Back when Trevor Ruffin was growing up in Buffalo, no one had to knock on his door and ask him to go play basketball. No one had to call to remind him that they were playing hoops at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. It was a story he related to a collection of young basketball players from his hometown last week as part of a 411 basketball academy. He offered it almost as a plea — hey kids, don’t you love the game? If you love the game, why aren’t you out filling up the courts at the parks and recreation centers? Why aren’t you spending every available moment doing what you love?
It was a message meant for the younger generation, and yet as the reporter of record in the room, the sentiment struck a chord with me. If you don’t wake up every morning and can’t wait to get to the basketball court, you either need to find another passion or do something to change your attitude. One can substitute anything for “basketball.” The point is not about hoops, it’s about passion. It’s about loving what you do and who you are. It got me to thinking about summer vacation when I was kid. I don’t remember waking up bored. I loved being outside. I loved reading. I loved getting to go new places. I loved having dinner in our back porch and eating ice cream and popsicles. I let my imagination run wild. I had the chance to play with my daydreams and see where they might lead me. It’s an attitude I tried to cultivate again this summer as I jumped into new events and activities and attempted to enjoy each moment as it came instead of creating endless plans and sink into the culture of complaining.
Summer is nearly over, particularly for any of us who have a job tied to the rhythms of the school year (and a sports reporter on the college beat falls into that category). But still, there are a few weeks of summer left with chances to savor the simplicity of doing what we love. The story that Ruffin related was about simplicity and authenticity. Who you are, who you want to be, lends itself to what you do with your time. If you’re a basketball player, like Ruffin, being true to yourself and your passion means finding games (organized and otherwise) or going solo with a ball and a hoop and honing your skills. It’s pretty easy for me to find my own substitute. When I wake up in the morning, what excites me? What can I not wait to do? There are still a few weeks of summer left to daydream. And daydreams provide the opportunity to play with your own soul. That, my friends, is time that is never wasted.