My fifth- and sixth-grade coed team lost its last game, 15-8, to finish fourth in a four-team league. And I couldn’t be prouder.
A team mostly comprised of kids who had never played in a league, or had ever handled a basketball, proved to me and themselves that when they put their minds to it, they can play great ball and hang with anybody. Unfortunately, they were still learning how to put four good quarters together. They were flat in the first quarter and were down 7-0 — the difference in the game.
Still, I’m thrilled they fought hard to the bitter end, and that they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. At the end-of-season banquet (i.e., pizza in the gym), kids who didn’t know each other two months before were yukking it up like they had been friends for years. Having a part in that is one of the many reasons I keep coaching. Another is when parents thank you and complement you for the job you do. Really, the pleasure is mine, but you can’t help but feel good when parents say nice things to you.
My daughter, now in fourth grade, is interested in having me coach her next year. I hope to see my fifth-graders come back next year.
Next up: being an assistant basketball coach for a seventh- and eighth-grade team in the same park district. My brother-in-law will be the head coach, and my nephew is playing. So is my sixth-grade son. They allowed sixth-graders in to fill out the roster because not enough kids signed up. More on those subjects (junior high opportunities and the economy’s effect on participation) at another time.