Dear 13 year old Kail,
Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?
There's a saying that goes, "when one door closes, another one opens." But I know you, K, you're a perfectionist. Everything has to go a certain way or you get flustered. So flustered that you might not see which doors are open for you. Yes, yes, at 13 years old you have already perfected your nonchalant, super quiet personality, but on the inside I know you're freaking out when the littlest thing changes.
I'll let you in on a little secret. In the next few years, your whole life will turn upside down and continue to change. You are definitely not going to like it, but I will tell you this, it will make you grow up a lot faster than most people your age. It will make you stronger. Think of your life as a roller coaster in disguise, but you will learn how to improvise.
My advice for you is to breathe. Use this breath to slow down your thoughts and collect yourself. Take a breath to focus on you and not what other people think or want from you. You've heard this a thousand times from your uncle and you will hear it a million more, but "control the controllable."
Can you control when someone throws you a bad pass? No.
How about your effort in when you run up and down the court? Yes.
Take a breath.
What about the way a professor grades your essay? Probably not.
Breathe in, now out.
Can you control the fact that by the time you graduate high school you will have torn your ACL/meniscus twice, then had a horrible grade 3 ankle sprain? No.
Can you control the fact that in those last two years of high school you will lose your grandma and your aunt? No.
What about Dad?
Deep breath. Take more than one.
I'm not here to scare you, Kail. I'm here to let you know that you get through it. You mature and you learn. At 16 years old, you will experience things that most of your teachers haven't yet. You are much stronger than you would imagine.
Eighth grade is a big year for you. It's the year where basketball starts to take on a major role in your life. So major that you drive two and half hours to Orange County during the week for practices. Of course, you hate it. You are surrounded by bigger, faster, physically stronger and older girls. They challenge you. They think differently than you. They play much different than you have ever played. You feel out of place, but you're not. You learn to outsmart them and outwork them. That’s what gets you places, K. Injuries? Do those tedious exercises daily. Long car rides? Time to read. A weekend off? You’re in the gym.
I want you to breathe.
Enjoy the time on the court with your teammates who will be playing at top DI schools. Enjoy the time in the car with Dad. Little did you know those will be some of the best memories you have with him. Take a breath and don't get so upset at yourself if you miss one shot. Trust me, there will be plenty more to come.
Sure, in high school, you will have two knee surgeries and only play one complete basketball season. But think positive. Look at all the time you will have to focus on your mechanics, your work ethic, body and nutrition. It’s a time for you to rekindle your love for the sport. You will meet some amazing and supportive people throughout this time too. People that you still talk to seven years later.
Things may not have gone according to your plan a, or b or c, but I want you to know everything will fall into place.
I won't tell you much, but you do end up playing collegiate basketball all four years without any serious injuries. You will graduate from one of the top colleges in the country. Oh, and did I mention you also get into pharmacy school? You nerd.
Now, let me ask you again. Do you believe everything happens for a reason?
21 year old Kailee
Kailee Severt | Women's Basketball
Claremont McKenna - 2018