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In my scholastic days, Summer was my favorite time of year.

School was out until Fall, and though I always had a summer job from 10th grade-on, I generally had very little responsibility. I spent my summers playing outside, first football in the driveway and later at the playground with baseball then basketball.

As a kid, summer was the time to reinvent myself: Get better at basketball to make the team the next school year. Grow in my confidence talking to girls so I could approach the cutest ones at school. Get a little closer to knowing who I was, so I could… I don’t know what would come next, but I knew I had more growing to do. I had June, July and August to build my confidence, make some money, and work on my game.

In college, I could make more of a plan: My academic schedule was plainly laid out (not that I was preparing for it in any way) and I knew I’d be on the basketball team. I had a much clearer idea of what I’d need to do to be better. I had half of May, all of June and July, and half of August. And, unlike in high school, in my college days I was excited to go back to school: In the areas that mattered to me (basketball, socializing), I had some successes to point to. I had social status. And I was eager to build on both.

Even as a pro athlete, summer was still a clearly-marked period, though not as clear as in the school days: My summer started whenever my current contract ended, and summer ended when I signed a new deal. Summer was time to be the Overseas player who was home for a few months, time to show off my game and show the college and Rec league players what a pro ballplayer looked like. Though I had a few longer-than-expected summers as a basketball player, it was still summer. I always had goals of what to work on over the offseason, and I had the dangling carrot of my next playing opportunity in front of me.

Nowadays, though it is technically summer, it’s not really summer.

There’s no start or stop to the work. No new season to look forward to. In school I dreaded the classes; in basketball I dreaded that I’d be waiting indefinitely for a call from a team or my agent. Now, there’s no yearly I-hate-this scenario. Anything can happen when it happens. I’m in Miami, so there’s not even much of a weather change to signify the seasons turning over (though it is ridiculously humid here in the summer).

Summer used to represent a period of freedom. An off-season for improvement. A chance to show off. A recharge and resetting. It was set up for me.

Now all of that is up to my discretion.

Unlimited choice: Careful what you ask for.

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