National Association of Collegiate Basketball Managers
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“My Boys”: How LMU Basketball Is and Will Always Be a Part of Me
10/22/11
BY: Nadia Mokhtari, Loyola Marymount University Manager

As a first-year team manager, I have seen a variety of reasons why students go to great length to prove to the coaches and staff that they are manager material. I have been blessed to work in an environment where managers are considered part of the team effort, get great networking opportunities, and learn basketball like never before. While I really appreciate how great the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Men’s Basketball Program is in regards to what it can do for me, I strived to be team manager because of what I could contribute towards the success of a team full of talented, whole-hearted athletes who I affectionately call “My Boys.” This is the story about how one program dared me to dream.

My first LMU Basketball game was never meant to happen. What father wants to hear their 14-year-old daughter announce that she has no intentions of going to college? Mine certainly did not, and making one of the best spontaneous parenting choices, asked his boss at work for some help, which came in form of tickets to an LMU Men’s Basketball game. Little did I know that game would change my life.

The first thing I noticed as the LMU athletes hustled back and forth throughout the game was how much heart they had. I will never forget how inspired I became just watching these athletes play. The score was irrelevant, because they won me over right then and there with their strength, courage, and heart. Those boys played with courage, the same courage I would see game after game as a season ticket holder for the next few years. 

This inspiration and the admiration I have gained from that first game onward has translated in enormous ways into my life. First, I believe one of the most obvious results is my desire to go to college, specifically LMU, which I knew would take great grades on my part to accomplish, thus beginning my successful academic quest in high school. Secondly, they inspired me to be more than I ever thought I could be, especially as a young age. Here I stand today, an Emmy Award winner, the owner of a soon-to-be established entertainment firm, Hoot Entertainment, with signed clients that I manage, team manager for an outstanding group of young gentlemen, a community activist, and a full-time student studying business management.  Finally, I have grown as a person and learned some valuable lessons of life through just merely watching LMU basketball.

Aside from igniting my true potential, watching LMU Men’s Basketball has taught me several things. To start, I learned that a star performer both in basketball and in life is someone who not only performs exceptionally in their field, but also humbles himself or herself and appreciates their supporters “off the court,” or outside their area of success. Also, I learned that true champions may not be the ones that always come out in victory, but are those who enter and leave the court with the respect and admiration of their peers and supporters. Finally, I learned it’s always better to take a shot, even if it seems time has nearly elapsed, you can still say you put it up rather than held it back.

To me, practice is not just another practice, but rather an opportunity for me to help out a group of NCAA division one basketball players preform at their highest potential. Everyday I come to work loving what I do and for the cause my actions help support. For me, the “thank you” I receive from “My Boys” feels better than winning an Emmy or breaking into the industry as a manager and business owner ever did. I am truly blessed to have a team that can comfortably count on me and vice versa, especially as I battle with my recently diagnosed arthritis in my knee, a setback that the coaches and staff at LMU have been beyond accommodating and understanding towards.

My hopes for the future lie primarily with the team rather than myself. I wish for success for all of “My Boys,” not only those I have had the pleasure of watching play, but also those to join the team in the future. I feel it takes a special sort of athlete to play for LMU, one that plays with his heart and maintains the humble, genuine personality I equate with being gracious, admirable people. To them, I attribute my success attained and to come, as well as the smile I wear. As for my own goals, aside from my professional and academic growth, I wish for nothing more than to continue to be there for all of them and exceed the effort and commitment expected of me and will hopefully be promoted to head manager at some point in my undergraduate career.

For me, being a manager is not just a job; it is a dream and privilege. My hope is that for every team, there is at least one person who feels the way I do, because these athletes are capable of inspiring dreams beyond the basketball court, and as managers, the benefit and connection into our lives is truly priceless.

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