Calling South Dakota, “home,” is a unique statement. A statement that I would have never imagined that I would be saying. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever even visit this state set somewhere in the middle of the United States, let alone would I live in it? It takes time adjusting to new places and it would take time for me to adjust to my new home here in Sioux Falls.
Even though I had only been living here for about two months, the impression upon my psyche and persona felt that I had spent so much time in this place. My place of familiarity would be found within the game of basketball, regardless of the zip code. I have often described my connection to the game of basketball and the special bond I have with an empty gymnasium. But, the Augustana gym holds a special relationship with me. I constantly find myself here, early in the morning and late at night, multiple times throughout the day; whether it be with my teammates or alone. This is my sanctuary. God has both blessed me to be here and challenged me to remain here. God opens my mind and frees my emotions here. God allows me to be me.
Although, this is my first year at Augustana, this gymnasium, is closer to me than many may understand. This simple place was where I decided to attend Augustana. It occurred during my official visit to Augie. I was here visiting the school, meeting the coaches and team, and touring the facilities. It was at the end of my visit and I was talking to Coach B in the gym. We were sitting on the sidelines and he was asking me about my thoughts and I decided to commit to Augustana here and then within this gym on June 7th, 2018. It was in here that my dream of playing collegiate basketball on a full scholarship was accomplished, and it is here that I will continue to work and pursue and play the game that I love.
Coincidentally, just one month ago on, September 21, 2018, I was again alone in the gym on a Friday night, when I answered a phone call from my mom. Unfortunately, I received some of the most devastating news I have heard within my lifetime. My mom informed me that my uncle had suddenly passed away. I could feel the pain in my mother’s voice. I felt trapped, I felt alone, angry, frustrated and confused. I stayed in the gym all night after that phone call. I couldn’t think of a better place to be to help me cope with the news I had just received. This was my sacred place, this was where I went when things were on my mind. I spoke to God in there that night. I asked him “why?”, I pleaded and yelled at God all night.
I felt isolated and alone out here in this foreign place called South Dakota. I was new to the school, new to the team, and new to the area. I had no one to talk to about what had happened. I was angry at South Dakota for isolating me from my grieving family and the people I wanted to be with and amongst.
After I returned to South Dakota from the funeral, I found the that the best comfort for me was once again within this gym. It was ironic that this was the place that I had received such life-altering news, yet this was also the place that I felt most comfortable and was able to find solace. I promised to dedicate my upcoming season to my uncle. It was here, in the Augustana practice gym, where I will be able to honor my uncle, by working hard and making him proud.
Time moves on and life is so very precious. I learned these lessons in here, a simple basketball gymnasium, this year. It is here that I will continue to learn and grow; both as a basketball player and as a human.
Beau Keeve, Business Administration and Sports Management Major