It was a big week for L.

Last Thursday was St. P’s annual leadership day, where they invite other schools to come in and take a look at several of the leadership programs they run for the students. Last year L got to give a brief speech about her experiences in the program.[1] This year she took a big step up and got to be one of the two student hosts of the sessions. She and an eighth grader helped run the central part of the program for the visiting teachers, administrators, and students. She received a script that we worked on for about a week, so really it was just reading and being comfortable in front of crowds. Still it was another fine entry into her resumé for about eight years from now when she’s applying to all the finest colleges.[2]

M and C were also involved in leadership day in smaller roles, and all three girls got their pictures on the school’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts for their efforts. Big week for our Brand!

Yesterday was also day one of the tournament for L’s basketball team. We have no idea how the brackets were made, as there is no explanation on the league’s web page. But somehow, despite finishing in the top half of the league our first round game was against a team that finished higher than us, and then the winner had to play the third-place team, a team that beat us by 3 two weeks ago. I’ll blame this on Indiana, where you can somehow combine a blind draw with byes for the highest ranked teams.

Game one, our girls played really well. One girl, who is normally a complimentary player, must have been pissed off by something because she had like 20 steals. She was just a terror, running around grabbing the ball from anyone that got close to her. We had a comfortable lead the entire game and ended up winning by eight. L had six points although it took her about 30 shots to get those six. She’s become a bit of a chucker. If she ever learns how to shoot she’s going to be trouble.

We were supposed to have an hour off between games, but that stretched to nearly two hours as the other games were getting backed up. The game before ours, which was a fifth grade game, took literally 25 minutes to play a six-minute quarter between all the fouls, timeouts, breaks to settle down pissed off players, and arguments from coaches. At one point the game had a chance of going to overtime. Our head coach walked over and whispered to me, “If this game goes to OT, we’re forfeiting and leaving.”

Thankfully it didn’t come to that. Although perhaps that would have been a good idea.

All the energy our girls played with in game one was gone. Everyone was walking around, losing their defender, failing to help on defense, not bothering to rebound, and generally looking like we did way back in early December. We knew this team had one play, that we had figured out how to stop two weeks ago, and somehow we just let them run it over-and-over. In the final minutes of the first half we had a couple girls that literally gave up and just stood around and stared at people.

We led 2–0 and then gave up 56-straight points. Or thereabouts. I think it was 19–2 at halftime, although we were all so frustrated that my eyes weren’t working right.

At halftime we completely revamped the lineup, figuring to have any chance we needed to put our best five on the court. We also challenged the girls to score eight points while limiting the other team to none. That almost worked. We started the half on a 6–0 run, the girls were playing D, getting every rebound, and actually setting screens so we could get good shots up.

That was too big a deficit to make up, though. And by playing our best five together, we ended up subbing in another group that should not have been on the court together. To their credit, that five played a lot harder, too, but they just didn’t have the ability to keep the momentum up.

We got the lead under 10 a couple times, but ran out of steam and the other team hit several shots late to stretch it out again. I think the final was 31–18. So we won the second half! L finished with six again, although it could have been eight. Like I said, it was all a little blurry. That other team was just better than us. They knew how to play together, were great at helping on D, out-worked our girls for rebounds and loose balls, and had the best player on the court who was really good. I’m really not sure how we had a lead on them two weeks ago and only lost by nine.

So we’re done with hoops for the year. The girls all got a lot better from when we started practicing in November. No official stats but I’m pretty sure L was the leading scorer for the season. There were lots of frustrations – don’t get me started on how our girls refused to run inbounds plays correctly even though we have one for baseline, one for sideline, and we’ve practiced them every single practice for three-plus months – but they were further along than most of the other teams we played. Of course, we were in a C league. I can’t imagine what the A teams are like at this age. They probably already play like 80 games a year together. Our girls are far too goofy for that kind of commitment. Plus it would get in the way of kickball!

M had a good athletic week, too. Her volleyball team won back-to-back games to even their record for the season. The first match they won easily. The second one was a struggle and went to three games. The team they played probably should have been a B team, but our girls fought hard and pulled out the third game. That one was a bit of a grudge match for our family, as it was held at the parish around the corner where our girls all went to preschool. When we walked into the hallways, M said, “Oh! It smells just the same as it used to!” Apparently the odors in the hallway have not changed in nine years. I suggested it was the scent of urine and tears, which made some of the parents around us laugh.

  1. And you may recall that in the fall of her second grade year she was asked to introduce Sean Covey at a regional conference as part of the same initiative at St. P’s.  ↩
  2. She now wants to go to Purdue to study engineering, then go to Stanford for law school. All while playing soccer at the international level. Which is more ambitious than I ever was, or have ever been.  ↩