As I've mentioned before, we have a basketball practice period built into our schedule so we're still together as a team even though we haven't played a game since late January. You have to be creative when you practice five days a week so I come up with a variety of things to keep the girls' interest while working on what they struggle with. With this group, it's competitiveness. We've done a good number of one/two day tournaments based on any number of skills trying to instill in the young ladies more intensity in the art of strategies which lead to winning on the court. On Friday, we were playing three on three on four full court. As you can see, one team has one more player than the others. I try to get them to exploit mismatches and advantages which are based on numbers or size/experience. If you score, you keep the ball going back the other direction against the team that sat out the previous possession. We played games to six points. You get two points for a basket, obviously, but you can score a point if all of your team blocks out when the opposition shoots. I didn't mention a three point option because we hadn't made a three pointer all year. One of the teams with three players won the first game and the other two teams ran laps based on the number of points by which they lost.
As we settled into the second game, all three teams were struggling to score and time was running out before we had to dress for homeroom and devotional. I announced we would play the final game to only four points. The teams with three players both had two points and the team with four had only one. I yelled, half jokingly, that the white team can win with a three pointer! So with possession of the ball, Sydney-Zoee-Madison-Lizeth used the advantage they had with spacing; it's hard to guard four with three when the four keep fifteen foot gaps from their teammates. The white team swung the ball to Lizeth who was behind the arc. She got the ball in her shooting pocket and let it fly.....and it went in! The white team won! Pandemonium! Here's what's neat. At the beginning of the year, Lizeth, a sixth grader who had never played basketball before, could not come close to getting the ball to the basket and now she hit the winning shot at the end of practice. Here's the other thing that's neat; all the girls celebrated. Not just the girls on the team that won- all of them. As we stacked it up and prayed and grabbed our Capri Suns, a Lady Wildcat Friday tradition, several of the young ladies told me, "Coach, you should write a blog about that!" And I have.
Tomorrow night is our middle school athletic banquet and I get to brag on the girls a little bit in public. The only constraint will be the time- there won't be enough. I told the girls this week that we have only one more week together and then it's all over. The odyssey which began in August will end suddenly and then this team is only a memory, although a terrific one. I wish life always would turn out like Lizeth's shot which sparked a celebration but as adults, we know it won't. There will be heartaches and pain mixed in with the triumphs and successes. I pray for these ten girls every day and that won't stop. I want to see where the Lord will lead them and the lives they will touch as they grow up and sprout wings and leave home. But that's a ways off and I need to enjoy this while the memory is fresh. It was one of those bright, shining moments. I wish you could have been there. I'm still smiling.
Applicable quote of the day:
" If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story. "Orson Welles
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org