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Leadership on the court

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Divine Cox
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
At the young age of 13, I was first chosen to be the team captain of my high school basketball team.

It was very nerve-wracking at the time because I was young and didn't have any friends.

While living in Queens, N.Y., with my dad, I never had an interest in playing basketball. I just went to school, did my work, and came back home. I always knew how to play basketball; my mom and I would play during the summer when I went to visit her in South Carolina.

On Christmas break in 2000, I decided that I was going to stay with my mom and go to school in South Carolina.

That is when my life changed drastically. My mom told me, "You are going to play basketball for the school."

As nervous as I was, I listened to her, and tried out for the basketball team. I made the team, but was put on the high school junior varsity team. At the time, I was only in middle school.

When I got to practice at the high school, the coach pulled me to the side and told me that he wanted me to be the captain of the team.

I thought he was crazy at the time. Me, the youngest player, team captain, which was unheard of to me.

As a team captain, you are looked at as the leader on the team. If there is a team issue on or off the court, the referees and coach look for you to help resolve the issue at hand.
Fast forward 14 years later, I am still being selected as the team captain for my basketball team.

Since I joined the military in 2010, I've played intramural basketball for Scott Air Force Base. Being team captain for a military team was a little scary because I was the lowest ranking, playing with officers and SNCOs.

But as a leader on the team, you have to focus on the big picture, and that is to keep your players under control, win games and hopefully get a chance to play in the championship game.

My first three seasons of intramural basketball, my team fell short of the goal, which was to win the championship. I took this very hard every year, because as a leader on the team, you feel like you have let the team down if the main objective isn't accomplished.

Each year, they had faith in me, and I was still named team captain. Each year we got closer and closer to winning that trophy.

My leadership and our hard work finally paid off this season. We finally made it to the championship game and won!

I felt that everyone on our team was a leader and had a role to play in order to win, and everyone played their role well. I can't take all the credit for the win because it takes a team to win.

We were successful this year, not only because of my leadership, but because of every player's leadership.

Being a leader is more than just being a good person.

Before you can become a leader, success is about growing yourself, but when you become a leader, success is about growing others.