You know, getting this dang blog done on a Friday is killing me!! 🙂  Yesterday it was school, ball practice, high school play, then home.  From 7:40 AM to 10:15 PM, I had a total of 30 minutes at home. Blah!  However, yesterday did lead me to my happy thought, so I thought I’d share all the same.

We had our first basketball games on Thursday.  One word: ouch.  We hit a team that was described as “the best middle school team I’ve ever seen” by one coach.  We, unfortunately, are not.  Our A and B teams got beat by a combined 97 points.  Now, I’ve been on this side of these kinds of beating before, and I know it’s part of the game.  We talked, both team, briefly after the game about few positives and how a good night’s sleep would help too.

The problem is, after our second game, I got jumped by a parent who just could not believe that I didn’t require the A team to sit behind the bench.  I wasn’t creating a team and back when she played . . . . you get the picture.  Now, I’ve coached here 11, 12 years somewhere in there.  I coached two years in Missouri, and a year in Alaska.  We’ve had some pretty good teams, some not so good teams, but I pride myself on building just that, a team.  No where does it say these girls are going to be friends off the court, but on the court, during games, practice, we respect and pick each other up, period.  In those years of coaching, not once, not one time, has anyone ever questioned my stance on what a team should do after a game.  My own thoughts: a team is built from the heart.  I can talk about, require kids to stay, but in the end, those girls are going to have a team built on their own love and respect for each other, that I cannot “require” them to do.

So, I went home pretty ticked off.  However, I reflected.  I’ve come to believe that the “it’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality gets us in far more trouble than we realize, so I went to some experts.  I talked with our AD, coaches, teachers, parent, former players getting their take on this. You know what I found it? They all split about 50/50 requiring girls to stay vs. giving them the option to stay or leave. ARGH!! You people are of no use to me!! 🙂

Yesterday’s practice was our picture day, so the girls were a little screwy to begin with.  As a team, they have their little groups, but dang they are just a fun group to be around.  We got our team picture taken, and some of the girls wanted to talk about what happened in terms of people leaving, which was perfect.  So we did.  It was a great, organic conversations where girls really shared their feeling about kids leaving, others about why they had to leave, and about how we could grow as a team from this.  In the end, as we came together, I just said: “We are a family, we pick each other up, we carry each other if we need to, and in the end, we watch out for each other.  Learn from yesterday’s games, learn from today, and we will be fine growing into that role together.”

They are fast becoming one of my favorite teams I’ve coached, if not for simply being coachable and willing listen.  Now, we’ll see if our compromise on games meets with this parent’s approval.  If it doesn’t, I’m not too worried, because the team agreed, and that’s what matters in the end.

My happy thought: my 8th grade basketball team.  A group of girls who will go places someday! 🙂