How I Stay Teen
Who ever thought that turning a jump rope, spiking a volleyball, or dribbling a basketball would have such a big impact on a person’s quality of life? Being an active member in the community can have many positive effects on you, like learning how to resist peer pressure and make decisions on your own.
When I first started playing basketball, I had never watched it before or cared anything about it, really. Now it’s all I do. Playing basketball has taught me a great deal of fundamentals for life. My team and I are not only in the process of becoming better players, but also better women. While playing, I have taken on leadership roles that I can use in school, my profession, and just life in general.
During the basketball season, you have to become skilled at working with a team, asking for help when you need it, and being patient when things just aren’t going right. Being on a team can also help you build healthy relationships. These relationships have taught me the importance of encouragement, love, care, and communication.
In addition to helping my team and me in personal situations, basketball helped us academically too. To play a sport you must maintain a certain grade point average. When you see your peers doing well in school, it encourages you to do better and to go beyond what is required. This can launch a friendly competition that motivates everyone to hit the books. If you’re aiming for good grades, don’t let any bad decisions get in your way. According to The National Campaign, parenthood is a leading reason why teen girls drop out of school. So don’t let one stupid choice make all of your studying go to waste.
Plus, being a student athlete is hard work. At the end of the day, do you really have time for anything else? After all the homework, practices, and games to play, you will be exhausted. Would you have time for a baby? Being involved in activities will help you slow down and think about the consequences of your actions, especially when it comes to making decisions about sex.
When you’re playing basketball or participating in other extracurricular activities, you develop great decision making skills and leadership abilities. It can take a lot of leadership to resist pressure from others. Leadership begins with a belief in yourself—it’s about taking a stand on issues that are important to you. It’s difficult to resist pressure from peers, family, and friends to get you to do something they want you to do. But if you have your own values and goals, you won’t get caught up in other people’s desires. You draw your own line for certain behaviors and cross it only when you are ready.
Leadership is about listening, learning, and preparing yourself for different situations. Sometimes when you stand up you may be standing out and alone. It’s okay though—some of the things you say you believe in are the same things other people believe and want to say, but they are afraid to do so. You develop your own road to travel, and people can follow you if they want. Those with the positive mind-sets can go, others can go away.
With leadership you can make good decisions. Decision making starts at an early age and requires a safe and trustworthy environment. Working with younger teens has shown me what an important influence family, school, peers, media, spiritual communities, and even basketball teams have on the choices we make.
Being involved in extracurricular activities, resisting pressure, having leadership, and making good decisions are how I Stay Teen.
Shawnice is 17 years old and lives in Cincinnati, OH. She is a National Campaign Youth Leadership Team alum and was recently named YLT member “Most likely to become a professional basketball player.” Shawnice loves watching crime dramas and it really good at math. No, like really good at math.