Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen-Basketball Blues

I have coached the same group of boys every winter for several years now. Austin, Luke and DJ I've had since the beginning. Micheal and Brian almost as long. John, Morgan and Corbin started playing for me last year. Alex is new this year. These boys no longer play for me but always play in my heart: Jordan, Aaron, Kevin, Micheal G, Dylan, Nathan, Jake, Calen, Jay and Eric.

Last night we had our very last practice. I cried on the way home. They will be high school freshman next year and too old to play in the league.

We will start my little nephew Andrew in a 3 on 3 league next year. My boys all said they'd come to Andrew's game and cheer for him. They are nice boys.

Here are 13 things that I remember from the last 5 years.

1. DJ - the most remarkable little guy. Has some personal challenges but you'd never know when he shoots. His dad gets just as excited as he does when he scores. My all time favorite kid I've ever coached!

2. Jordan - grew so fast his knees couldn't keep up. This big, talented kid. Very laid back, never got angry, never got too excited. Just played basketball.

3. Aaron - more like me than any kid I've ever coached. Always right, a bit mouthy, very intense, funny. I could get on him about something and he'd crack a smile and we'd both end up laughing.

4. Austin - my dear nephew. He's grown up SO fast. We struggled to get him to shoot with proper technique. He prevailed and his shot has turned into this very quirky, strangely accurate shot that is so him. He has always been his own person and basketball is no exception.

5. Corbin - a point guard in everything he does. He's Austin's best buddy and he 'point guards' his entire life. Kim calls him the social director. He takes the game so personal. Occasionally we get him to relax and not stress so much. He's always surprised how much fun he has.

6. Morgan - I met him initially in Austin's first grade class. Just a genuinely nice kid. He was having trouble with a little double dribbling. Started bringing the ball down the court with his left hand behind his back. Cracked us up! Even the refs were laughing.

7. Kevin - so much fun to coach. Not a basketball star but a kid who'd do anything you asked him, try so hard and when he got it right would grin from ear to ear. I've missed him the last two years.

8. Micheal - very timid little guy. When we were leaving the gym last night I realized that I'd hurt anyone who picked on him. He has three brothers, all are great athletes. Micheal is a good athlete but I always get the feeling he thinks he doesn't measure up. When he get on a hot spell he's quite a shooter. I hope he finds a place in this world where he feels special.

9. Luke - can you say 'bounces off the walls'! Sometimes we could harness the energy and he'd dominate. Often he bounced from one end to the other. Had more steals than anyone. Feisty and infuriating but fun to coach. His grandma is my all time favorite fan!

10. Brian - he has changed sooo much. He's a great little athlete. I hope he finds a sport that suits his easy going personality. He runs hard, jumps high, fights for every lose ball. Great kid!

11. John - I have never seen a kid grow so much in one year. He was a little boy last year. He came back in November a teenager. I hardly recognized him. He had to step up and play some point guard this year when Luke broke his wrist (surprise, surprise). Big jump for him but he has really blossomed. More confident, seems to be having a ball.

12. Alex - never played organized basketball until this year. Best rebounder on the team. Most consistent inside shot and can be deadly from 3 point range. Big smile, never complains, like the energizer bunny, goes and goes and goes. Wish he'd started sooner.

13. Best game memory - 1st year, we were getting killed. Mike was keeping score and he let me know that all the boys except 2 had scored. I called a time out. Told the boys. Dj scored first. Then Kevin need a bucket. I remember Aaron standing right next to him. They'd throw Aaron the ball, he'd hand it to Kevin and Kev would shoot. He got his bucket and you'd have thought we'd won the game. Best, Best memory!

Thanks to all the great parents and fans! Kim, Kenny, Cheryl, Jimmy, Sandy, Bob A, Angie, Bob B, Lezlie, Mark, Stephanie, Jim, Barb, Mike B, Dan, Robin, Stacy, Mike P, Tammy, Luke's Grandma, Brian's Grandma and anyone who's ever cheered for our team.

Go Fire Hawks!!!

1 comment:

thepinkangel said...

That was a great blog! I love working with kids, but sometimes I wish I had more patience and energy for that matter! My daughter can move non stop for hours and hours and hours....

oh to have that energy again.