by Sureya Alex, Class of 2021
“Number 21! She is a sophomore — Sureya Alex!” I looked straight ahead at the crowd, I could see the glow sticks and white shirts covering the bleachers. My teammates were standing at half court, creating a tunnel for me to run through. As the crowd roared and screamed, I jogged towards the tunnel and took in shaky breaths. It was finally time to play.
My name is Sureya Alex. I am a sophomore at Timothy Christian High School. I am currently playing in my second season as the starting point guard on the girls varsity basketball team, and this is My Timothy Story.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13.
This is a simple, common verse. However, it never hit me until my freshman year. Steph Curry — a professional basketball player and one of my basketball inspirations — uses this verse every game and writes it on his gameday shoes. After feeling down and discouraged after a bad game or practice, I would see a sticky note with this verse on it in the back of my basketball locker. Those simple eleven words meant a lot to me. It relieved my stress and helped me relax through times of pressure and difficulty.
Basketball puts pressure on me. I had silly responsibilities as the youngest on the team, like carrying our candy bag to every single game and putting away the balls. However, there are much more serious expectations when you are a freshman on varsity. Everyone assumes that you will play like a senior with four years of high school experience.
I did have lots of experience though. I have been playing ball since I was just able to walk. I even played on multiple club teams and I still travel around the country to play. I was used to being presented with high intensity, pressuring situations. However, playing varsity felt different.
Excited. Nervous. Anxious. That’s all I felt.
The people in the stands would not be random parents. They would be the staff, close friends, and news reporters.
To earn my spot, I had to adjust from middle school basketball to varsity level competition. Practices went from two days a week to six, games went from every other weekend to three per week, and the players went from fifteen years old to eighteen.
On the inside of my shoes, I have two words written in bold: Never Settle. This saying motivated me to keep working and taught me to never be too content. I continued to use my strong work ethic and I kept those words with me for every event. I practiced hard in order to earn minutes. I did not take time off and did my best to step up. At the end of last year’s season, my team went 20-10 and won the Regional Championship. I had earned my spot as the starting point guard for the entire season. I also led with assists and three pointers for my team.
Being involved with Timothy’s athletic department helped me meet new people.
Some of those people are my teammates. They are a huge part of why I love high school basketball season so much. This year especially, I feel close to every one of them — from my usual sophomore friends to the soon-to-be-graduating seniors. If you walked into the locker room or even down the hallway, you’d see and hear teammates that truly love and laugh with each other. I forget that I am younger all the time because of how close I am with them.
Repeatedly, I have received hugs and texts from them after a game to cheer me up.
“Do not beat yourself up for tonight! You did amazing in every aspect, even if you didn’t score much. It’ll come, you did amazing girl!” — Jordyn Strube, one of my senior teammates and now one of my closest friends.
“Sureya, DO NOT doubt yourself about who you are and what you are becoming,” — My junior teammate and one of my best friends, Bethany Griffin.
After completing two years of varsity basketball, I have learned to trust God, my teammates, and the coaching staff. I can’t wait to see what my future high school years bring. I hope to grow on and off of the court — with my basketball skills, relationships, and my faith.
I am Sureya Alex. I am currently a sophomore and the starting point guard on the girls varsity basketball team. And this is My Timothy Story.