Growing up, basketball was my life. We had two hoops at my house in Muskogee. The first one was in the backyard on the beaten down grass and I’d play there until my mom made me come inside. My fingers literally cracked and bled from overuse. It was an addiction and there are so many Indigenous ballers out there. Rezball is actually a thing. For a good read about Indian girl ballers check out Counting Coup.
Oklahoma girls basketball was a trip in the 1980s. We played 6-on-6 with a divided court. I think it was created for us more “delicate’ athletes because if we run up and down that big ol’ court, our uteruses might all out or something. My school switched to the full court game my sophomore year. There’s a bunch of cool older Mvskoke women that play a game each year and I hope they let me join them someday.
As good as basketball has been to me in opening up educational and life opportunities, it also gave me a rather unhealthy outlook on fitness as I aged. In my head, I’m 17 years old, totally invincible and should be able to just get at that and do it and if I don’t, I suck.
Negative self-talk is something I struggle with and I have never “worked out” just to work out. Basketball hardwired me to training for a season or an event. Maybe not having a heart attack or diabetes in my 50s and 60s ought to be my new “event.” My eating habits have put me in a really good place now but consistent and sustained exercise is my next uphill battle.
When I run and play, I can get in shape pretty fast, relatively speaking. I have never enjoyed running. Running is punishment for your team screwing up at practice or it’s a necessary evil in pre-season training. In my hot and cold quest for adult fitness, I have run many short races and a few half marathons, and two marathons. I’m starting my training for the 3rd one this year, but this time, I’m going to try to do it the right way and I look to Cherokee women like Lori Enlow and Marcella Morton for inspiration on what that might look like.
I’m starting with running on the treadmill and outside and riding my road bike and peloton to get a good base along with some strength training. I’ve been out of shape enough in the past where I can only run about a quart of mile without stopping so then I just run/walk and it’s amazing to see how fast you can increase distance.
It’s January 3rd and I’m at 2 miles without stopping again. 3-4 mile if I stop and walk a bit. One foot in front of another. Let’s get it.