Since Part I, my basketball team has gone to 4-1 on the season . Our first game was a bit rocky, but the good thing about having a bad game is there's always something to talk about/work on for the next practice.
I've always had a great appreciation for teachers, but after coaching (and working with children) my appreciation has grown even more. It's always amazing to watch someone learn, but it's even better knowing that you actually contributed to their growth. We had our practice and prepared for the next game.
Game 2 was a nail-biter we won in the very last seconds. It was very close from start to finish but it was awesome seeing my players execute and do the things we actually taught them in practice. Getting that first win felt good though. Really good. I told the kids to remember that feeling because we don't want it to go away. Game 2 came just before Christmas so we had a long break before our next game. I was worried the long layoff would make my team very rusty and our first practice back was very unfocused and lax. Luckily, that wore off before game 3. We faced a team that I could tell we were better than. However, I knew if we didn't come out and play like we should, we'd lose.
We came out and played like we should. We won the game by 20-ish points and just about every player scored. I won't bore you with my raving of how well my team played, but just know that I cried imaginary tears of joy watching them blow out that team. So glad all of the work and things said by coaches didn't fall on deaf ears.
I could tell now that my team is starting to play and think like a team. They're starting to trust in each other and counting on others to do their job. I get giddy just thinking about how good they could be! I also see why coaches get so excited about their team.
I actually missed our next week of practice due to puking my brains out. Then I missed that week's game helping Reuben move in down in Georgia. But, we still won the game because my players BALL SO HARD!
Our last game was another nail-biter. We were tied for second place and facing the top ranked, undefeated team. Upon first look, they didn't impress me. Actually, upon many looks, they didn't impress me. Once the game started, I could tell they had 1 good player. He's really good too, but the rest of the team was too weak for them to be undefeated. It was time to change that.
We started the game so flat. It was very frustrating PLUS the refs had quick whistles which is always annoying. Despite all of that, we were still able to jump out to a 13-3 lead before foul trouble started getting to us. I had to sit our best/core players for the majority of the first half, and that's when our opponents began to come back on us. We couldn't buy a basket for about 8-10 minutes of the game. Halftime FINALLY came (with us down by 2) and it gave us a chance to re-group. I had a lot of talking points for them but the main one was that we weren't going to let one guy beat us. We had to pick up our defense since our offense was struggling. We switched up the defense and it worked. Everyone came out with better energy and we were back to our usual selves. We grew a quick lead and were able to hold on in the end. The best part of the night was the over-bearing parent on the sideline arguing with the ref because his son's team couldn't stop us. I hope I don't become that parent in the future.
The team is heading in the right direction and I'm really glad I'm along for the ride. We're now tied for first place (I like the view from the top) and it feels great. I recently found out that my age-group doesn't get trophies in the end. I'm not necessarily upset they won't get a trophy in a rec league because, in my opinion, they're definitely old enough to understand winning and losing (they keep score for a reason). However, this news has cranked up my desire to win. If we're not going to automatically get some hardware, well then we need to make sure they HAVE to give us our prize.
I'm definitely excited for the last part of the season. We've got 2 games left until the post season tournament and it'd be nice to go into the big dance as the #1 seed. There isn't much more left to the season, so I'll do my best to keep everyone posted on how we finish!