March 2011 Archives

Basketball Jones

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What a weekend. Both my girls play basketball - a lot of basketball. I'm actually not really much of a basketball fan myslef, as there's too much scoring for me, at least at the higher levels. But I surely enjoyed my girls being successful at basketball and actually help coach a couple of their teams. They both played on a 5th and 6th grade city basketball team as well as play together on the 5th & 6th grade CYO travel team. And they are also on their own teams in the "in house" league, which plays on Sunday afternoons. R11.8 plays on the 6th thru 8th grade team, for which I'm an assistant coach, and A10.6 plays on the 3rd thru 5th grade team, where I am the head coach.

They are both pretty tall for their ages. Not really extra tall, but tall enough for it to be a real benefit on the basketball court. It's been a long season but they have worked very hard for all 3 of the teams they are on and, while it makes for a very busy weekend, I have mostly enjoyed it. The refereeing has been all over the scorecard, from F to A+, and I try, generally unsuccessfully, to remain quiet about it. Generally, they do the best they can and that's that.

R11.8 is a star. Even on her 6th to 8th grade in-house team, she's a major player (and isn't afraid to tell you!). She's a real coach's dream - hard worker, respectful, supportive, and pays attention. She has really come into her own this year and enjoys the pressure. On both the city (where she got the MVP award) and the travel CYO team, she is the go to player and takes the responsibility with both joy and eagerness. She seems unfazed by pressure and wants the ball, which is fun to watch. Every game she is asked to do something different and leaps to the challenge. The CYO travel team played in the state semi-finals this past Saturday, against a team they had lost to twice already, the last time a pretty bad loss.

Driving to the game, I just emphasized that I wanted them both to just play hard and not get pushed around like they had the previous game. They might lose, they might win, but if they gave their all, they could walk out of the gym with their heads held high.  While not a natural, board-banging forward (more of a big fast guard), she was pushed to be exactly that, as the opponents had crushed them on the boards the last game. And she went out and rebounded like a demon, fought like a tiger while sinking some huge baskets. She was in at crunch time, getting the ball, wanting the ball and even doing the wrong thing sometimes, getting yelled at by the coach. But she didn't hang her head, just did the right thing the next time, held onto the ball and they walked off the court with a 4 point victory. I couldn't have been prouder for her, or even her sister, who only played a few minutes but did an excellent job even then. I find it strangely satisfying that the coach picks them as the girls to throw the ball inbounds.

A10.6 isn't quite at the same level. She has some skills though, as demonstrated during the in-house All Star festivities the other night. The All Star game opened with an obstacle course, where the girls dribbled around a pretty tricky course and finished with a layup, low time winning. A10.6 was low time on Team Red, while K was low time (and slightly faster) on Team Blue, so they squared off in the finals and A walked off with the prize (a basketball!). So while she's not quite The Natural that R11.8 is, she works hard and is a very cerebral player.

Today we had the semi-finals of the in-house league. R11.8's team opened with a tough loss against a very similar team. R11.8 played well, even sinking a 3 pointer, but the game just never flowed for her team and they went down to a tough, but fair, 6 point loss.

A10.6's team, the one that I'm the head coach for, went into the playoffs as the favorites. We really came together as a team and ran off number of blow out wins going into the playoffs. But again, the game just never flowed for our team for some reason. But the one thing that really impressed me was just how hard A10.6 worked at it. I could see her grow as a team player this afternoon, despite our disheartening loss. She wanted the ball and she even tried to do too much, which I had never noticed before. I was very proud of her, both as a coach and, more importantly, as a dad. She took responsibility for the team, worked hard at winning the game and sank some really important baskets. While not the most points she has ever scored, and it was a very bitter loss against a team we should beat, it was the best game she has played and the one that I was most proud to see her play.

Sports are tough. I play hockey and have always felt playing goalie in my late 20s was an important step in my maturing as a person. Even in a pick up game, there is no place for a goalie to hide. While I have always felts like a stand up guy, it really toughened me as an adult. But that's nothing like watching your kids play sports. Even though I coach them in both soccer and basketball, I still feel like I have little affect on their game and yet I feel the agony and ecstasy as if I'm out there myself. I am blessed to have two kids who seem to really enjoy their sports and are pretty good at it. I was always a grinder in school - a started but never a star. I think these girls have the potential for far more and it will be an interesting ride to see it play out.

Beginning with the state finals next weekend on center court. Yikes!

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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