I’ve not written much about basketball because, well, there’s not been much to write.
We started the season out in our own tournament without practice and with girls who barely knew each other. Our team got smoked by two good teams, and I was not happy. We struggled on defense, offense, making shots, rebounding, passing, the whole realm of basketball.
In our second tournament, we ended up with only 5 girls. Good god. I was REALLY not happy with this because we were supposed to get some sixth-graders to play up (I coach 7th grade this year). I won’t write too much about this because enough people read in the community, but we’ve had exactly one sixth-grader play with us in one tournament. On a team of 16 girls, we’ve had one play up with us. We lost by 4, by 2 in double overtime, then got tired and lost by 8. A really good showing, so I had no complaints.
We had a tournament canceled, then played at the beginning of January and won our pool, which was pretty cool. We had almost a full team (I think we had 8 girls, our one sixth-grader played and was freaking outstanding) and I was planning what we could do with the nine who’d agreed to play in the next one.
Well, that next tournament was canceled, then, we played last weekend. Again, we were short girls. One girl decided she didn’t want to play anymore, period. Our sixth graders decided she’d rather play with 16 girls than with the 7 we have, so away we went. And before I go on, yes, I’m a little bitter and jaded because I see what we could have been. This tournament wore us down. We played some really big schools and won! In our first game, we played a 4A or 5A school and won by 2. The girls were truly stunned, but I could see they wanted more. Our second game was against a combination of two different schools from Iowa City. We won by four. At this point, I had the girls believing they could play with anyone.
But, as luck would have it, we played the first team again (because we don’t score a lot of points and the final games were seeded by wins and points), and they did to us what we did to them, beat us by 2. There were tears, there were really angry and sad faces, but there were girls who cared, and that I love.
One of the best comments I heard was after our second game, a parent of the team we’d just beaten asked someone close to her, “Who is this team”.
Who are we? We are not a flashy team. We are not a glamorous team. We are not the team that runs complex offenses and makes fancy passes. We grind. We work. We help on defense. We talk so we don’t get beat. We aren’t great shooters. We aren’t the best rebounders.
What do we have? Heart! We have grit. We are NOT afraid to get dirty going after basketballs on the floor. We aren’t afraid to take a charge. We aren’t afraid to play these big schools because what do we have to lose? This upcoming weekend is our last tournament of the year and I’m sad. I don’t know if I’ll do this again, so I want it to be the best thing for the girls. We play some TOUGH teams, but we’ve shown, we can play with anyone.
Wouldn’t it be fun to mess around and win the whole thing? I sure think it would be.
Because these seven players deserve it for all they’ve done and all the work they’ve put in.
All I can do is hope we play our best basketball because if we do, we stand a fighting chance.
And for this team, that’s all they need: a chance! 🏀❤️