Dec. 9, 2001
Lauren Bradley is no different than most basketball players. Once she began to grow upward, there was a basketball in her hand. And it didn’t take long for others to notice that she had talent.
“I can remember playing when I was younger, but not really getting involved until like sixth grade,” Bradley said. “When I was in elementary school, I grabbed a ball and I could palm it and on a little goal, I could dunk it and everyone was always like, ‘Lauren, dunk it, dunk it,’ and they had me do that like every other day. I was always one of the tallest in my class.”
Interestingly enough, however, there was another pretty tall kid in the class, who looked an awful lot like Lauren Bradley, but she didn’t play basketball. Lindsay Bradley, Lauren’s identical twin, chose a different route. Now, years later, not much has changed.
“We’re very opposite for being identical twins,” Bradley said. “She’s majoring in nursing and is a “hip hop” dancer and I am majoring in criminology and I’m a basketball player. We’re very different in that way. She’s obviously the more girlie of the two. She’s got coordination, but she has no athleticism what so ever. If she was to shoot a lay up, it would just look ridiculous.
“In high school, she was in the color guard, so she performed at halftime at some of my games and I was quite embarrassed of that. But one time, I actually cried because I was so proud of her.”
Lauren and Lindsay were like any other siblings close in age. There were good days and there were bad days and they didn’t start appreciating each other until they got older and spent some time apart.
“Being a twin has gotten better,” she said. “It was tough growing up with my sister. We’d steal each others clothes. We had to share the same car in high school. But we’ve gotten very close since we’ve been in college. Now that she’s at home and I’m here, the distance is hard, but I love it (having a twin). Now that we’re more mature, we share things, we communicate and it’s just fun.”
Bradley has needed the support of her sister, and parents, since being at Florida State. Dealing with injuries last season was not only challenging, but down right frustrating at times. Being hurt was all a new experience for her. High school was relatively injury-free for the Lake Mary, Fla., native and Bradley’s freshman year at FSU was as successful a rookie season as one could ask for. She played in 19 games and started nine and averaged 6.6 points and 3.8 rebounds a game.
“In high school, I had no problems, really, except for jammed fingers and things like that,” Bradley explained. “Dealing with my injuries has definitely helped me to become a stronger person. I have my basketball family here, but my family at home isn’t here to just hold my hand and get me through everything. It’s been tough, but I know it’s really helped me develop as a person and helped me to just try to push through things. I never really thought I could do that, now I know I can do it.”
Playing sports has helped Bradley in many facets of life. The adversity she has had to deal with has as well.
“I’ve learned so much about relationships in general, communicating with people, just being yourself and being open and vulnerable and affectionate with people,” Bradley said. “Sports has taught me a lot of self-discipline and motivation and that’s helped me in the classroom as well.”
While the demands of a college athlete can be overwhelming at times, Bradley knows she is in the right place.
“We (student-athletes) have to be here, we have to be there,” Bradley said. “Our time is very consumed. When you’re going to study, when you’re going to do this, when you’re going to do that, it’s just hard to manage. Back in high school, you go to school, you go to practice and then you get to go home and there’s that release when you’re away, but we’re (the Seminoles) never away. You either live with a teammate, or you have a function to go to. It’s been hard. It’s really hard to escape, because the only people we know are either athletes or people in the program. The people surrounding me make it so much easier though. If I was somewhere else, I don’t know if I would have made it.”
Bradley has made it and there’s a lot of basketball ahead for this brave Seminole. Having sat out last year as a medical redshirt and learning a whole new perspective about the game, Bradley hopes to become a coach one day. Right now, though, she’s taking it one day at a time and just contributing the best she can.
“I just expect to go out there and be the sixth man off the bench and do what I can when I get in the game,” Bradley said. “I’m not expecting to be ACC first team this year, I’m just going to do what the team knows I can do like take a charge and get some rebounds. Hopefully, as time goes on, things will get better.”