As we turned back around to re-enter the hallway, I saw two of my basketball players with their faces pressed up against the glass. It was Sydney and Lizeth, seventh graders who are in their second year of playing for me.I thought they might have needed to ask me a question about practice the next morning or were reminding me that Friday is ALWAYS Capri Sun day for the Lady Wildcats...but those had nothing to do with their presence. No, they reminded me they ALWAYS give me a high five at the end of the day when they pass by and they couldn't leave without it. I'm not sure how long they were standing there but I know I talked to Alejandra for several minutes and I know Sydney and Lizeth have places to be. Yet, they took time to remember our tradition and that is priceless.
I had a high school football coach (Bill Bryson for you FCS guys!) tell me that if a male coach coaches a girls' team and has a good experience, he never wants to go back to coaching boys...and I learned he was exactly right. I love my teams and Lizeth and Sydney are prime examples of why. Last year, as sixth graders, they were the two smallest girls on the team so we deemed them The Smurfs. Sydney, our only left hander, has parents who both are very tall so her days of Smurfdom are probably coming to a close. Lizeth, who was born in Colombia, has the greatest accent ever and may be the most easily lovable person I've ever met, based simply on how others react to her. Both are excellent students, awesome teammates, obedient daughters, and the definition of the kind of players a coach loves to have on his or her team. Their standing at the window last week honored me in a way they probably can't understand at this point in their young lives. I read daily news articles on sports websites and so much of it is negative and heartbreaking. Not in my coaching world. Tomorrow, we'll cover the correct angle of setting screens and moving without the ball. But, we'll also just maybe bring up who is sitting with who at lunch and why I didn't really go back on my word when I bought red NIKES and how Coach Marie, our student coach, is the 11th grade Homecoming attendant! And the fifteen of us will pray and I'll remind them that their folks love them and I love them and ask the Father to bless them. And when the day is in the spent column, I'll give them a high five and return them to their parents. I wish every coach was so blessed.
Applicable quote of the day:
When people ask me now if I miss coaching UCLA basketball games, the national championships, the attention, the trophies, and everything that goes with them, I tell them this: I miss the practices.
*photo by Preston Hill!*
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org