Monday, April 16, 2012

The Love of the Game

Posted by Michelle Manfredi | Monday, April 16, 2012 | Category: , , , |

Looking back on my playing and coaching career so many great memories come to mind.  I think back at all the time, sweat, tears, blood, and work that I put into this game.  I think about how many times I have ran that 94’ length or 50’ width.  Some people may question why we do what we do.  We may even question ourselves.  I think about the conditioning that I had to do to reach the top level.  As I was standing on the baseline about to run my last 20 in 20 (20 suicides in 20 minutes), and every part of my body is screaming in pain, and I thought to myself, “why do I put myself through this pain?”   But then it comes from within; we do this because we love the game.  We want to be the best we can be, and to reach that level you have to work. 

Basketball has been one of the most influential things in my life.  I first started playing organized basketball in the 2nd grade.  However, basketball was a part of my life before that.  I would dribble whenever I saw a basketball.  Being from the north, we could not play outside usually after the month of October.  I used to ask my parents to move the kitchen table in the winter so I could dribble and work on my ball handling indoors.  I would also go down to the garage and turn off the lights so I could dribble in the dark.  I figured out at a young age that basketball was what I wanted in the future.  I spent a lot of time working on my game.  I missed a lot of dances and events with friends for practice and AAU tournaments.  People used to think I was crazy always going from one gym to the next.  But I had goals and dreams and had full intentions on reaching them; I knew at a young age, that I loved this game.

Basketball has taken me places that a lot of people never get to in a lifetime.  I am thankful every day for the opportunities basketball has given me.  Basketball is always what kept me going.  Basketball earned me a full scholarship for 4 years to Niagara University.  After playing college ball, I was able to play professionally overseas for a year in Germany.   Due to injury, I had to give up my playing career, however I could not see my life without basketball.  Since I could no longer play, I got into college coaching.  From there, basketball took me to New Mexico where I started my first year of collegiate coaching and worked on my Master’s Degree.  Because of basketball, I was able to get my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree fully paid for.  It is a blessing to be 26, and not have to pay back student loans. 

After 3 years of college coaching, I got this opportunity to work for Elite Hoops Basketball.  It was a tough decision to get out of the college coaching world, but I made the decision to try something new.  It has only been a week, but working for Elite has brought back a different love of the game for me.  It has brought back the fundamentals and all the things that have gotten me to the point where I am today.  I love having the opportunity to help the youth become better players.  I am extremely fulfilled after every workout. 

Basketball is not just a game to me; it’s a lifestyle.  Basketball has taken me all over the world.  It has helped to keep me through school and focus on my studies.  It has taught me the meaning of discipline, hard work, effort, loyalty, teamwork, and perseverance (and the list could go on).   I am fortunate enough to say that I love what I do and I enjoy going to work.  I have been able to discover myself through basketball.  It has helped shape me into the person I am today.  I have learned so much from the game, and now it’s my turn to give it back.  

Michelle Manfredi
Girls Director
Elite Hoops/Nike Basketball Camps

Currently have 1 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your new position. I can't think of a better role model than
    you to inspire any student or athlete to achieve their goals in life.