One of the neat things about coaching middle school is you get to see the kids grow up for several years after they have moved on to high school. Here is a story from December 15, 2008 about two of my favorites who are now in college!
Not everybody who comes out for my middle school basketball team gets a uniform. My policy is to only suit up twelve girls for games so some of the young ladies only practice. This year it was Mary and Kylie. However, we had our first ever WCS B team game last week so the aforementioned sixth graders got their big breaks. Devin, my high school student assistant, coordinated the outfitting of Kylie and Mary into their game gear. I asked Kylie what number she chose and she excitedly informed me, "I'm #14, Coach, just like Troy Bolton!" Naively, I inquired, "Who?" With a look of sixth grade girl incredulity, she countered with, "Troy Bolton??? High School Musical???" Whoa- that really explained it for me but every female I mentioned the conversation to knew exactly where Kylie was coming from.
On Friday, I was involved in yet another uniform number discussion. This time, it was Kylie and fellow sixth grader, Ruby, who filled me in on their future plans. The dynamic duo informed me that next year, Ruby wants to be #14 and Kylie desires jersey #11. A little digging revealed that they want those numerals to honor the varsity girls who possess them this season. Ruby wants to follow in the steps of Cami Olson and Kylie wants to be the next Jakeveya Mitchell. Now that may mean little to you but Cami and Jakeveya are starters on our Lady Wildcat squad that is not only 24-0 but nationally ranked at #37 in the ESPN poll, a phenomenal feat for a school our size. I've known Kylie and Ruby since they were toddlers; both have parents who work at Westbury Christian. (I almost had Kylie's family naming their only son Coach Hawley Sutton.....but that hit a snag. Kylie and older sister, Marisa, balked.) I've had them on my camp teams at least ten times and I have seen them mature into terrific young ladies. And now, they play for me.
On Friday, I pulled Cami and Jakeveya aside and relayed my conversation with Ruby and Kylie. Both were obviously touched. This morning, the four of them posed together before the start of my practice. Afterwards, as Ruby and Kylie ran to get basketballs to shoot, I told the two big girls that there was now a new kind of pressure on them. To have a much younger child choose to put you on a pedestal requires a life worthy of a pedestal. They understood. Jesus taught the absolute necessity of living a pure life in the presence of children and I reminded Jakeveya and Cami. Being a hero takes you into some uncharted waters but Jesus can provide an unsinkable boat. Someday, Kylie and Ruby may have the chance to navigate those same waters of adulation. They're off to a good start- Cami and Jakeveya are leaving an unmistakable wake to follow.
Applicable quote of the day:
"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org