Today I’m going to rank all 27+ basketball teams I’ve coached during my years as a teacher/coach.

#WHAT

Ok, maybe not. That’s a lot of teams and I know I’ve forgotten some teams or players on those teams, which wouldn’t be fair. Nor would it be fair to “rank” teams. I love each team that I’ve coached and that vibe that they brought both to their game and to each other.

So, what I’ll do is talk about a few teams that made an impact on me

  1. Alaska: This was our first team of coaching basketball, so it holds a special place. We were 23 year old newly weds in the middle of no where. No roads outside of town, planes to all away games, and accusations of racisms were what awaited us on this team. Our team lost their leading scorer that summer, yet, we were a last second shot away from going to the state tournament. We had a firey freshman point guard, a post player who has all the tools, but not the motitation or the family life, and an role players who were uncomfortable at best being on the floor. But, this team was gritty and hardened from life and found their groove. They could have quit on us and themselves, but didn’t and for that I am always thankful for them.
  2. Missouri: I coached 7th and 8th grade here and they also allowed freshmen to play down with the 8th graders. I had girls who just wanted to play and who needed a coach that wasn’t a jackass. I guess I fit the bill because we had so much fun. Again, firey point guards, shooting guards who found out that when you shoot, good things happen, and role players who loved being scrappy on the floor. We didn’t win as much as I’d liked, but their varsity teams were very competitive so I look at that as a win. This is one of the very few regrets that I have in life, moving away from Missouri, the place where I taught and where we lived. I love the life we’ve made, but I miss “that” Missouri. Missouri right now is batshit crazy, so I don’t think I’d be anymore happy there right now than I am here! 🙂
  3. Iowa: Goodness, there are SO many good memories of teams I coached here.
    1. I could pull out the first team I coached here as 6th graders. I had the girls in class and one of their dads was the coach. She begged me to take over, which I did and it started this whole chain of events. We beat a rival on a last second shot and coached them from two more years, winning many more times than we lost. One player is a social media consultant, another is principle, another owns her own gym, another is a music teacher. So many good memories of this group. A point guard who couldn’t stop smiling, guards who loved to play defense, a post who never stopped trying to learn, two role players I’d clone to have them every year, and a team who took care of each other.
    2. I could pull out the team followed them. They watched the above team win, and these girls were as talented. Their claim to fame, they made the state tournament in Des Moines. They got hot at the right time and pulled a pretty good upset to get down as one of the top 8 teams in the state. While they couldn’t sustain that energy, the positive energy they brought to the program was visible for years afterwards. They won and they did it with smiles on their faces!
    3. I could pull out the team that got beat by a rival as 7th graders by 30+ point. They played together on our club team and faced this rival in the first tournament of the year. My girls were terrified of being embarassed again. I knew we were better than they believed, so that was my mantra, “Just play your game”, and they did just that, losing by 4. This “loss” turned their thinking around. We played this team in the regular season, and they now believed. It was an amazing game, featuring great basketball, technical fouls, fans acting badly, overtime, all of it. And the best part, we won! We had height, we had speed, we had shooters, we played defense, and the girls were so coachable. These girls are now seniors and sadly, only three girls out of the nine I coached are still playing, but they hold a special place because they believed. This team just wanted to play and we actually had to say “the season is done” because otherwise, we’d have played until May (which I didn’t mind, but parents did!).
    4. Or I could pull that team that just didn’t want to lose. They played 32 games and lost four. It’s the one team I had where we shooters and all positions. Everyone knew they had the green light to pull the trigger from where ever they felt comfortable and it was so much fun to watch. All of them had great basketball IQ and they just “knew” where each other was on the court. One game comes to mind where we were all just sick, one girl actually didn’t make it because she was throwing up and cried about it. Our bench of a mess of gross used klenexxs and girls looking like death warmed over. We had a team that went zone defense on us because we were smaller. Not a bad plan. We started the second half ahead by 4. FIrst possession, boom, three pointer. We get a stop, second possession, boom three pointer. We get a stop, third possession, boom three pointer. They call a time out, going from behind by four to being down by 13. Needless to say, they got out of the zone and we won by 20+ points. That was this team. They just found your weakness and broke it open.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t dozens and dozens of memories from teams. We had a girl shoot at the wrong basket, another got a technical foul because she spiked the ball after a foul, and a girl made a layup in a game and the celebration was epic!

So many good memories we may have to do this again with a few others teams!