When she started the season, she hadn’t played a single game of basketball, not to mention she was scared out of her mind the first time she touched the ball in her first game. Each game she got a little better. Gained a little confidence.
Every week we worked at home on the the things she wanted extra help in. Free throws. Dribbling. Jumpshots. Being aggressive and winning balls. She was ready and willing to learn and I loved getting some extra time with her playing a sport I really enjoy.
We saw improvement with every single game and before long she got more playing time simply because she knew how to play defense – which at this level is rare.
She started tournament play last week and I’m not sure who was more surprised, her or us, when coach had her starting the game. First play of the game she dribbled down the court and made her jumpshot. That was a confidence builder! Her team played in the championship game Friday night against a team who had already beat them (by a lot) in the regular season.
She started that game and she played two entire quarters without a rest. She was exhausted and she played her heart out. In a nail biter of a game, they lost by three points. It was a hard loss and she instantly looked to blame herself for a number of things she could’ve done better. I poured out my wisdom and shared rule #57 of team sports – a game is not won or lost in a single moment (of missing of shot or otherwise) – it’s won or lost in 4 quarters of playing. And they played a great 4 quarters, they just came up short and that is often the story of sports.
She’s not experienced a team sport before and I’ve come to realize how much you learn in that process. I was a little unsure as to how this experience was going to shake out and I can’t believe how amazing it has been for her. She has gained friends. She has gained confidence and aggressiveness. She had a great season and I’m pretty sure she’ll try out again next year.