It is difficult to achieve your goals and dreams in life. It is even more difficult to do so without your parents. Jasmine Ware, a freshman on the UCSB women’s basketball team, has overcome hardships from early on in life to get to where she is today.
Ware was born to drug addicted and uneducated parents who ended up giving her away when she was three months old. They never had a stable home environment in a Sacramento area with drug dealers on every corner.
“My dad was in and out of jail, and my mom I’ve only seen two times in my life,” Ware said. “There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think if I was living with them, would I be where I am now?”
Ware was given to her aunt with whom she formed an extremely close relationship. So close that she began calling her mom. Ware’s aunt not only took care of her and gave her a support system, but she pushed her to be the best she could be.
“I am so thankful for my aunt because she has pushed me to be where I am today,” Ware said. “She really helped me out in life because she told me it’s not where you come from, but where you are going that matters.”
It wasn’t until later in her life that Ware saw basketball as a way to escape from her troubles, a way to get away from the life her parents fell into.
“Playing basketball was a major outlet for me,” Ware said. “ It was a way to not think about my parents and why they weren’t around. From there I just fell in love with the sport.”
Even though Ware wanted nothing more than to just play basketball and have fun, her aunt was always there to keep her in line with academics. Ware would even sneak out at times to go play basketball only to come home to be disciplined by her aunt.
“There was a time I was getting a 2.0 GPA and I thought I was doing good because I was eligible to play sports,” Ware said. “That’s when my aunt stepped in and told me that that was not good enough and she taught me to have a good work ethic.”
Ware didn’t take up basketball until the eighth grade and admitted she had to put in a great deal of work. It wasn’t until her high school coach Michelle Massari began working with her that Ware believed she could play at the next level.
“At first I was pretty bad, I was just playing for fun and wasn’t too serious about it,” Ware said. “As I got better I realized that I could play at the Division I level.”
Ware began training with her coach every summer while she was in high school. She sacrificed family events and vacations due to her determination to get better. Her hard work paid off as Ware earned all-league honors and was Sacramento Bee Player of the Year her senior season.
“From day one she (Massari) told me I could be a great player,” Ware said. “She would work with me in the film room and on everything else from ball handling to shooting.”
Just as she began to reach success both academically and athletically, tragedy struck. Her aunt passed away when Ware was a sophomore in high school. Ware was devastated with the loss of the one person who had taken her in and given her so much in life.
“I made sure that her death never took over my life,” she said. “I used that negative energy and turned it into motivation to be successful. I’m living my life fulfilling what I know she would have wanted for me.”
Ware has undoubtedly overcome extreme obstacles throughout her life. From a young age she has dealt with having no parents, but persists to succeed in whatever she takes on.
“Basketball is my motivation to not be like my parents,” Ware said. “I don’t want to end up where they are and do what they are doing; wasting time and not living life.”
Ware won’t have to worry about that with the strong values that she lives by. She sets the highest of standards for herself with goals to become the Big West Freshman of the Year as well as to achieve a GPA above 3.0.
“I want to keep challenging myself academically, as well as out on the court by helping my team with whatever they need me to do.”
Ware will continue to live her life full of motivation and full of her desire to succeed.
“I will not sit around and complain about the things I did not have,” she said. “Instead, I will focus on the things that I will accomplish.”