This summer on the R Blog we will be featuring several graduating seniors with reflections on their careers at Rice University, beginning first with Adaeze Obinnah of women's basketball.
By: Adaeze Obinnah
I felt on top of the world. I knew heading into my senior season that I had an internship set for the summer (Auditing at PwC) and that I would be back in the fall (studying Accounting at Jones School of Business). I had nothing holding me back and was ready to finish my career strong. But then I got injured. It felt like the world toppled down on me. I needed two surgeries and was told I could possibly play after the first. I had the first surgery on the day of our home opener. I rehabbed. I practiced. I trained. I traveled, but I was never cleared to play.
Before the season started our team did a grit test. Then during our first conditioning practice of preseason, the beep test was a follow-up test as evidence of where we fell on the grit scale. After dropping out early, I felt bad that I showed little grit. But in hindsight, I realize the test wasn't really an accurate assessment of grit. When I look back at this past season, I just didn't see an option to give in. God wanted me to be here. There was purpose in this unfortunate event.
I got to see a different part of the game and the team. What amazed me was how much love this team had to give. I felt like I lost a part of my identity and yet, they still valued and supported me. They were lifting me up even when I had nothing to give in return. It wasn't just my teammates, it was other student-athletes and other students at Rice. It confirmed the reason why I chose Rice in the first place - these are people with good heads on their shoulders. They're wise, caring, special people. When you think of a typical jock, we're not that. We're smart, deep, more than just school and sports. We're the highest of both levels you can get in those fields. I love that Rice truly appreciates the full person.
Twenty years from now, when I think back to my time at Rice, I will first think of women's basketball but not in terms of playing but of my teammates and coaches, the experiences we shared, our pregame dance sessions, our team bonfires, finally getting [sophomore Gabby] Ozoude to dunk, traveling on the road and finishing with a win WBI championship. The court wasn't where I got my fulfillment. I think God put me on the sidelines so I could fully appreciate that.
Maybe I couldn't finish the beep test but my support system - my friends, teammates, coaches and God - helped me get grit, joy, strength. It was a blessing in disguise. It was not how I planned it but looking back now, I would have it no other way.