Monday, April 4, 2011

Love and Basketball

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
  • 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. 


Karen said...

Being raised in a family of athletes [brothers] who made winning the only thing...I love this post.

I love what the girls learned..I love that Grace has the huge smile on her face all the time...I love that you are right, you can learn so much more through losing than winning..winning is easy.

I especially love that not one single girl quit. :)
"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald

H-Mama said...

So hard, but such wonderful life lessons. You sound like me... I'm not a screamer from the sidelines. I usually feel sorry for the kids when their parents yell at them embarrassingly. No pressure, right? ;) I love that not one girl quit. A sign of great coaching and parenting. Grace has such a beautiful smile.

Helena said...

I love this. I love the positive energy that poured out of this post. I love Grace's smile!

Isn't the trying and the not giving up so beautiful? And the learning that happens, and the joy that comes up unexpectedly. I'm so glad they had a coach who supported them. I'm so glad they stuck it out. I'm so glad they found the joy! Thank you so much for these words, Jessica.

Andrea said...

Wow, I have tears in my eyes. How wonderful that none of the girls quit the team, and yes, that smile is beautiful. It seems that these girls may have learned more from losing than they ever would have from winning. What an appreciation they will have of a win, and they all will win something, sometime. This is really such a powerful post, so lovely. Oh, and the coach, so glad that the coach was positive:)

Stephanie said...

She has a beautiful smile...and clearly she's having fun out there. I love your emphasis on life lessons rather than on "winning."

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