Today is a strange day in our house. M and C wrapped up finals on Friday, so (as I begin this in the morning) both are still in a deep sleep. Hell, C probably finally went to bed somewhere in the 2–3 AM range.

L, on the other hand, has class through Wednesday. So the two of us were up at the normal time.

That feels weird because it’s the first time we’ve had a schedule like this. Last year, of course, both schools were locked down and the girls were e-learning for the final month of the semester. Two years ago I’m 95% sure M’s last day of finals coincided with the last day of the year for St P’s. I picked her up at noon, we went to lunch to celebrate the end of her first semester of high school, then I picked her sisters up an hour or so later.

Not sure L is super happy with how this works out for her. Although she goes back two days after the high schoolers in January, so it evens out.

Seems like finals went well for both high schoolers. M complained about how the finals schedule this year. Instead of having two finals a day for four days, they had three finals the first two days, then two on Friday. So they had pretty normal days those first two days, starting at 9:00 and finishing at 2:30. So told me how that was so unfair compared to the old system. I rolled my eyes and ignored her complaints.

We signed C up for the written portion of driver’s ed on Friday. I’m hoping she gets a lot of work done over the break and can knock out her 30 hours of “class time” quickly. We haven’t got her in a car in the high school parking lot, yet. But that is coming soon.

Two more weeks of basketball in the books for L’s team. They’ve split games each weekend.

Last week they lost game one of the day by five. That was a bummer because they led by six pretty much the entire game. The other team threw a half-court trap at us to start the fourth quarter and we gave up the lead in about four possessions and never got it back.

The true highlight of that game, though, was one of the refs. First, he called the game like a first grade game, stopping to explain every call to the players, giving them visual demonstrations of what they did wrong. This got tedious quick.

Worse, he also enjoyed lecturing the coaches and parents about his calls. If there was any complaining, he would stretch these lectures out for a good 30 seconds, speaking loud enough for all to hear. He was in control of the gym. Or at least giving that appearance.

Example: “Ladies, you can reach as much as you want, but if you displace the player you’re guarding, that’s a foul.” He would wave his arms around to give a visual of how you can reach as he spoke. “Until the offensive player is displaced, it’s a legal defensive play.”

The displacement thing became very important. Both coaches complained that their girls were getting hacked. But, as he said, as long as you don’t displace the girl with the ball, you can hack the hell out of her and he won’t call it.

Sadly it was our coaches who lost their patience the most with him, and there were a couple lengthy, and uncomfortable, “conversations.” The word displacement was thrown around a lot. Eventually even parents were sarcastically yelling “Displacement!” from the stands any time there was contact on the floor. Our assistant coach asked the ref, loudly, if he was proud of himself.

None of that was necessary. Refs can explain calls to coaches during breaks in play, quietly. There’s no need to carry on for everyone in the gym to hear.

Thanks to all his pontificating – plus the other team shooting about 25 free throws – the game took 90 minutes to play. Which is just ridiculous. More so since we played immediately afterward. On the same court. With the same refs. Sigh…

Fortunately we got matched up with a team we had crushed in week one. We crushed them again. L and a girl almost got into it. They ran into each other once and L got the best of it. Then they were fighting for a ball and both refused to back down, even after the refs called a jump ball. This other girl was a little rougher than L, and the second time they tangled a friend of mine said, “I think she is going to look for L after the game and try to kick her ass!” I laughed, but made sure that girl left first just in case!

I think the score not being close and the refs realizing we were starting the game about the time it should have ended forced Mr. Talker to blow his whistle less often. Although one of our coaches yelled “Displacement!” at his partner when she let the defense shove one of our girls without a call.

L’s team is in what is supposed to be in a seventh grade league. The team they played first yesterday had girls that looked like they belonged in high school. And they were good. Really good. We heard after the game they hadn’t lost a game since third grade. It showed. They were better everywhere on the court and smoked us by 30.

Sadly, again, the highlight was our coaches losing it with one of the refs. Our head coach got a warning then two technicals and an ejection for complaining that the other team was grabbing our guards when they tried to run the offense. Which they were. Also the fouls were 8–2 against us in the second half despite our girls being totally checked out while they were getting mauled on the other end. Still, never a good look for a coach to get tossed.

Guess what? Once again we had the same court, same refs for game two. This time our opponents looked like fifth graders. So we beat them by 30. An even-Stephen day. There were no referee issues.

L played ok in all the games. I think she scored six total points last week. She had two in the first game yesterday, then six in the second. Which came despite her barely being able to run thanks to her knee issues. They subbed her out more than they have in any game this season since she could barely walk at times. I was worried about her when she scored the first bucket of the game then immediately went to the bench. But she came back in early in the second quarter, hit a 15-foot jumper, and flexed as she ran up court. OK, then.

She has been frustrated because she’s not scoring much. She was really down after the games last week because two girls who almost never score both dropped 10+ in the second game. The two girls who lead the team in scoring also do it by being very aggressive and taking super-unorthodox shots. One girl just kind of heaves it from her hip, yet she’s probably averaging 10–12 a game. L is always trying to set herself up to take a perfect shot.

I told her as a point guard, it isn’t her primary job to score. She’s supposed to set up others to score. But, I made clear, she turned down some scoring chances. A couple times she had wide-open paths to the bucket that she passed out of. The mom who has coached her for years was sitting beside me and even yelled at her a couple times, “L, what are you doing?!?! Take that shot!”

I added that it’s not being selfish if she has a good, open chance to score and takes it. And, as the best dribbler on the team, she needs to take advantage if she can take two dribbles and get in the lane instead of someone else taking a guarded jumper from the perimeter.

She did better than that in the second game yesterday. Even though that team was awful, I give her credit since she was moving at about half speed. She got to the baseline several times and had three runners spin out. She was aggressive. She made some good passes. I also reminded her that as she gets older, the game changes. Forget her knee issues. At this age, the games aren’t just about being faster down the court than the defense. It’s great when she can get out on the break. But she has to learn to run and play within an offense. Learning to be patient and run the plays how the coach wants them run will pay off one day.