I like the ambiguity of that post title.
Am I writing about the Big 12 basketball race? We’re only halfway through the season, but it is looking more likely than it has ever looked that KU’s 11-year title streak is going to end.
Or am I going back a few years and writing about the machine that is Apple and how it seems to be, finally, slowing down a little bit?
Or does it have something to do with the stacks of paperwork I’m going through to deal with my stepdad’s affairs?
Turns out, none of those, although I will share some comments about the Big 12 race/KU next week.
Rather, the title is about my own personal thoughts, and how they got a little bit away from me after L’s first basketball game.
As I shared last week, she had a fantastic first game, scoring 12 points and leading her team to a win. The next week, against a team of all second-graders, both she and her team struggled.
Then this past week we played another team full of second graders. A few of them were quite tall. We hung with them early, and were only down by two points with about 8:00 to play in the first half. Then we ran into an age/size issue. The other team chucked up shots, missed, then grabbed the rebound and tried again. And again. And again. Until they finally made it.
I was on the sideline yelling, “Hands up, girls! Rebound!” The only problem was every girl on the other team was taller than all of my girls. And we hadn’t really talked about defensive rebounding in practice. So the other team had three tall girls standing around the basket playing volleyball until they finally scored while one of my short girls stood in their midst reaching helplessly for the ball while her four teammates stood around the perimeter and watched.
A dose of poor coaching in there, for sure, but it was mostly genetics and birthdates that were the determining factor. Late in the half I looked to the scorers table, where a dad from both teams was sitting, and asked, “Are we tracking offensive rebounds? If so, I don’t want to know the numbers!”
We didn’t score again in the first half and were down by about a dozen points at halftime. The second half was more of the same. Our girls couldn’t get shots off, the other team shot and rebounded until they scored. We ended up getting smoked pretty good, losing by about 30. I didn’t really look at the scoreboard much.
After the game I found out that the other team was not only just second graders, but had already played in three tournaments together as well. So even though about half of them couldn’t dribble, they had a general idea of what to do. They guarded. They ran to spots and then made good passes. A couple times they passed out of wide-open shots because they had been taught to pass to someone closer to the hoop.
L. struggled a little bit. She over-dribbled again. She struggled to get a shot off. I think she only scored four points. Once she had a dead layup but decided to throw a bounce pass across the lane to a teammate that wasn’t open. On the one hand, it was a really good pass. On the other, she made it tougher than it had to be. As I told my assistant after the game, “I felt like being the asshole dad who screams ‘TAKE THE SHOT! DON’T PASS THE BALL!’”
Oh well, this whole year is a learning process for our girls. And for me.
Anyway, after the game I laughed at myself. Following our first game, when we played other first graders, looked really good, and I felt like I had an idea what to do during games, I thought to myself, “Man, we are good! We’re going to win the tournament and we might even get asked to play up in the third grade league when they are short a team!”
Looks like I was wrong about that. I should probably wait until I see every team in the league play before I start crowning a champion.