Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Last Four Months

The horn sounded for the final time. Another basketball season has come to an end. It is a strange feeling of sadness and relief. Had you asked me four months ago when it all began, I would have told you I couldn't wait for it to end. But last night as I sent my girls home for the last time, I wish we had more time.

In the fall I received an email asking if I would coach the girls JV basketball team at CCHS because my sister didn't have the time this season. I prayed about it for a week or so and, needless to say, my answer was yes. I've been an assistant coach for softball and basketball before, but never have I shouldered sole responsibility for a team. This was a new experience and I was quite nervous. My nerves were not settled by the team's lack of commitment in November. After a practice where only two of my fourteen girls showed, I sat in my car completely discouraged and on the verge of tears. Enter December and the contracts. Once each girl signed a commitment contract, knowing absences would effect their grade and playing time, they all began to show up to practice.

After that, the daily lesson of patience really kicked in. I was one coach to fourteen girls, fourteen different personalities, who didn't all get along with each other. Last season there were two of us to nine girls, so this was quite an adjustment. If not for the grace of God, I'm not sure I could have survived it. Don't believe me? Feel free to ask any of my girls. I'm sure even the varsity players could vouch for me on this. However, I did survive and there were no more tears, maybe some frustrations, but it seemed no matter how upset I was one of them would always crack me up and that was the end of it. That is the stuff I'll miss: the endless laughter, the dancing during warm-ups (even when I told them to stop), the air ball push ups, the "Bacon" shooting competitions, and, of course, ultimate lightning. I would be remiss if I didn't tell you we finished league 5-5. Last season we never won a game, didn't even come close. There is nothing like the excitement of my girls after a win.

The winning meant nothing, though, without the attitude. I can't tell you what a blessing it has been to watch these girls grow up in the last four months. Even in the worst of losses, they never quit. They played with heart and heads held high from tip off to final buzzer. That is what makes me most proud to be their coach. There was nothing more I could ask of them then to give their best. Such willing hearts. I learned from them every day we were together and I hope in return they learned from me.

In the beginning I longed for the end, but now I want more time. I will forever be grateful for the impact that fourteen goofy girls had on my life. I don't know what the Lord's plan is for next season, but if I never coach again I think I can say this was a great ending.