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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Basketball...a game of life

Ok. So I'm really tired, so if not all of this makes sense, sorry.

Today was the 7th and 8th grade basketball tournament. We were the fourth seed. It went like this: 1st Green, 2nd Brown, 3rd Orange, 4th Blue (Us), 5th Maroon, and 6th Yellow (dropped out before tourney).

We got picked to play the orange team first game. We played our hearts out. For the first time in four weeks...they played as a team and worked together. We ended up winning by five in overtime. It was a great moment for our kids. They were overly excited. Then came the bad news...we had to play back to back to the best team in the league...green. Our 3 best players were exhausted and rightly so. Yet, we still had a glimmer of hope...

The second game started. For the first five minutes...we played with them. After that, though, it went downhill. The green team is very lazy so, we were trying to push the tempo but our kids were tired and well, a little intimidated by the team (they are much bigger and more athletic and had already beat us in the regular season by fourteen) so we were making a lot of turnovers. By halftime, we were down by around twenty points. Thats when things started getting ugly. Our kids are not known for keeping their cool. The week before they had almost gotten in a fist fight...with themselves. When we start losing, they lose their heads and catch an attitude quick. So, after two technicals, I took the two players causing the most trouble and sat 'em on the bench. I also pulled our three girls aside (yes we were the only team with any girls...much less three...and let me tell you, one of them could beat almost any guy out there) and told them that it didn't matter how all these boys were acting, they need to keep playing their game. So, I left those three in, one other boy (the only one who kept a good attitude the whole game...and the whole season for that matter) and our best player (who had gotten a technical but had calmed down and decided to play for real). And the others....well, I wasn't going to put them back in.

All this time tho, the ref had told me...if we get one more tech, the game was going to be called. So, me and our other coach were trying to coach while at the same time, holding back the kids on the bench. They were causing quite the ruckus. It didn't work so well. One of the boys (who already had one technical) wanted to go back in and was just making a huge spectacle of himself and grabbed his clothes...walked out onto the middle of the court (while the game was going on) and started dancing. Yes...dancing. Of course, a technical was called...the game was over (I was a little thankful too).

We ended up losing by almost forty points. Definitely not a way we wanted to end the season, but the thing is...basketball is so much more than winning and losing...much more than a sport. It is a life teaching tool. After the game...I sat all the players down (except for the one 'dancer' ha) and told them that I wasn't worried about their talent at all. Every single one of our players has the athleticism and talent to play at the next level. But, I told them none of them were ever going to make it very far because of their attitudes. It's not how you play or respond when everything is going good...it's how you respond and act when your backs are against the wall or when you're losing. Life isn't always going to be easy...you aren't always going to win at everything...they have to figure out how to lose without losing their cool. They have to understand that you have to push through when you are down and out.

See. To me, coaching is much more about these kids learning how to become young men and women than about basketball. Yeah, I'd love to see Shamesha make it all the way to college level, cuz she sure as heck is an amazing ball player right now. But, I'd rather her become a woman of integrity...and someone who makes something of herself. And, yes I'd love to see Cornelius and Kyree become the next Michael Beasly and Chris Douglas-Roberts...but I'd rather them become Godly men and the next "Dr. Kyree" and "CEO Cornelius".

Breakthrough basketball is much more than a sports league. It's a safe haven for kids to come and have fun and be surrounded by coaches and BT staff who care about them. It's a place to keep them off the streets and involved in something productive. And it's a place they can learn about life...and learn that it's losing not winning that really shows who you are.

I love it. I was blessed to be a part of this league. I have learned so much about coaching and about teenagers(lol) in one season. It's been quite a ride, but I wouldn't have changed it for the world. And...we ended up getting 3rd place in the tournament...not exactly what we wanted...but...we've always got next year! ;)


God bless you all!

3 comments:

meG said...

wow... just came across your blog...


can i just say that what you are doing with your life is beautiful... how challenging it must be yet how freaking awesome..

homegirl, that is definitely what christ calls his children to do... to be with the broken, to live life with them and straight up love people. i wish more people, especially christians, had your passion.

ive always had a desire for inner-city ministry.. i would love to hear how you got involved in all that.



keep up His kingdom work sister.

meG said...

oh and..

do you know about Tha House? its a hip-hop church in chicago...


fyi.

meG said...

Hey shasta, this is really incredible...

i would love to hear more about this.. cuz this is something i definitely wanna look into.

if its not too much trouble, my email is megstricko@yahoo.com if you get the chance to shoot me an email.. or if you want to give me your address... cuz like i say, i'd love to get more info on this ministry. This is so awesome.


thanks,
meg.