Saturday, April 9, 2016

HOW THE INTERNET TRANSFORMED MY LIFE|Lifestyle

This is the coach that gave me my first athletic scholarship right from Nigeria; Coach Rob. This picture was taken at the grocery store, a few hours after I my arrival to America!

A few years ago, in Nigeria I had a desire to study and play basketball in America on an athletic scholarship. At the time, having the idea alone was crazy and looking at my circumstance it was an impossible dream! My family couldn't afford to pay hundreds of thousands of Naira towards my BIG dreams and I knew that. I have so many siblings and even if there was any hope that my family would help me, that hope was gone because only the favorite kids had those privileges. This is the part where I tell you that I am NOT one of the favorite kids. I can't tell you but maybe this explanation will help. When I was growing up in my parent's house, I was one of the easiest children to please. I didn't hold grudges for a long time and I forgave easily. I didn't give my parent's a hard time and didn't run away from household chores and responsibilities like some of the "favorites." I used to wonder why some of my siblings had their way easily and did whatever they wanted and still were applauded for it. So, from my experience at that young age, I began to question my parents' definition of favoritism. I used to think that people should love you by your good works and actions. I did many things to please family members and did other good things because I wanted to be loved and appreciated BUT NONE OF THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE. I was still the first to blame and ridicule when the mood arose. It was easier for them to turn down my requests because I was going to get over it faster than other kids in my family. Anyways, I hope that this little explanation has given you a perspective of why they were not going to pay my way through University overseas even if they could. I strongly believe that many of my siblings would have been against it as well.
These pictures were taken two days before I flew to America for college.

So when I first started playing around with the dream of going to study and play basketball in America, at first I kept it to myself because it felt like a fantasy that was going to go away. I waited for months to see if it would go away but it didn't. I made the mistake one day of telling a family member about the dream and it came crashing down on me. She told others I didn't want to know about it and I was laughed at and ridiculed. I was told that it wasn't going to happen and I remember others saying that they had rich friends who could sponsor them abroad. I have siblings who would brag on their friends than on themselves. I remember those days like it was yesterday. There were days when my siblings would fight over who had richer friends and other ridiculous and dumb stuff. Sometimes I wonder why I didn't turn out that dumb because stupidity was kind of the order of my day. Anyways, I didn't dwell on the HATE and lack of support coming from some family members. I just stayed true to myself and dream of being discovered by some American college basketball scout and being offered a basketball scholarship to make my dreams come true.
An action picture from Lamar Community College

My family was not the only obstacle. The coach I played basketball for at the time also had an opportunity to give me a connection but told me to my face that he was going to ruin my chances. Although I don't want to go into details for why, I will leave you with this bit: There many coaches and sports officials back home who must have sex with a girl or take money from her before connecting her to coaches who can help make her dreams of going places come true. I didn't want a part of that. I was determined to succeed without sleeping with old men for it. I often reminded myself that many years from that time, I want to look back at my journey to success and be proud of how I got there.
My first day as a transfer to Georgia State University

I was very determined to succeed now that I had many oppositions. Many basketball camps were held in Nigeria and America that I knew of but I was not invited to any of them. I remember seeing my teammates getting connections to travel and make their dreams a reality and wishing I could be that lucky. Okay, I'm not going to forget to tell you that there were teammates who laughed at me and ridiculed my lack of invitation to these events. Although, it was painful sometimes, I kept a brave face forward. One fateful day, I received a call from my friends who were twins. They had been given full-ride scholarships to study and play basketball in America a few months prior. They told me how they did and encouraged me to do the same. Let me tell you a short story about them and how they got their BIG BREAK! These guys are brothers. They are an identical twins. I could tell them apart because I was around both of them for a few years. They had also been struggling to get a scholarship and invitations to basketball camps in Nigeria. They had a few invitations to some local camps with international connections but didn't get selected to travel to the United States to meet coaches at U.S camps. After many failed attempts to be selected, they finally made up their minds to reach out to coaches through their school's websites and emails. They researched different schools in America offering athletic scholarships to international students and the emailed these coached. To cut a long story short, they got offered scholarships from one of the coaches that they had contacted and that was how their dream finally came true. I know that you are curious to find out what I was advised to do and the outcome of it. Well, slow your roll *smile*. They asked me to do the same and I did! Mine worked out as well and I was offered a full-ride basketball scholarship to study and play basketball in college in America. All those haters in my family and team were astonished. Nobody EXPECTED MY DREAMS TO COME TRUE BUT THEY DID. Fast forward to the present, I have graduated from the university with honors and I am married to my handsome and very kind American/country hottie. I now enjoy writing blogs and sharing my life's lessons with people through my website and YouTube channels to inspire them not to give up on their dreams.
Shooting for the University Athletic Press release

Well guys, I hope you have enjoyed reading how the internet changed my life! The internet can and continues to be used by the right people for the right reasons and purposes. Although, shady people now also use it to troll and prey on others, if people are taught to use it to make their dreams a reality, their dreams will become a reality. I have attached a few pictures of my journey for your enjoyment. It doesn't matter where you are reading this. You can make your dreams come true. But you have to be ready to work for it and be determined to silence your haters with your success, like I did!
At my graduation with my husband