I saw Lizeth as she was walking into her 8th period class last Wednesday in the room next to mine. Out of the blue, I asked her if she would like to plan our basketball practice the next morning. In a voice you have to know to fully appreciate, Lizeth answered, "YEEESSSSS!!!" And she did. The next morning, I asked Sydney if she would be interested in planning Friday's practice- she was! So the last two practices of last week were planned by two seventh graders who are extremely close to each other and extremely fun to coach. They picked the drills we would run those two sessions which included competitions of the shooting variety and playing. Our scrimmaging usually involves restrictions- two dribble limit, etc.- and scoring guidelines, i.e., a point for an offensive rebound, in addition to baskets made- they selected those rules for the day. I also let them choose the color each 'team' would wear, a bigger deal than you might expect, especially when we go to three or four teams and we have to wear red or gold tops which do not get washed every night! (Here I should explain that our team consists of twelve players, the perfect number for a basketball squad, because it can be divided into two/three/four player groups.) I also let the two determine the method to begin a playing setting, either loose ball or camp jump ball. Lizeth and Sydney did an excellent job, the practices were good ones, and next week all the girls on the Lady Wildcats will be granted a day to organize our workouts.
I mentioned that I was impressed with how Lizeth and Sydney ran the show Thursday and Friday but that does not mean each of them were without an anxious moment, even if no one but me was aware of it. The problem came, and it was internal struggle, when they had to choose our teams. You see, I have a distinct advantage when I pick sides- I don't care. I don't care who wins or loses and I don't care if someone gets their feelings hurt. But Sydney and Lizeth do care- and have to care- because they were part of the teams. As competitors, they wanted to win but they also wanted to be fair and that is a slender tightrope to walk. I really believe they questioned themselves and their own motives because they could not take themselves out of the equation. I talked to them about my brother, Dave, coaching his three children- Zach, Meagan, Ben- in high school tennis and additionally. Meagan in basketball. Tennis is much easier because there are intrasquad matches to determine rankings but basketball is so much more subjective. I would guess it would be extremely difficult to coach your offspring in a sport such as basketball but I know Dave handled the situation with Meagan in a professional and objective way and I know she loved playing for him.
Lizeth and Sydney at an early age ran into an issue that adults know very well. How can we remain objective when we make decisions that affect multiple individuals, including ourselves and our friends and possibly our relatives? Based on our knowledge of the Gospels, although limited and not a day by day account of their interactions, Jesus was apparently closer to some of His apostles than He was to others. Did this play into His assigning who went with who on their mission trips? Did He make them rotate leading devotionals or were some perceived to have greater power to do miracles than their peers? The Savior obviously was accompanied by an inner circle of Peter/James/John on several key moments of His ministry, like the Transfiguration, while the other nine stayed home. But it also seems Jesus did a remarkable job of both praising and chastising the group equally, regardless of their perceived proximity to the Master. Like our team, Jesus was blessed to possess the perfect and highly symbolic number to the Jewish nation, twelve, to work with. Lizeth and Sydney are in good company but now content to return to their much more comfortable roles as players. We'll see how their teammates fare in the upcoming days.
Applicable quote of the day:
Think of new ways to do old things. You must protect against boredom in a practice situation.