First, seriously, a super full moon AND a winter storm?? Seriously?? Whomever put the bee in Mother Nature’s bonnet, please, for the love of all that is holy, stop it!!
But enough about snow, let’s talk about my slice! This last weekend, I organized our final outing with our 8th grade basketball team, a trip to Iowa City to watch the Iowa Women’s Basketball team play against Maryland. If you’ve not heard of Megan Gustafson, and one who’s at all interested in college basketball, look her up. She’s a center from Iowa who averages 27 points per game, along with around 12 rebounds. I read an article from an Iowa blog about how we are running out of time to witness the play of Megan, so this was the weekend! We ended up with five girls, a few parents, and siblings who made the 2 1/2 trek to Iowa City (through a SNOW STORM) to watch her play.
We were not disappointed.
Maryland was ranked number seven in the nation, with three women above 6’2″ (Megan is 6’3″) and they rotated all three on her. She was double teamed, sometimes tripled teamed, but ended the game with 31 points and 17 rebounds as Iowa won. A great game for the girls to see because the Iowa point guard is a 5’3″ ball of energy, playing with a fearless abandon, guarding women much taller, and not ever backing down. It was such a good game to teach that idea of family, taking care of each other, never giving up, and that even families lose their focus.
As we came back, I felt good about life. We’d gotten this done in a snow storm, my wife and I had a Saturday night together in Iowa City, and we didn’t cancel school! Hooray for small miracles. I walk in (two hours late, damn snow) and here’s one of my better shooters at her locker. I greet her, and she hands me two cards.
One is a handmade card (awwwwwwww!!), saying thank you for all the great memories and how she’s even more in love with the game because of how I treated her and her teammates. The second, from her dad, basically saying the same thing, thank you for all you’ve done for my daughter and her team. Goodness, I about starting bawling as I read these. I will say, this has been one of the most appreciative teams, both from parents and players that I’ve ever coached. They’ve gone out of the way to make me feel appreciated, which is such a different feeling. I always feel that way because working with middle schoolers, they tend to be willing to say thank you, but never like this.
That filled my bucket for this week, period. I’ve got a spot on my board where I put my thank yous, and those two are up there prominently, to remind me of a couple things. One, write your dang thank you notes! You never know who might need a little boost, and a handwritten thank you ALWAYS does the trick for me! Two, those bucket fillers don’t take much time, but they always reap dividends. I was considering taking a step back from coaching because of a bad experience. Now, I’m back. The college game just got me thinking about what I do with my team next year. The wheels were turning because I have a 6’1″ center to work with! 🙂 Watching what these girls COULD become is so awesome. But more importantly, these teams are the lifeline to the high school program. I need to continue to push girls to play, to stay out next year, and to be as prepared as possible.
Just a thank you, but so much more. To feel appreciated it to know you’ve made a difference in a life. That’s a hard feeling to walk away from! 🙂
And, on a more selfish note, it sounds like Iowa may host two NCAA games, another chance to see this all world center play. Power and fineness, an unlikely combination, but so much fun to watch!