Programmer Edgar: How did I become a professional basketball player?


Hello to you who is reading this text. Daniel suggested to take an interview from me, I agreed. Why did I agree? First of all, because he asked nicely, secondly, because I always wanted someone to take an interview from me and not distort it, not try to turn me into a clown if I don't do it myself.

This interview will be about challenges and maybe the answers will be helpful. Either way, they are of some use. Maybe you will learn from my answers and these will be other people's mistakes, which you can avoid repeating, or maybe my experience will be of some use and inspire you.

So, let's see what Daniel is asking here:

Hi Edgar. First, introduce yourself. In five sentences or less - who are you?

Too bad it's only five sentences, so I'll have to add a lot of commas to write more. I am 25 years old, but I try to think not only as an adult, I often put myself in the position of a fool, because it is more comfortable for me - a fool can make mistakes.

I eat my bread from my work as a programmer.

I am serious at work, I give myself so that the employer does not regret having such a person, whose personal life is somewhat unusual.

In my personal life, I have a lot of strange activities, which I won't list all of them, but I can mention a few: I write a blog, I read people's palm lines (divine from my hand), I am interested in basketball and after work I sit with a computer on my lap, I try to create "something of my own".

The main idea of my life is the fight against any restrictions, barriers, breaking stereotypes, the desire to inspire people that they can be whatever they want. My biggest enemies are stereotypes, prejudices, people who don't have an opinion, and finally, excuses and apologies.

Tell us what challenge you took on and what were the rules?

This story will begin like a fairy tale, which does not necessarily have a happy ending. When I was little, I was taken to a basketball competition where the men's team from my city (Panevėžys) played against Kaunas "Žalgiris".

The hall was full of spectators, our team fought from the last, the spectators did not spare their emotions, shouted, supported as much as they could.

I was possessed that day basketball.

I forced my parents to take me to every match, then I went to watch the matches alone. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, I'm from Panevėžys, so I can't say which club's matches I used to attend, because the names of the teams in our city changed about every year.

At that time there were no fan clubs, all the support was drunken men gathered after work, holding beer mugs and fried garlic bread, knowing a few chants:

  • Go, go!
  • The judge is a rooster!
  • We won!

…Unfortunately, the last chant was tricky because the team rarely won.

So, I was a bit of a different fan. I watched the players during the one-minute breaks, I listened to what the coach told them, I knew how to whistle the loudest and longest, I survived defeats the most, I invested the money I got for lunch in basketball magazines.

To put it simply, I knew everything about Lithuanian basketball for about 5 years. Right up until the day I started going to training on my own.

It didn't go well. I was tall but lazy. There was little motivation. Maybe my teammates who beat me, who didn't let up until I got physically stronger and beat everyone personally, contributed a little to that.

There was everything, broken noses, arms and stuff. I went to training sessions with fear, during competitions I also went to the pitch "tight" because I was looking for excuses like "I'm afraid of the coach", "starting excitement" and so on.

I started thinking in the eleventh grade. I realized that running after a bubble, especially when you are middle-aged, will not guarantee the future, I need to drop everything and start studying in order to finish school and disappear from here as far as possible, to create some kind of safe corner where I can be myself.

The rules of the challenge were very simple - I could have said no and there would have been no challenge. It was a comfortable challenge for me when I had nothing to lose.

I had decided that this was my last week of training, I would bring my outfit on Friday, say everything "on my mind" and leave for good.

…But on Thursday, the coach of the professional team came to the children's practice. Yes, the same team I grew up with, the same one that changed names, rosters and coaches, whatever it was, it was my dream team.

The coach came with the purpose of calling some young players to help the men train, because at that time there was a flu epidemic, most of the players were sick and a few "stands" were needed.

While talking to the kids' coach, he would point his finger at one of us and the kids' coach would call him over. At that time we were shooting three-pointers. I threw as if it was the last time in my life, one fell after another, it seems that I would not have missed even if I wanted to.

They invited me too.

At first, the kids' coach even seemed embarrassed for me and rushed to tell the coach not to take him, he's a mushroom, slow like slow motion and anyway, he's not at that level.

But the coach took me. But at that moment, I stopped being afraid, I stopped experiencing that I was inferior to others, I knew that this could be just one training session where I would be laughed at and never be invited again.

I didn't even have anything to lose - I was invited to my dream team, which dream team is only for me. For others, it might be just an underdog team, but not for me. I grew up as her biggest fan, and now I have the opportunity to be a part of it, to serve the ball to the players.

My personal challenge was - so that every training session is not the last.

As the flu took many men with it, it did not spare the youth either. The other young men taken along with me soon fell away. I got the flu too. The coach gave us the biggest tests, knowing that we have to sit in classes from 8 in the morning, he himself got up early in the morning to do our morning training at around 6 in the morning.

So I went and did the best I could. I haven't missed a single workout. I felt like I was turning from an average loser into something.

After training, I would go to the "barbell" and then to classes. I often fell asleep in lessons, the teacher patted my head and said that the future construction worker will not finish his studies or "strike", and I was angry.

The season ended in April. I still have a good two months of eleventh grade left. I only thought about science. I had fulfilled my challenge to the maximum, I had not been kicked out of training, I had regained my confidence.

Once the coach called me and said that he was going back to America for the summer, to his family.

