Friday, November 21, 2014

Teaching Awesomeness!

This is the shirt I wore at the girls' second pre-season game. I thought my hoodie covered most of it, but evidently the little sock monkeys wanted to watch the game.

The girls did great, much better than last week. They're in third grade, so they are still learning the fundamentals, like which direction to run and how to not throw a temper tantrum if they miss a shot. They seemed to have a greater understanding of what they were doing out there on the court this week than they did last week. I can see them maturing into a great team.

So we'd better hurry and pick a name. I asked the girls to think of a name, email it to me, and then I'd compile a list so we can each have one vote. Katie asked, "What if everybody picks their own name?" I gave her the same answer I give her to most of the questions she raises during this first season I'm coaching: "I don't know. I'll figure it out."

Just before the game started, the girls and I were in a huddle, talking. I'm sure the other coach was instructing his girls on a strategy or something coach-like. I don't know enough about that stuff yet, so I didn't have anything planned to say. After a couple of have-funs and do-your-bests, my girls and I started talking about team names. 

"I like the Racing Rockets!" one girl shouted.

"I like the Tigers!" another girl said.

"I wanna be the Sock Monkeys!" another voice chimed in.

"What? Who said the Sock Monkeys?" I asked.

The girl who said it smiled like she was trying to cover her teeth, but the smile was so big it looked like her lips were about to pop apart. She raised her hand half way up. 

"You?" I asked, pointing at her in a teasing way.

"Yeah!" she said.

"That name's not even on the list. Why do you want our team to be called the Sock Monkeys?" I asked.

She pointed to my shirt.

"Oh, yeah! I almost forgot. The sock monkeys want to wish you girls a good game! Have fun!"

The refs called them out to the court and I took my place on the bench.

Like I said, they did their best. They had fun. We scored a few, the other team scored more. But the girls know I don't pay attention to that kind of stuff. I want to make sure they're having fun, learning how to play the game, and practicing good sportsmanship. Or, sportspersonship, as I like to call it, but only in writing because it's too hard to say.

At one point during the game I was sitting on the bench with the three girls who were resting and getting ready to sub--everyone is guaranteed ten minutes of game play, although you know me and how time challenged I am. I just kinda rotate the girls in and out, ask them if they feel up to playing or if they want to rest, kinda let it flow, call them in when they look tired. It works. 

While I was sitting on the bench with my three resting girls, a player on the other team jogged up close to me, although she was still inbounds, and half shouted/half whispered, "I like your shirt!" 

I blushed and said thank you. It was the highlight of the game in my book.

The lowest point was when Will had to shout at me across all the noise of the parents in the audience, cheering. He saw me still huddled up with my girls, telling them how great they were playing, assigning positions as if they were gonna go in for one more round.


I looked up from the huddle and saw the other team lined up, ready to slap hands, the parents already on the floor with their coats draped over their arms.

"Oh, sorry girls. It looks like we'll have to play again next time! OK, line up to slap hands with the other team!" I said, as if I had any idea what I'm doing.

When it came time for the other team's coach to shake my hand, we smiled and he kinda laughed in a warm way and said, "Good game, Coach."

"Oh yes it was!" I agreed. "It was awesome."