenge myself all will be right in my world, that the result (whatever it may be) will take care of itself. It’s something I’m growing into, something I’m trying to not shy away from.
Embrace who you are and where you are. And from that base, possibility opens up.