In that moment, I wanted to thank him for letting me feel like I was a part of SOMETHING, not just a pushover, over the last year. I felt great respect and gratitude towards him for all this. Unfortunately, I didn't dare to say thank you. The coach just asked:

- Will you be able to get a visa in a month?

I was lost, I didn't understand what was being said:

- I have no money, the twelfth grade is waiting for me, the eleventh is still a month away.

And the coach answered:

- I arranged everything with your stepfather. They will give you money for the trip, they will pay for housing, later you will find a job, you will support yourself, and yes, I exercise all the time, prepare my sports form.

So what's left for me? To say: Oh, no, I don't want to?

What would I have done? I'm not saying that it was an easy year, two trainings every day, both at six, first in the morning, second in the evening. I'm really tired. I had no pana, there were maybe only two friends. I decided that this would be an extension of the challenge for me.

And I went to America (USA) to play basketball. You can read about my journey and life in America in detail in my first blog. Sometimes it brings tears to my eyes as I read how honest and ignorant the "village" was, but I was real.

Wow! So how did you go about achieving your goal?

When he arrived in America, the coach gave him a choice: he could find a job, take a car, call a chebra and drive to the lake, amusement parks or travel, or he could choose only sports and work. I knew what I came for. I chose sports.

Then every day was a challenge.

After two weeks I broke my back, I couldn't get out of bed. They gave me the medicine, I got back on my feet and trained again.

I would get up at five, write a blog, take me to work at six, bring me back around lunch, then run or train individually, and in the evening we would go to training with the men. After training, I stayed to throw or improve other skills, e.g. Dribbling, pitch visibility.

Then after a few months I returned to Lithuania. And it all ended so that the coach invited me to the dream team, I got the shirt number 17 and I warmed the bench for the whole season.

From time to time, I ran out in matches, the outcome of which was already clear, for example, against Lithuania Ryta or Kaunas Žalgiris. Even though they let us play when our team was crushed by about 40 points and most of the players were thinking about a trip home and a warm meal, I would get up from the bench, even though I was cold.

I was fearless, I used to forget that Lithuanian stars were there, I went to fight like in the fields of Donetsk or Luhansk and during those few minutes of mocking myself, I still managed to score some point.

My entire career has been full of absurdity. For example, when I was released in Panevėžys to play against Žalgiris, I walked in a few minutes before the end of the game wearing yellow NIKE sneakers two sizes too big. I ran as if I had taken water. When I got the ball, I thought I wouldn't be able to jump, or I would jump out of my shoes. I hit that trajak.

I pretended not to be happy and remained calm, but the trumpets were sounding in my heart and head.

Every step on the court was an added challenge, especially in the home arena. The hall is full of acquaintances who looked at me like a clown, waiting for me to make a mistake so that they could laugh, point fingers, and gossip.

Many people said that I got into the team with my parents' money, that my place was bought. It was a lie. They didn't even come to my matches, and I had few opportunities to prove it, because they rarely let me play, but I waited patiently for those moments.

How is my challenge different from others? I could have left at any time, everyone would have understood me.

But I didn't quit because I pursued my dream - to play in my dream team. I achieved my dream as I faced my challenges. These were the first challenges in my life, and later there were more of them. But maybe about that next time or over a beer?

And what did you learn during the challenge and what did you do when it was difficult?

This challenge helped me grow up. Those people who criticized me and told me the truth to my face, it seemed to me that they wished me harm, that they were harmful, that they were enemies, but now I realized that they were telling the truth. I am very grateful to the coach for not holding me to silk conditions and for coming up with all kinds of tests to improve.

When I wanted to throw away the challenge, I was always saved by the absurd. Absurd nonsense, imagining yourself from the outside. I imagined myself as a character in a book, in the wrong time and place. Sometimes I wondered how everything would end, that's why I "drove" to the end.

Do you have any advice for people who want to repeat or surpass your adventure?

I have If you have a goal, don't think of it as something impossible. But anyone who has achieved something, it doesn't matter if it is an athlete, an artist, an astronaut, he is also a human being. Often doing his work not with pleasure, but knowing what he has to do.

You've probably heard the story that if a job doesn't make you smile, it's not for you. Believe me, no.

… There are frowned faces and clenched teeth everywhere, everything comes through work.

The most elementary example: when I was good at basketball and there were boys a few years younger, I looked like a fry then, but they trained and worked and today they would slap me dry. Of course, those comparisons from sports can be transferred to any other field 😀

Soooooo… What challenge will you take on now? Already have ideas or secret desires?

I'm currently creating an online game, my challenge is to sit down every night and work for at least an hour, at least create something, because I'm tired after work and have little motivation.

And the challenge of the future, which is completely paradoxical to the challenge of my past - I want to start playing sports, get back a good figure, good health, good well-being. I'm not ready to start yet

Thank you very much for the honest story, Edgar!

Opapa! And this is the story of an apparently ordinary Panevezys resident who had the opportunity to become a professional basketball player... And he became one. Because he had a chance and took advantage of it.

Having a chance is one thing. But taking advantage of the opportunity… That's where it's most important to pay attention!

Well, and of course, as Edgar mentioned, if you started to pursue something, it is important to pursue it with all your heart. Because a half-hearted effort probably wouldn't have helped Edgar on his long, long journey. A lot of them were needed.

I'm sure I'll come back to read Edgar's words again at some point, but it's already inspired me today!

I hope this helps.

Pig Antanas

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