By Liz Roberts '16
After I hung up my Cavalier uniform, I thought that it was the last of my basketball career. I decided to attend UNC-Chapel Hill, and had to come to terms with finding new interests away from competitive sports. During the first month of school, I joined Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and was planning on focusing on starting my path toward a degree in sports administration.
In October, I was offered a tryout for the UNC women’s basketball team. At first, I had doubts about taking the position as a walk-on, strangely similar to the doubts I had when Krista [Gingrich-White] and Robert [White] offered me a spot on the DA varsity basketball team in eighth grade. Five years later, I found myself on the phone with Krista getting advice about this opportunity of a lifetime.
I was intimidated by the outstanding reputation of UNC basketball, and questioned my abilities as a player at the Division I level. But my mind was quickly changed after talking to my coach and long-term mentor. I realized that despite all of the amazing opportunities I had been presented with at UNC until that point, I still felt that something was missing. In high school, I would go to class and focus on my academics, but was always thinking about an upcoming practice or game. When I got to college, I realized that kind of passion was missing from my life. Moving from close-knit Durham Academy to a university with over 20,000 students, I wanted to find my niche, and my niche has always been on a basketball team.
I’m a walk-on, and I wouldn’t trade my experience on this team for anything. It’s hard to describe the feeling you get in the heat of the battle, in the locker room during a close game, and even the satisfaction you feel after completing a tough conditioning workout. It’s what every athlete lives for.
As a Durham Academy lifer, DA helped instill my values from a young age, both on and off the court. Along the way, I had many teachers, coaches and friends who helped instill a work ethic that got me to this point. In particular, Coach B [Jordan Babwah], the Upper School trainer, believed in me freshman year and worked with me up until senior year to get stronger off the court. Through the experiences I had and the people I met at DA, I found myself growing as a basketball player, but was also shaped into the person I am today.
Most importantly, the support of my two basketball coaches and athletic director Steve Engebretsen gave me an everyday confidence that fueled my passion and success with basketball. I’m honestly not sure where I’ll be next, but I do want to embrace these incredible opportunities while I can.