I have loved sports from the moment I learned what a ball was and and what to do with it. I spent hours as a kid playing football with myself — throwing a ball up onto the slanted roof of my childhood home and trying to catch it as it came tumbling down. I played on baseball and basketball teams through the Boys and Girls Club. At recess, I could be found on whatever field or court was available, playing my heart out, competing with kids who were sometimes much older and stronger than me. It never occurred to me to do anything else. I just wanted to play, to be on a team — and I want to take the opportunity…