…..I’d be coaching. 🙂

Today, a group of brave 8th grade girls and I traveled to a basketball tournament in a local town.  Now, back when I started coaching here, I had a group of girls who did this constantly!  As sixth graders, I figured this group played in the neighborhood of 30 games that winter.  If there was a tournament, these girls sniffed it out!  The group after them, they didn’t play in as many, but they were somewhere 20 to 25 games.  Did this help? When the first group were seniors, they lost a total of 3 games, losing to an eventual state runner up in a tough regional final game.  The next year’s team group, as seniors, took that next step and made the state tournament. And both groups had fun doing it too. The joy of watching them and the teams that came after them certainly helped with all the time spent outside of school coaching at 6:30 in the morning and countless Saturdays in cold gyms.  My daughters grew up watching kids play on Saturdays, and eventually found themselves going to Saturday games, coached by their mom and dad.

The last few years, I’ve not had those kids, the ones who are driven to play outside of the regular season.  Volleyball, texting, and any number of other distractions have created kids who just aren’t willing to put in the time or effort to make themselves better.  It’s not that I’ve not put the tournament dates out or encouraged girls to do better.  It’s just they aren’t interested.

Well, that changed.  I’ve got a group of girls who want to play, to do better, and it started today.  Now, we didn’t do as well as I’d hoped.  First game, we were within 8 points, and ended up losing by 30. Ouch. Two problems in that game. One, we got tired.  We have 19 girls on our middle school team, with A and B squads. These are great when we play teams who have A/B teams of their own.  The problem, we don’t play that many teams, thus, my girls don’t get many minutes. Today, they got a TON of minutes.  The second problem, the other team came out in a zone, something we’ve never played against as our conference rules don’t allow it.  The second game was a strange one.  We had a girl make not one, but two baskets at the wrong hoop, we got down nine with less than a minute and thirty second left, but had a chance to tie at the end of the game.  29 – 26 we lost.  The chances were there and I saw some good things in this game.  The last game, we were just flat and tired.  End of the first half, 28 – 9.  Blah.  However, we won the second have 13 – 12, with the final score being 40 – 22.

Three games, tough games, but in the end, I feel so confident going forward.  We have some great players, but even better, some great kids!  They lifted each other up, they were supportive, but yet, they didn’t back down from anyone on the court.  I can work with that, and we’ll get better! Oh yes, we will!  I know they are doing all the work and they inspire me to keep working on this part of my job, to do better for them!

I’m hardly the world’s best coach, but I love this classroom because it’s another place we can teach life lessons: fair play, character, and how to battle adversity in a positive way.  Plus, if someone gets mouthy, they can run a down and back, something I can’t do in the classroom! 🙂