I walked away from last season shaken, and angry. Neither the opposing team’s coach nor the girl involved ever came across the court to check of Grace, to offer apologies, to accept responsibility or at least to ask “are your okay?”. That left a very bad taste in my mouth. I wish my girls no longer wanted to play. But they do.
This is not our first brush with injury. Grace skated for years. She fell many times, sometimes hard. She snowboards and has sprained her wrists. While skim boarding at the beach she damaged her Achilles tendon. While playing basketball with our neighbor, she badly sprained her ankle. Fooling around in her bedroom resulted in two staples in her head. The staples came a day before an important skating practice. She threw on a bike helmet and skated with her injury. Nothing has ever held her back. Well.....the sprained ankle held her back. Crutches for three weeks is a bit of a deal breaker but she healed in time for basketball season of 2012.
I don’t want to hold them back from sports. I just want to hold them back from this league. Our town does not have middle school sports. We could look at joining another town’s rec league but that involves travel and practice times that conflict with our schedule. Plus they love their coach and I have to admit, he is fair, honest, a great sport, and teaches the girls to play well. I guess in any league there will be good coaches and bad ones. I would rather stay with a good coach I know than risk leaving for a coach I don’t know.
It is going to be an interesting season. There are things my girls have to work out. Team dynamics are different and they must find their place on their new team. The first practice was not great but I have a feeling it will get better once the jockeying for the position of team leader dies down. It is fascinating to watch. I don’t know this group of girls. I do know from watching the team practice for just a short time who is the leader and that she is struggling to retain her position. I know who the followers are. I know who is most talented and who is jealous of that talent. So many dynamics among 12 and 13 year old girls. It is both fascinating and infuriating. Just play the game. This is not about popularity. Leave that for the school hallways.
I am not the right parent for this. I believe in individual sports, where the accomplishment is earned based on a cause and effect relationship. The amount of work in = the outcome. Miss a landing on a toe-loop jump? You are not going to score well. Your outcome is not determined by the performance of someone else. Team sports frustrate me because there are so many variables such as referee performance, coaching decisions, team dynamics, skill levels, etc. I sit back and I watch and I keep my opinions to myself.
I will shuttle the girls to and from practice. I will run baths to soak their sore muscles. I will hold my breath as they navigate their way through establishing themselves among a group of girls they don’t know. I will look for the positives, what they learn, how they mature, how they grow with every practice, every game. And when Grace jumps for that rebound, I will pray that she lands safely on two feet.