And just like that, today was our last practice of the season.
I know. Practice started October 17th and this was it. We had 6:30 practice after a fairly awful game last night. I didn’t know how the girls would come in, but they showed up, late, but they showed up. They were laughing and smiling and acting like the game never happened.
I miss having THAT super power.
We did some shooting contests for Gatorades, we did a little bit of work on our offence, but honestly, with three games and no practices, what will be will be at this point.
The one thing we did that I usually do midseason was an activity that I do in class from time to time. We come to center court and sit around your mascot. I pass out paper and pencil, telling the girls to write their name in the middle of the paper. I have them close their eyes and visualize their teammates and see the good things they do. Are they good shooters? Are they tough on the floor? Are they easy to talk to? Do they command respect? Are they good humans? I said most of these out loud. Then, I had them open their eyes and pass their papers to the left. I asked them to write something good about that teammate. Anything, not just basketball related. With nine girls at practice (one “overslept through her 6 alarms and her dad never woke her up), we sat for a few minutes, and wrote positive comments about each other. Once they get their papers back, they read through the comment, eye lighting up.
Then, I talk about how each of them matters to our team. I don’t care if they can’t walk and chew gum or they can shoot three pointers from anywhere on the floor, they are important to their team and to me. This paper shows what people see and that they need to remember, basketball or not, they are important to those around them.
After that, we play a little more, they argue about our upcoming opponents, and we get cinnamon rolls and chocolate milk, a staple of morning practices.
And then we play Thursday night, Friday night, and Monday night. That’s it. An abrupt end for sure.
I’ve not had that “she cried” moment with this team like I have with many others. They are very frustrating in that I don’t get the same sense of emotion from this group that I have from others. They want to do well, but I’m not sure how invested they are in this team or each other, which is another frustration.
As it is, we have three games left to do some good things. They are capable of making some noise. They have the potential to beat all three teams we play. Which team will show up? Which attitude will show up? That’s what will determine if we are close in any of these games.
Because in the end, it’s not me out there, it’s them. And they have to decide how to finish this season out. I can’t do it for them.
I wish I could, but it’s them, not me.