Shot after shot went up, most of them good.
A three pointer from deep, good.
A hesi jab-step pull-up from mid-range, good.
As she looked on, she thought to herself, this guy can really play, but he’s sort of a ball hog.
That’s what U.S. Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia executive officer and former U.S. Naval Academy point guard Lcdr. Angela Myers thought when she first caught a glimpse of Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Brody Lindstrom on the basketball court in Diego Garcia.
For the 6’5” wiry-framed self-proclaimed shooting guard, it was just another Saturday morning taxing his opponents on the court, but for Myers, she felt he could learn a few things and perhaps play basketball representing the Navy in an unconventional way, through All-Navy Men’s Basketball.
According to Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the host for All-Navy Basketball, the team is an opportunity for Sailors with the appropriate skill set to compete at the highest level outside of the service academies.
“Here’s a skinny, tall, white dude coming into the gym, got on the court and he was able to hoop,” said Myers. “He showed his skills. It was pretty neat. Immediately, I thought, wow, he should try out for All-Navy.”
At the time, Lindstrom was unaware he was being watched.
“I had no idea she was our XO. I had just checked into the command,” said Lindstrom.
Lindstrom, who joined the Navy in 2020, has always had a great love for the game of basketball since he first held a ball in his hand, but he never saw himself playing beyond high school.
“I was feeling good that day and I was playing well and then she suggested I should try out for the All-Navy Basketball team,” said Lindstrom. “She gave me the rundown, let me know applications are due in two months and told me she had participated in the past.”
Myers, who is no stranger to All-Navy Basketball having played for the team in 2013, 2014 and 2015, agreed to help Lindstrom on his path to trying out for the team.
“We would work out at 5 a.m. together just practicing our skills and trying to get in the best shape, the best basketball shape,” said Lindstrom. “She knew what the expectation was and we held each other accountable.”
Myers, an aspiring coach, agrees.
“We probably trained from June to July. I learned from him and he learned from me,” said Myers.
Until they boarded the plane to leave for tryouts, Myers coached Lindstrom.
“The four-day tryout was in Oceana in Virginia Beach,” said Lindstrom. “We were in Japan for a couple days on the way there just working out. It was a lot of conditioning, a lot of speed ladder, agility, cardio, shooting and full-court layups, a lot of stuff that we were anticipating doing in the tryout.”
Twenty-five Sailors from all around the fleet came to try out, including some former Division-1 college basketball players, Division-2 college basketball players, and some who were former U.S. Naval Academy basketball players.
“I think a big thing is that not a lot of people know what the program is, what it involves and what you can do,” said Lindstrom. “You can just put in an application and you can do it every year. There are multiple sports in addition to basketball. If more people were aware of the program it could be a lot bigger.”
When the four-day tryouts concluded and the 12-player team was announced, to Lindstrom’s dismay, he was not selected.
“I was a little disheartened, but not upset in the slightest,” said Lindstrom. “I was honored and just happy to have had the opportunity. I 100 percent plan to try again, 110 percent. I will not give up. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t my year this year. There’s a 110 percent chance that next year I will try again.”
Above all, Lindstrom is grateful for the friendships he made while at the tryout.
“The friends and brothers that I made out there, those are my guys for life,” said Lindstrom. “Whether we got cut or made the team, we all treat each other like family. We still talk to this day. I was watching their games and texting them.”
Upon returning to Diego Garcia to continue his duties as a master-at-arms, Lindstrom found out he was promoted to second class petty officer.
“I think the leadership qualities I’ve gained from work contribute to being a leader on the basketball court,” said Lindstrom. “I have a whole year to work on my game. The coaches helped me understand my areas of growth and encouraged me to sharpen my skills before I go next year, which I will be doing for sure.”
Success may look different to everyone, but for Lindstrom, the opportunity itself was the victory.
“Basketball is always going to be in my life no matter what,” said Lindstrom.
|ST. PAUL, MN, US