March doesn't just bring madness to basketball courts. In the crazy weeks that place a huge light on colleges across the country, there's a surplus of "feel good" human interest stories. A piece might pop up about a star player who started as the team's walk-on player, or paragraphs may be written about the latest small school banding together to break brackets everywhere. As sure as there will be basketball games in the spring, there will be related stories that make you experience a warm and fuzzy feeling all the way down to your toes.
However, one story from this season breaks away like a guard sprinting down the court for a layup. University of Delaware Elena Delle Donne has taken quite the interesting path during her collegiate career. She headed to the basketball capital of Storrs, Connecticut, to follow in the footsteps of other great Huskie players at the University of Connecticut. Or that was the plan, anyways.
Moments after arriving on campus, Delle Donne packed her bags and headed back home to Delaware, leaving many in the college hoops world scratching their heads. Connecticut was too far away from the most important people in her life -- her family, especially her sister Lizzie. Lizzie, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, is blind and deaf. She can communicate only by touch and their relationship took a hit after the move north.
Delle Donne called her family her "rocks" and believed that life without them wasn't going to be a happy one. Now playing with her number one fans nearby, Delle Donne has turned the University of Delaware's program around and is one of the biggest names in women's college hoops.
Collegians could really take a page out of Delle Donne's playbook. So many surprising situations appear during the scary, yet exhilarating, moments that encompass the collegiate experience. From choosing a school to rocking a cap and gown while walking across that graduation stage, young people face many questions over their four years. Do I send in my deposit to a school across the country? Should I take that summer internship in a new city? Is this major going to work for me?
Even when you may be swimming through lots of tough decisions, there's one important question you need to ask yourself: who are my rocks?
Your rocks are your foundation, your comfort zone, your saving grace. They're your biggest cheerleaders, hardest critics, and best supporters. It may be the family you were born in to, or perhaps the family you've created for yourself. No matter who your rocks are, it's important to identify them, appreciate them, and follow them. Don't automatically assume that by "following" those people you're setting up a life in Smalltown, USA. It's more so identifying those important people and seeing how they enlighten into your life.
Once you key in on those people, treasure those relationships. Following them doesn't necessarily mean staying in the same spot forever. Rather, it means working at those relationships every day. You'll get back what you put in tenfold. It may could be calling your mom every day just to say hello, sharing a silly video on your sister's Facebook wall, or laughing through a Skype lunch date with your best friend. It could be taking a summer internship at home to spend time laughing in the sunshine, walking your dog and singing out of car windows. It could be be flying across the country just in time to see your adorable nephew pound his fists in the icing of his first birthday cake.
Life may throw you a few fouls and make you want to call a time out. In those challenging huddles, follow your rocks. Follow their advice, follow their support, follow their dedication to you and your passions.
It's easy to get caught up in thinking "this very decision will define me." But really, at the end of the day, your college career (and your life) are defined simply by moments. It's up to you to choose who will create those moments right along with you.
Follow Amy Hansen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/_AmyHansen