This was a weekend of sports endings and beginnings. And waitings, too, I guess.

C wrapped up her cross country season with the annual City championship meet. Once again it was hot and humid for the biggest meet of the year, which is always an afternoon meet to avoid high school sectionals. I will give her this: she might fuss and worry about the conditions on hot days, but she almost always powers through where other kids wilt.

Again, for the fourth-straight year, she ran her fastest time of the year at this meet. For the third-straight year, it was good enough to get on the awards podium. For the second-straight year, she claimed 16th place, this time out of 114 runners. That’s a lot of streaks!

I was actually worried about her before the race. She ran decent times all year, and placed in every event for the second-straight season, but it also felt like she plateaued a little this year. As nice as that consistency was, she never busted out that really fast run like she had done in the past. On several race days, she showed signs of nerves and discomfort before her run. So, Saturday, I really had no expectations for her to do well. I figured it was hot, she seemed off in the morning again, and there was a huge field to run against. I was just hoping she broke 14 minutes for the first time all year.

She ran a really solid race. She was in the medal group the entire, and improved her position steadily. She passed a girl in the closing stretch to bump up to 16th, which was a nice way to finish the year. Her time of 13:47 was her third fastest ever. Ironically, or strangely, she still hasn’t come close to the ridiculous 13:13 she ran as a fourth grader when she finished 6th at the City meet. Last year’s City time was 13:24. That course brings out the best in her, although she seems to be getting slower on it.

Anyway, it was a good ending to a strange year. We had two meets washed out by storms. Two other meets were in brutal heat. Kickball kept her from practicing more than once a week most of the season. But her five runs earned her 9th, 19th, 5th, 10th, and 16th place finishes.

CYO does not mess around. The day after cross country ended, girls basketball began.[1] Yes, CYO girls basketball is a fall sport for some reason. I have really never understood why. Volleyball is their winter sport, but the boys’ volleyball and basketball seasons run in parallel in the winter.[2] Weird.

Yesterday was L’s first ever CYO basketball game. She has a huge team – 11 players – so their coach decided to run them out in waves, subbing every three minutes. That worked out pretty well yesterday. They got off to a 24–0 start, which I think is pretty good. It was 26–1 at halftime. Apparently he told them to stop stealing and pass five times before shooting in the second half, so the final was only 30–4. Soft…

L had a decent game. She had a bunch of steals. She had a couple assists. But she missed at least 853 layups. She was back into her old habit of going too damn fast and chucking the ball off the backboard so hard it has no chance to go in.

Her highlights, though, were destroying people off the dribble. She was blowing by people on the perimeter. She had a crazy crossover that damn near made the girl guarding her fall over. And she, somehow, went between her legs and left a defender in the dust. The best part of that was they were playing a school that is from a little more urban part of the city: their roster was about three-quarters black girls. When L was juking people, there were several “WHOOOO!!!”s and “DANG!”s from our opponents cheering section. L noticed. After the game she said, “I heard people saying ‘WOW!’ when I went between my legs!”

As I was congratulating her coach following the game – he and I coached this group together last year – he said something, jokingly, about was she ever going to hit a layup. She quickly had an answer, “See, dad, you need to get me a basketball goal!” Our new driveway isn’t ideal for a hoop so we’ve done our best to put that purchase off. Later she asked me if it was ok for her to dribble between her legs during games. I told her as long as it helps her make a basketball move that is necessary, sure. I have a feeling it was kind of an accident yesterday and now she’s going to try it again and start turning the ball over.

Oh, and the game was the general chaos you would expect. You could tell our girls have all been playing together for three years. The other team…well, I’m not sure any of those girls had played an organized game before. There was a lot of grabbing the ball and walking, uncertainty about how to inbound the ball, and so on. I told L after the game not to expect other teams to struggle as much as Sunday’s opponents did.

As for the waiting, Sunday worked out better for us than we had expected. L was also supposed to have a soccer game, which was to begin one hour after basketball. Our plan was to play basketball as long as we could, then run over to the soccer field. Fortunately, the soccer team was going to be missing three girls because of fall breaks, so we decided to forfeit that game.[3] We figured playing at least one girl down – and perhaps more if someone else didn’t show up – and then with two girls coming from basketball was going to make soccer ugly. Especially in the heat. Sadly we may have to forfeit next weekend, too, as we know three girls will be on fall break.[4] That’s kind of a bummer. There’s supposed to be a tournament at the end of the season, but we don’t know any details about that. I’m hoping we get to play at least one more game with this group of girls.

  1. Although some of the older girls had preseason tournaments last week.  ↩
  2. Along with wrestling.  ↩
  3. Seriously, fall breaks suck.  ↩
  4. Fucking fall breaks…  ↩