Dreams Do Come True
In sixth grade I remember when Mrs. Applewood made us write down one goal that we wanted to achieve. I quickly placed my freshly sharpened number 2 pencil on the blank, white sheet of paper and wrote down five, simple words- to be a state champion. As a little girl I had a lot of wants and dreams. I wanted my daddy to coach my sixth grade team, I wanted to win a state championship, and I dreamed of playing college basketball somewhere.
I was 12 years old when my daddy, Sean, coached myself and six other determined, dedicated girls to a Little League National Championship. I was 17 when I played for my first state championship in Wells Fargo Arena. We lost, but here I am one year later playing in another Iowa 4A championship. Everything from the hotdogs drowned in ketchup to the aroma of freshly blended strawberry smoothies smelt familiar. The sounds of my shoes squeaking on the freshly waxed floor also felt all too familiar. Unfortunately, I also felt the familiarity of us losing once again in the championship game. We were down two points with fifteen seconds left in the fourth quarter when Coach Carley called a time-out. He drew up a play on his white clipboard. To most people the minuscule x’s that represented my coach’s players wouldn’t have made any sense, but to me, Danielle Johnston, I knew exactly what those x’s meant, and I knew exactly what I had to do. When I looked up at the red and yellow ticking time bomb, I saw five seconds and I knew I had to score. I took two dribbles to the left, did a head fake, and then took one final dribble past the fiery orange jersey of the Carroll defender. As I planted my charcoal black Jordans just in front of the three-point arc, I was determined to make the game winning shot. I felt my legs spring off the court and saw the ball release from the palm of my head, but what I didn’t see was the towering 6’3” center rushing towards me. Just as I released the ball, she blocked the orange oval right back at my face. The ball hit the bridge of my nose, and the boisterous buzzer preceded. Another state championship game ended, and I still couldn’t be called a state champion. I felt like I had failed my team, my father, and the whole community.
Two weeks had slowly passed after that tear-jerking game, but I still cringed at the thought of falling short of my sixth-grade goal. Although I had no championship trophy, I still had my third and final dream goal, and that goal depended on a letter that was in the little, white envelope that rested in my perspiring hand. I rubbed the cardinal red and gold of the bold USC emblem on the left side of the envelope thinking that maybe it would bring me good luck before I freed the letter from the envelope. Slowly I unfolded the letter and began reading. I could not believe my eyes when I saw “Danielle Johnston, I would like to take this opportunity to express my interest in you as a student-athlete here at USC.”
When my daddy walked in our double door...