Today is my 22nd birthday, one that more than any before has allowed me to take a step back and really take a look at everything that is going on around me. Nothing is what I expected it to be at this point in life. As a recent college graduate I expected to be getting my own place, hopefully starting a new job in the field that I love and really starting my life, but the coronavirus pandemic had other ideas. Everything has been pushed back, and while everyone realizes it’s not permanent it still sucks. It doesn’t help when these things keep piling on to the problems I already face.
For the first time in my life I have finally been able to admit to myself that I have depression.
That’s not to say I don't live an incredibly easy life. Over the past few weeks I’ve come to understand just how privileged I am. I have loving parents that are able to support me, a close-knit group of friends, and the ability to do what I love without the fear of not having a roof over my head or food to eat.
My depression is something that I have never shared with anyone before. Not my parents, not my close friends, not my mentors. No one. I’ve been dealing with it for a long time now, but I don't think I really wanted to admit to myself until recently that there is a significant problem. Recently it’s gotten worse. I find it hard to even attempt to get out of bed or try to have a conversation that doesn’t turn into an argument.
As corny as this sounds, for a while the only thing that I genuinely looked forward to was watching Sixers basketball. Being able to focus all of my energy and attention into a game was the only thing that brought me any sense of relief. Even when they continue to break our hearts and find new ways to piss off the fanbase, they were the life preserver that I could grab on to when I felt like I was sinking. For just a few hours, watching Ben Simmons run the fast-break or studying how Joel Embiid consistently dominates in the low post feels like a necessary reprieve.
The whole idea of The Process is something that captured my attention from the first time I heard Sam Hinkie speak. Realizing that you won’t be able to lure big name free agents or draft marquee prospects as a middle of the road team, let alone compete for a championship, is something that not all franchises want to admit. Sam Hinkie saw this and took a huge risk to try and lose in order to speed up the process of getting these big name players so that a championship window could be opened. The idea was met with tons of criticism and yet he stuck to his guns and pressed forward with his plan.
Years later the Sixers have two of the most impressive young stars in the game and have made moves to open up that championship window, and that is because of Sam Hinkie’s willingness to believe in himself and his idea.
Trust The Process has a lot of meaning to me. While it signifies one of the weirdest times in the history of my favorite team, it also means that even if you are going through a rough patch, if you stay the course and continue to work things will end up getting better.
I’m dedicating this year to getting help for the first time in my life and growing from these obstacles. If I’ve learned anything from the Sixers, it won't be an overnight success and there might be some more bumps in the road (looking at you Markelle Fultz and Jahlil Okafor). But hopefully there is some kind of light at the end of the tunnel.
“If you want to have real success, you have to very often be willing to do something different from the herd.” — Sam Hinkie