During my time in sports I can honestly say that there were only three girls I ever truly hated. And boy, did I hate them at the time. We were the very definition of the phrase 'oil and water'. The thing is, on the court, we had a goal bigger than ourselves, bigger than our dislike of one another and together we accomplished a lot.
The first girl was just mean. She wasn't happy with herself and took it out on everyone around her. This girl regularly cost us games because she couldn't keep it together. In fact, we almost lost a regional game because she chunked a ball at a distracted ref, intentionally, because she got called for a foul. Fortunately she missed by a small margin and only got a stern talking to. She also had the ugliest shot I have ever seen, somehow getting launched from her upper torso and her hands flying out as if to cheer, but somehow it was fairly accurate. She was a pretty girl, with naturally platinum blonde hair, but she was meaner than a snake.
The second girl was jealous. She wasn't as tall as me or as athletically gifted and it irked her. She was a year older than me and started over me, but she rolled her eyes every time I'd get subbed in, even if it wasn't for her. Once she jokingly blamed a hickey on my elbow, saying I'd given it to her during practice. She literally looked like Barbie, but that wasn't enough.
The third girl was spiteful. She was friends with the other two and two years ahead of me. She was a scrappy little point guard, the kind you want on your team, but because the other two didn't like me, she didn't either. In the summers this girl would get a tan almost as dark as her brown hair, but she rarely smiled.
I didn't associate with them off the court and they ostracized me. It made for a semi-lonely high school experience, because they were the popular girls, but I made some friends that I still value to this day.
All that hate and distain for each other permeated parties and banquets, but the one place we all let it go was on the court. There, it didn't matter who you were, all that mattered is that you helped the team win. It was the thing we all had in common, the desire to win.
Out there you had better fight for the team and get the ball to whomever had the shot, to whomever was open to whomever was hot.
A common enemy was what united us.
I don't really know how we put it all aside to play. It wasn't asked of us, although it would have been if not for some wordless agreement that the team was more important than petty girl fights. It was more important to utilize what each of us brought to the game than it was to hate each other.
I wasn't sad when they graduated and I didn't have to play with them anymore. There will always be people that we don't get along with, that irritate us beyond belief and that we wish would just disappear. It won't be easy, but find your common enemy and your common goal, then put aside your differences and you will have a chance to win the game!
Chloe Goff is a former college basketball player and a former Branson performer who enjoys a plethora of activities, most of which make her sound like a walking oxymoron.