This was a tough season. Unlike last year when Grace’s team went undefeated and she scored at least 10 points per game, this year her team’s record was 0 - 8. Through it all Grace smiled. This season taught her some pretty important life lessons.....like:
- how to be a member of a team
- how to lose with grace
- how to support a teammate
- how to be strong in the face of adversity
- how to keep positive when all you want to do is cry.
I am proud of these girls. Unlike Grace, who has played rec ball before and has taken many clinics led by an ex-NBA player, most of these girls have never played basketball before. They were playing on a 5th/6th grade level and several of the opposing teams were comprised of only 6th graders, who were at times a whole head taller and who have played together in both the rec league as well as the Catholic School league for several years. Yet, they stayed strong. Their losses were ugly. The score stopped being kept - that’s how ugly it was at times. But not one girl on her team quit. Not one girl walked off the court and away from the game or the team.
I have issues with how our rec leage is run. The teams are not fair and balanced. They are more like pick up teams, put together by parents and coaches. There is no try out process, or any process for that matter to ensure a fair distribution in age, height, and ability. However, Grace wanted to play and she wanted to learn more about the game. Most importantly, she wanted to do it with the girls she went to school with. Her coach was wonderful. He taught the girls as much as he could in one season. He knew they would be outplayed yet he gave them confidence. He is a person that my daughter will never foget. I love that. Win or lose, she had a positive role model in her life. While winning certainly is nice, sometimes the path that is more difficult is the one we learn the most from.
I watched girls on this team who were frightened of the ball two months ago, become quite adept at guarding. One girl, the smallest on the team, led the team in steals. After being hit in the glasses with the ball, another girl overcame her fear of being hurt. As a parent, your heart aches for your child when they experience loss after loss. I am not an athlete, I do not coach from the sidelines. I will not yell out to put your hands up, or take a shot. It is not me in the game. After playing the mother-daughter game, I have a better appreciation of how hard the game can be! Yes, it would have been nice to win a game.
I hope these girls realize all they did win, even if the score never reflected it.