OUTLIVE; Bend Don’t Break

Living in the sport’s world, we are trained to be mentally tough and to battle through adversity. Sometimes we are pushed so far passed our comfort zone by coaches and trainers that we feel like we personally hit the end and need to quit. But yet, there is always something inside us that continues to keep pushing, even though we have no clue where or what that energy is coming from. We are bending ourselves so much that we feel like our bodies are going to break in half. But it’s the bending that ultimately builds the strength and bond of perseverance and never giving up no matter the circumstance.

One thing I am absolutely battling right now is the fact of how to deal with life as a human without doing something that I love and has gotten me through so much. Basketball has helped me deal with a lot of personal problems in life but since I don’t have it, how do I deal with my everyday problems?

I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by. We are already in the year 2018! The other day I was thinking back to when I was a little kid. I would always talk with my best friend and tell him how, “I can’t wait to be home from the mission” or, “I can’t wait to play basketball for Lone Peak”. But now sitting here and wondering where I am at in life and contemplating all the things that have happened, I wish I could go back and actually relive those moments over and over again instead of wishing for the “next” thing in life to happen.

Life is a funny thing, we always look forward to the future and say “I can’t wait for …”. Isn’t it interesting how we always look forward to the future saying, “When I graduate high school, my life will be so much easier living away from my parents” or even saying, “Oh, when I play for BYU my life will be so much more fun and enjoyable”? I am guilty of this and to some extent, I still am.

It has been absolutely incredible since I have withdrawn from school and basketball because I am finding out who I truly am as a person. I really believe we as humans do things to keep us busy to get away from our problems we have in our everyday lives. For example, basketball has been my outlet for the past 20 years. I would use basketball as a therapy to get away from my problems and just use my competitiveness to push forward and almost forget what was actually happening in my personal life. In basketball, for instance, on the court it is very obvious how competitive I can get and sometimes I have lashed out (technical fouls, getting thrown out of games, etc.). You know what’s funny though? Everyone just assumes the way I play is the type of person I am off the court. They think I am this awful, hateful guy who has “anger” problems. Don’t get me wrong: I am a feisty competitor and I hate losing. When I lash out though, it’s never about hating the opposing player or team. It’s the fire burning inside me just to win and my emotion comes out in playing sports but never do I lash out in my daily life.

Do I regret ever doing these things? Well, of course, yes! But what I don’t regret are the things I have learned and understanding the deeper meaning of why I lash out during sports and when I play the game of basketball.

You see, many people would never guess this from me and I think it is very important as humans that we need to share these things because we are all dealing with something in one way or another. The past couple of years I have suffered from deep depression and anxiety. It even got so bad that I was suicidal and wanted to give up on life. I am not saying this to make others feel bad, but I want to share this with people so that they can understand that I am human, fighting my own battles just like someone you know might be fighting their own.

Depression and anxiety are a scary subject, yet it is such a real thing a lot of people deal with. I always thought being depressed and having anxiety had a really bad connotation and that people would look down upon me if I admitted I had it. Honestly, I truly believe hiding these feelings from others only put me into a deeper and more depressive state. You try and hide these things but feel so lonely inside because you are hurting about someone or something. In my case, my anxiety would come out in sports. I would be so wound up that I would unleash during a game or practice because life was too hard to handle at that time. It would make me look even more embarrassed but I never wanted to admit the truth behind why I lashed out.

My anxiety and depression came from myself and the battles I was facing with my own life. There are certain incidents where these things sparked and I want to share with you each experience and how I got through it, because we all face experiences like this in some way or another. If anyone has questions or an experience they want to share with me, please ask and share! I would be more than happy to help however I can.

1. Coming home early from my LDS Church mission and the feelings I had there.

2. Falling off a tree and shattering my foot just a couple of months before my freshman basketball season

3. The newcomer freshman and the Utah game

4. Getting married and divorced

5. Forgetting my roots and God

I will share each of these experiences in a blog post. Please feel free and open to comment or share your experience. I know of so many people out there who are struggling with these same feelings. I really believe mine came from certain people I had in my life but it can start in whatever way possible only you can understand.

I have suffered from these things, yes! One thing that has been the biggest blessing for me during times like this are the people around me such as friends and family. Ultimately and most importantly, I need to give credit to God for allowing me to learn these lessons and giving me hope for a better future and for a second chance.

God is good, we will go through things that really test us physically, mentally and spiritually. One thing I love about this life is we are ALL facing challenges no matter who we are. I once said to my grandpa, “I hate taking tests at school, I am so bad at it.” All he said back to me was, “Nick, your whole life is a test, you gotta find happiness somewhere or else you are going to be miserable”.

Instead of dreading life’s challenges, create your life to enjoy the hard times. We cause so many problems for ourselves by gossiping, and talking about other peoples’ problems. We as people continuously try taking someone else’s tests in life instead of trying to figure out the questions to our own tests. Why do you care so much about someone struggling or doing something they probably regret doing themselves? I have seen this far too many times and it is straight up bullying and comparing.

Live your own life. There are going to be times when life is going to bend you so much where you feel like you need to give up and break. God made you strong and gave you these experiences for a reason. Find out what those reasons are because I really believe ultimately we go through certain experiences for ourselves, but ultimately go through them to give others hope for a better future. Find out the reason you are going through a specific challenge and reach out to someone you can help. I promise you it will take you a long way. And always remember, always OUTLIVE the “what” culture and society tells you to be. Be yourself and find happiness in what you enjoy personally. You will find a lot more joy in life.