I've had a number of teams I really loved coaching. This is about one of them. It's from January 24, 2103.
On Tuesday, we played our last away game of the year. In spite of printed Mapblast directions and my new Magellan GPS system, we still took a wrong turn but arrived in plenty of time. Depleted by grade issues, we traveled with only six girls so we all fit into the Berglund's van which they let me drive. We swapped cars for the afternoon, another blessing of trust which comes from teaching at a Christian school. Lisa Berglund, who runs our WCS Wildcat Store, graciously left us supplied with Capri Suns and trail mix for the twenty-five minute sojourn. After the game in which the other school scored more points than we did, we prepared for the journey back to WCS. Sydney was getting into her mom's van and I heard her pleading, "But Mom, we're playing the Alphabet Game!" , wanting to ride to school with her team. Sydney's mom, a public school administrator, countered with, "I can play it with you," but you know, that's not the same and she let her daughter return with her teammates. We did play the Alphabet Game and the kids sang. Jenna hooked her IPOD up the car stereo and at my request, played the only song I knew, Call Me Maybe, so the coach could sing along at least once. We had a blast and even though we got caught in some Houston rush hour traffic, the time passed too quickly and we pulled back into the school parking lot for the last time this season......and I was nostalgically sad.
Our season ends officially on Monday with the final game, a home contest with our conference rival, The John Cooper School. We'll still be together until the end of school as we have have an athletic period but Monday will be the last middle school hurrah with fans present for eighth graders Roseline and Rachel, my first ever player from China. If we win, we'll end up with a winning record at 8-7, a terrific accomplishment for this group which won zero games last year. But as most coaches will tell you, what lingers in memory is the time you spend together as team. No one watches us practice and they didn't hear Alex today tell the sixth graders to get a ball and dribble with their weak hand while we were running a layup drill in two groups, which was a great coaching point. Since our games tend to be at 4:00 or 4:30, few parents can make it from work so mostly we play without much cheering at away games.... although those that can come are awesomely supportive! It's the tip of the iceberg correlation- most of what happens with a team is hidden from the vision of those who are outside the shell of a squad. So, no one else saw yesterday morning when Lizeth brought the pecan pie she baked for her teammates with one pint of Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream as topping. No one else saw her cut it into ten pieces, one for each Lady Wildcat with their coach getting what remained in the pan and the other kids making a big deal about what a good cook she is. That's the kind of memory that I'll savor when this year ends. I'll forget who we beat and who beat us in short measure.
We're told Jesus said He had eagerly looked forward to sharing His final Passover with The Twelve as the inescapable conclusion to His ministry was unfolding. I have to believe He was grieved to leave this group that had shared so much, both in and out of the public eye. Walking on water, raising the dead, rebukes and revelations- they went through it all together but it would inevitably end and the team of disciples would scatter, at least on this side of eternity. That dozen guys changed the world. My girls simply matured with basketball as a vehicle. The apostles had their loaves and fishes moments; we had our Capri Suns and pecan pie remembrances. My mental scrapbook is about to expand by one chapter. It's a limited edition, available only to one lucky coach and ten wonderful young ladies. My prayer is that some day, they can treasure it as much as I already do. Their lives wrote the narrative.
Applicable quote of the day: