Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A New Season

Basketball has begun.  A new season.  Two new teams since both girls aged up onto the 5/6th grade and the 7/8th grade team.  Same coach, thankfully.  I have mixed feelings about basketball this year.  Last year ended with a trip to the ER, a mild concussion, and a sprained neck.   The injury was not caused with malicious intent.  The girl that stopped Grace short, knocking the feet from under her, causing her to topple backwards quickly with no way of catching her fall, did not do this as an act of revenge, or poor sportsmanship.  She was part of the actions that led to my daughter’s injury because she had not been taught to play the game properly.  For that, I blame her coach and ultimately the recreational league on which my girls play.  

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.


Karen said...

I remember how angry you were last year Jess. It is hard when your kids want to do something so badly and you want to facilitate that but your instincts tell you it may not be the best thing. I hope that this year this will be a beautiful, positive experience for you and the girls.

Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations said...

I can empathize with you. It's hard to have our kids play sports and get hurt. :)

Anonymous said...

That is such a shame. I would be very upset that the girl did not say anything, too. As a former teacher and now a librarian, I am sometimes in a position to get kids (other than my own) to act appropriately, which just infuriates me more when I am not in those positions and no one says anything to kids about appropriate behavior.

I think it is so awesome and admirable that Grace doesn't let anything slow her down!

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