Play by Play

Coaches always say rebounding will win games. If you miss the first shot, crash the boards and try again; square up, use the backboard, and concentrate. Well, that terminology doesn’t only reflect on basketball, but life in general. If you mess up you can rebound your mistakes and try again. Put effort and meaning into your actions and your life.

Since third grade coaches have been drilling into my mind that defense will always be the main key in basketball. I never believed them until now. You can shoot all day long, but if you can’t stop your opponent from shooting then you will never win. I am a junior and I play for the high school basketball team. Basketball has always been a competition for me, competing for the starting position on the varsity team. Until this year I believed that that’s what we’re supposed to be competing for.

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This year I was asked to help coach the seventh and eighth grade girls’ basketball team. I figured it would be fun since I could tell them to run and have any authority over them; but that was not the case at all. When I first came in every single girl knew my name; I had absolutely no clue who they were. I have built bonds with these girls and have gotten to know them like they are my younger sisters. I don’t ever want to discipline them now; I only want to help them become smarter basketball players.

When I was in middle school I watched the older kids and admired how they played and acted. I took what I saw and put it in myself; I tried to do what I saw them do. Now that I look back on that, I wonder if the younger girls look up to me when they see me on the court every Friday and Saturday night. I think about that every time I step on the floor now, like there are a thousand eyes watching me from every direction. Friday night the high school team lost, a lot of the girls on the team had very bad attitudes and threw fits about it. I thought about those kids watching me, I couldn’t let them see me like that, I preach to them that it’s just a game so I need to show them how to take in a loss.

After the first loss the middle school team faced I realized how down on themselves they got. I tried to tell them that it was ok and they always had next week to improve. I asked a friend what I should tell them the next time they face defeat and he told me, “No one is ever defeated unless defeat is accepted as reality” –Jack Norris. When I told the girls that quote they looked at me like I was insane. I know they don’t understand now, but hopefully those words will sink in and they will eventually figure out the true meaning of them. I hope to come back to Calhan High School in three years and see the girls I once coached become amazing high school athletes, I hope to see them using the skills I had taught them, and I hope they remember what I told them.

I hope this piece can inspire those teenage kids who don’t know exactly what kind of person they want to be yet.