This is the time of year when I wear a lot of different hats. The other day I was trying to wrap my head around all of them—grade 8 math and science teacher, Rice Raiser organizer, Sunday School coordinator, daughter, sister, wife, and mom, to name a few.
Plus (for a few more weeks, at least) I am one of the grade 6 girls basketball coaches.
I have always enjoyed basketball. It doesn’t hurt to be pretty tall, and it was kind of a family thing for us at Edmonton Christian High, since my brother, two sisters and I played all the way through our junior high and high school years. We were huge Duke fans, and we literally wore out our VHS tapes of the “One Shining Moment” song that they always play on CBS at the end of March Madness. I can always scare my players with stories of the terrible shorts that we wore back then, plus some of my more memorable injuries (not so much my own, but more the ones that I inflicted on other players, like the time I popped an unfortunate girl’s arm out of the socket).
I had my first experience as a coach while my husband and I were teaching in Hungary (lots of crazy memories there, especially since we relied on our Hungarian-speaking point guard to translate for us with the referees and other teams).
I am in my seventh year of coaching the grade 6 girls team here at ACMS. This year has been particularly fun—we have a delightful group of hard-working young ladies, with lots of basketball potential. We have one more game and a tournament left to play, which is somewhat bittersweet, but I feel like we all will come away from our season together having learned some valuable lessons. Here are just a few of them:
- Teammates are important—make sure to support and encourage each other. We had 21 girls on the team this year—that’s a lot of teammates! I have particularly enjoyed having a teammate of my own this year in my co-coach Jenny Brandsma. I’m just glad that I didn’t play against her back in high school…
- Be prepared. Remember your gym strip, and especially your shoes. Sharing them with another player gets a little tricky.
- We all have things to learn—start with the fundamentals and keep at them. Knees bent and hands up on defense, the first thing you do is to find your check, follow your shot, communicate with each other, and don’t try to out re-bound Mrs. Schut!
- Everyone scores on their own basket at least once. Yes, it is horribly embarrassing. But you just have to move on with your life.
- Work hard and be tough. You are supposed to be tired by the end of practice.
- Have fun and celebrate your successes. But get back on defense, and above all, no hugging while you’re in the middle of a game!