Here we are, the week many of us – a plurality of those who voted four years ago – have been looking forward to for an entire election cycle. And it dawns dominated by a sense of dread. Regardless of the results of tomorrow’s election, I think the US is on a horrible course, one where democracy is constantly subverted by a vocal minority. Where intimidation and voter suppression has become a normal part of one party’s methods for hanging on to political power. Where we are pushed to hate each other more than seeking common threads that can allow us to move forward. Where people who know nothing attack those who have spent their entire lives become experts on a given subject. Where “brands” are more important than belief.
I wish I could say that any of that is going to change in 2021 if/when different people are inaugurated. I fear even if there is change, that is just going to embolden those darker elements and they will spend the next four, eight, however many years continuing to tear our country apart in the name of saving it for their narrow, minority view of what it means to be American.
The US needs a reset button. Neither Trump nor Biden nor anyone else out there has the ability to push it, though.
With that out of the way, I will get into some weekend notes.
It was a HUUUUUUUGE week for one of our girls. Last Wednesday M passed her driving test. Saturday morning we went to the BMV and 30 minutes later she walked out with her driver’s license.
I thought it was somewhat appropriate that she nearly ran a red light on our way to the BMV. I mean, seriously…
Based on most of her recent drives, though, she seems comfortable behind the wheel. She still has plenty of areas for improvement, but has gained a lot of confidence in her months of practice.
She got to drive solo for the first time Sunday afternoon. She is working on Sundays as an assistant to her aunt who is a personal chef. S went to pick her up and was going to have M drop her at St P’s for L’s game, then drive home alone. When S got to the game she told another mom what was going on and that mom said, “Oh God, I’m having a panic attack for you.”
M made the seven minute drive without incident, although she did say it was “weird” to be driving alone. S asked her if she wanted to fill the car up with gas on the way home and she said no. Funny how they want to drive, but don’t want to do all the other things that come along with it.
She’s been bugging us about a car for her for a couple months. It doesn’t help that she has two friends who can’t get their licenses until 2021 but their parents have already bought them cars. Another friend turns 16 today and woke to a new car in the driveway. We’ve been looking a little, and trying to develop a plan. We keep debating whether to get her a used car, or to pass S’ current car down and then one of us starts a new lease. I imagine we’ll get it figured out in the next few weeks.
M is really hoping to be able to drive to school soon. I would enjoy going to a single-school drop-off again. CHS does not usually give out parking passes to sophomores. With the parking lot slightly reduced because of construction tag availability is even more restricted this year. Another friend with a soon-to-be driver asked the principal and was told sophomores can only get passes when there are “extenuating circumstances.” We told M she needs to go into the office and find out what it will take to get a pass, but she keeps putting it off. Again, she wants to drive (and get her own car) but doesn’t seem interested in the work that goes along with that privilege.
Very excited to make the call to insurance later today and see how much our rates go up. Oh well…
We have local nephews who are passing all kinds of fun milestones which reminds us of how those baby/toddler/preschool years with so many of those moments. They sure stretch out when you get to the teen years, but when they come along, they are pretty, pretty, pretty big. And while those childhood markers come fast and furious, they don’t usually change the parent-child relationship that much. But driving is one of the first steps in your child beginning to spread their wings and separate from you.
It is nerve-wracking, for sure. I’m not a big worrier when it comes to my kids. I assume if they are at a friend’s house that the parents are keeping an eye on things and our girls normally make good decisions. But putting a 16-year-old in a car is kind of frightening. You hope that they are being careful, that they are paying attention, but in the end you can just hope for the best and that they make it home safely each time they leave on their own.
All three girls did stuff for the holiday, but only one of them did anything traditional.
M first joined a bunch of friends at the girls state championship soccer game. CHS was playing a team they lost to 1–0 in September. They came up short again, losing 4–3 on penalty kicks after a 0–0 draw through regulation and overtime. After that she went to a friend’s house to watch movies and hang out.
C went to a small, co-ed party. The kids were outside at a bonfire with an adult bonfire nearby to keep everyone in check. I know the parents who hosted are kind of hardasses about some teenage stuff, so I’m assuming the shithead boys in C’s class didn’t try to do anything dumb.
L joined a group of friends to dress up as the crew from the Toy Story movies and trick or treat. She was Buzz Lightyear. She had a great time and got a lot of candy.
S and I celebrated our night alone by getting take out sushi then watching different shows on different screens. How romantic!
We set out a bowl of candy but the only kids we had were the granddaughters of our neighbors who were in town from Maryland.
L’s team went 0–2 last week.
Midweek we played a school that is always really good. Warming up we saw that they were tiny but practiced really well. They ran little plays, hit pull up jumpers, and otherwise appeared like a team that plays together for more than the CYO season.
We were down 12–10 at halftime. That alone was a victory as arguably our best player is out quarantining. We got back a girl who missed our first three games quarantining and she looked utterly lost. She was so nervous she got called for traveling 3–4 times, and she’s normally one of our better ball handlers.
It fell apart in the third quarter. I’m not sure if we scored. We made a little run late but still lost by nine.
Sunday we played a team that features a girl that is nearly six feet tall. Seriously, in sixth grade! We played against her in kickball and she was awful, but we heard they run a bunch of clear out plays for her so she doesn’t have to move very much on the court. Even knowing what was coming didn’t help. She bullied us early and we started the game down 12–0.
It never really got better. They played a zone with her in the middle so even when one of our girls finally made a move to the lane she was there waiting.
And our girls totally lost their minds. We have two inbounds plays, two press break plays, and just one zone offense. We’ve been practicing them for two months. For some reason five of our seven players decided not to run any of those plays correctly. When the other team pressed three girls would run up court and leave L to face three defenders alone. On our baseline inbound play no one broke the correct way. It was maddening.
When we got home I fired up the Google machine to look into easy zone offenses for youth basketball to see if I could find something else for us to run since everyone plays zone.
(Quick aside: zone defenses should not be allowed in youth basketball. They are lazy, they don’t teach the defenders how to play, and they prevent girls from developing offensive skills as the game turns into a bunch of passes on the perimeter until someone turns it over. CYO basketball, especially, which is full of girls who play basketball for a month every year, should ban zones. I also think pressing should not be allowed since most of these teams struggle to get the ball up court under the mildest of pressure.)
Anyway, I checked four different coaching sites and all four suggested the exact offense we run. So I guess it’s on us, the coaches, for not teaching the girls how to make good decisions or follow our instructions.
Luckily for us we get to play this team again in two weeks in the first round of the tournament. Maybe that tall girl will be quarantining. Or maybe our girls will all grow six inches in the next 13 days. And maybe we’ll have all eight of our players for the first time all year.