Hamilton sophomore Kinidi Curl considers basketball to be a fun sport that has allowed her to meet new people. Not only does she hoop for the Yankees girls’ basketball team, but she competes in travel ball.
Through travel ball, Curl competed in several different states including Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois. She mentioned how it builds her mental toughness for high school competition as coaches consistently push players toward their potential.
“The competition is a bit different from high school basketball,” Curl said. “We do a lot of running which I think that helps with my stamina and it allows me to be able to play longer in the game.”
Curl came into the ninth grade playing varsity, which initially made her nervous. However, her coach and former teammates made the transition easy for her. Curl also enjoys her current teammates; due to their efforts, the Yankees have a 17-7 overall record and a 6-3 Western league record.
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“I think everybody has that same mentality of I want to win,” she said. “A lot of us don’t like losing so it was for playing for each other, not only just for ourselves because we really enjoy being together.”
A highlight for her this season was when the Yankees defeated the Poly Parrots 48-39 to win the Huntington Park tournament championship.
“Before that, we played another tournament … that was a little tough,” Curl said. “For us to, for the next week, come back and win that, that was dope.”
For Curl, being a student athlete means being able to prioritize your responsibilities and use your time wisely.
“Having games at 4:30, getting home at 7, 7:30 and not wanting to do homework, that takes a lot,” she said. “So just having that toughness again to be like ‘okay, I have to do it’ so we could just get this good grades.”
If the homework is easy or if it is math, Curl tries to finish her assignments before her games. While math is her favorite class, her favorite teacher teaches history.
“Right now, I’m doing financial algebra,” Curl said. “I like doing math that I know I’m going to be able to utilize in the real world, so knowing that doing financial algebra, we’re dealing with money and stuff, I like that aspect.”
Occasionally Curl struggles with mental breakdowns, she recently questioned her impact on the team. Her team was quick to uplift her.
“I felt like I wasn’t doing as good as I should be,” she said. “The coach and everybody else around me was just like ‘you’re doing great, you’re doing fine. Don’t let it bother you,’ That really helped.”
Outside of academics and athletics, Curl enjoys spending time with her pet dog and baking.
“One of my favorites is probably making cookies from scratch,” she said. “Recently, I haven’t made any as of yet because [I’ve] been doing basketball a lot.”