“Take into account that great love and great achievements involve even greater risks.” – Unknown.
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – Unknown.
These two quotes have very intriguing connections to the Royce White situation in Houston. For those of you unaware of the Royce White story, here it is:
Royce White is a very talented Point-Forward out of the University of Iowa State. He led Iowa State in all 5 major categories and was Top-5 in the Big 12 in Assists & Rebounds. He is in many eyes, a Top-10 talent in the 2012-2013 draft class. The only problem, he is diagnosed with a severe case of anxiety, something he was born with. His number 1 fear: airplanes. This obviously imposes a problem, considering the fast-travel lifestyle NBA players go through. When Houston drafted him #16, they knew about his disorder, but they had no clue how severe it was. So now, he has tried to find every way around flying to away games. He has told the Rockets he would be willing to drive, or ride the team bus cross-country to play. This is very inconvenient for the Rockets, and they told Royce White he has to get over his anxiety, and ride the airplane with the team, or he will not be on the 12-man roster.
The Rockets also told Royce he now has to visit the team doctors, instead of his own specialized doctor, whom he has said has documented his progression in overcoming his fear of flying for two years now. Royce White became offended by the Rockets organization, and felt as if the Rockets were not taking his disorder as seriously as they should. He refused to obey Houston Rockets managements’ orders, and is now unwilling to even practice with the team. The Rockets are fining Royce for every practice he misses, and now Royce White has stated he is willing to walk away from the NBA, and the game of basketball.
The NBA has never seen a situation as bad as this one; a first round draft pick unwilling to adjust to the NBA lifestyle in order to play the game he loves, at the highest level in the world. As an NBA fan who dreams of playing in the NBA, at first I was distraught by the situation. NBA fans would DIE to get a shot at playing in the league, and to be a first round pick, on a pretty solid Houston team, and not play, is baffling. Then, I became almost uncomfortable with the situation. Think about this, Royce White has spent countless hours in the gym and has dedicated the first 19 years of his life to playing basketball. All so he could get to the NBA level, and nationally showcase his talents. Now, he is where he has always dreamed of being, but he still will not try to overcome his fear. I had to put myself in the shoes of Royce White, and I began to wonder just how horrific an “anxiety attack” is? I had to ask the only person I know who suffers from the same situation as Royce White, and that is my mother.
My mother has suffered from anxiety her whole life, as has Royce White, and has suffered severe anxiety attacks. So I asked her the simple question, what exactly does an anxiety attack feel like? She told me that an anxiety attack basically feels as if you are having a heart attack. She continued to say that when it first begins, your heart rate speeds up drastically, then it feels as if pins and needles are being struck throughout your body. Then you begin to feel like all your thoughts are combined and you cannot think straight. When it gets very severe, your body is physically unable to move and you can black out. It’s a very scary thing to have to go through. I continued to ask my mom what her biggest fear was, and how she felt when she attempted to overcome it. She told me, “I couldn’t sleep at night. My body was tense all night, to the point [where] it felt as if both my legs were asleep and I could hardly get up to walk to the bathroom. Every little thing would stress me out, and my body would hurt so bad my muscles were so tense.” She continued on, “It basically feels like your whole body is having a ‘charlie-horse’ and there’s no way to stop it.“
I would like to personally thank my mom for allowing me to explain to you, the reader, and myself, the situation Royce White has been put in. I would also like to say I am extremely proud of her for overcoming such a huge hurdle in her life. My mom’s description helped me really understand what Royce White is going through. She called it: “The scariest things she has ever been through,” and with what she explained to me, this was no surprise. On one hand, you have a prospect, wanting to play and help this Houston team, but on the other hand, a severe case of anxiety. The Houston Rockets have NOT taken this illness as serious as they should have from the day they drafted him. I do not put the blame on either Houston nor Royce White. Houston thought that drafting him and giving him the privilege to play in the NBA would be enough to get him over this adversity. Royce White thought he knew all he had to know about living the life of an NBA player, but had a very rude awakening. Personally, I hope that Royce White can overcome this. The two quotes above both state that to achieve your dreams, you have to take risks. Houston has already taken the risk, they drafted him. Now, it should be his turn, and take this risk of overcoming this fear, and playing at a high level, so the nightmare he is living now, can turn back into his 4-year old dreams.