For the Love of the Game

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Aseel's past columns:

  • LiVe ThE gAmE-LoVe ThE gAmE

  • What Dreams May Come

  • Life is a Basketball Game

  • Losing

  • Keep Your Eye on the Ball

  • Studying vs. Balling

  • Competitive Edge: The Good and the Bad

  • Golden Determination

  • Smells Like Team Spirit

  • Taking It to the Next Level

  • Dream-Stealing Green Man

  • Grand Finale

  • The Power of the Mind

  • Herd Mentality

  • Tryouts

  • Baller 2 Baller

  • Attitude Quiz

  • In the Land of Basketball

  • Passion, Revisited

  • Letting Go

  • Girls' Ball Becomes Women's Ball
    Finding an outlet in intramurals

    By Aseel Barghuthi

    I remember when I used to feel sloppy on the court. When I used to feel like I could be making better passes, taking better shots, and getting better rebounds.

    Today, a freshman at Duke University, yet not a player on the varsity team, I now take pride in my intramural team that, after a mere two games, I have grown to love. I no longer feel like a simple number on one of the many basketball courts at Duke, where much better, much faster, and much smarter players shoot hoops.

    Now, I walk to the gym with a brisker, more confident pace. Knowing in the back of my mind, that I'm going to be playing as part of a team is encouraging. It may not be the Amman Baccalaureate School varsity team, it may not be Al-Orthodoxi club team, and it may not be the Jordanian national team, but it is my team nevertheless.

    Getting dressed to go to the gym has never been more exhilarating since I've been here at Duke. I used to pull on my shorts and T-shirt grudgingly, knowing that I had nothing to look forward to except a ball in my hands, and a goal in my heart -- to play on the Duke varsity team. A goal that has yet to

    be fulfilled, and that may never be fulfilled. It is still a goal, nevertheless. Now, as I pack my Big Blue Duke duffel bag, I am smiling. As I trot out of my dorm, I listen to "he got game." A song I now use as a source of motivation.

    Watching the movie a couple weeks ago rekindled my flickering passion, and not long after, I received the request to join the intramural team. It was a sign. I needed to get back on the court. So I did.

    I walk towards the bus stop, meeting several confused glances. I must look really happy. I am. I say hello to those I know on the bus, but my mind remains focused on the song in my ears, and the game in my heart.

    Although it is cold outside, I don't feel a thing. Motivation and determination numb all sensation. It's like being engrossed in a movie, and spilling your drink, yet not realizing it until the movie is over, and your carpet has an orange sunkist stain.

    I used to do that all the time in high school. Forget where I was, and who I was, when I was on the court. It was where I warped myself into a realm of slam dunks, killer assists, and awesome three pointers.

    Wilson Gym. That's where I'm headed. I open the door, still smiling. The doorman knows me now, I have become a familiar face. The large metal door shuts behind me. I'm ready to dominate.

    I no longer feel sloppy or unworthy and insignificant on the Wilson gym court. Instead, I feel as though I have become a part of something; part of a team, a team that has also become a part of me. Just as the game is, and always will be.

    Until next time....

    #68, Aseel

    Aseel Barghuthi is a graduate of the Amman Baccalaureate School in Amman, Jordan, and a freshman at Duke University. She played high school ball in Amman and Athens, Ga. To contact Aseel with any comments or suggestions, e-mail her at

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