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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

My husband has been home sick from work, tonight he was scheduled to be the assistant coach for our daughter's basketball team. I have to tell you my first thought was "Cancel it, we're all skipping practice!" but then I thought better of it. We made a commitment as a family to get our kid to practice and to help coach the team. It was time for me to step out of my comfort zone. I decided to fill in as assistant coach.

A little background; I was a nerd in school. An uncoordinated, clutzy, asthmatic mess. I took a sort of perverse pride in always being the last picked for any team. I went to high school football games to hang out with my friends in the brass section and never watched a single play. Unathletic might be too mild a word for it, perhaps "sports-phobic" might come closer to the mark. However in junior high school I did notice I had a weird sort of gift. On PE days where we had blessed opportunities for "free play" I could join a game of "horse" the only basketball game I liked. One simply had to make baskets and avoid spelling out "H-O-R-S-E" by missing shots. I was brilliant at this. Unlike a real basketball game there was no running, there was no one playing defense on the basket to distract me, there was no confusing a person for being on your team and embarrassingly passing to the opposition. You dribbled in place and took your shot. I was sinking them from all over the key, dribble dribble dribble, shoot, swish. The PE coach noticed me doing this and watched me for a few moments and said, just as I was taking my shot, "You should come out for the girl's JV team." Flustered, my hands slipped, air-ball. The other girl playing with me gleefully hooted "H!" and rebounded the ball. The coach sort of looked pityingly at me and said, "Well, maybe not." So ended my basketball career, I stuck to twirling the jump rope for endless lines of double-dutchers after that.

So tonight I went out in my sneakers and my high performance work out shirt and I coached my little heart out. I know basically nothing about basketball, and I haven;t even held a ball in maybe 15 years. It was very strange. We had the kids running a drill where one would shoot a basket, the other kid would rebound, and the rebound kid would pass to the next kid and that id would take a shot. These kids are only ages 6-8 so as you can imagine there were many, many missed shots, and bad passes that caused the balls to go careering out of bound and towards people on other courts. It was very strange to chase the ball down and bounce pass to the next kid, or to stretch out my hand almost effortlessly and stop the ball from going out of bounds in the first place. I felt all those little incidental muscles getting used and my hand-eye coordination (which had always been pretty good) coming back. It was sort of... fun. And while I may not know much about the game, I do know about kids. We have one little showboat on the team, he is amazingly talented for such a little guy, but he knows he's good. He tries to take his own rebounds and ball-hog and take two shots when you are to take one. I shut him down. I made him pass politely. I made him apologize for calling other players names. Because even to a sports-phobic like me I do know it doesn't really matter how many points you score it is how you play the game.

Dinner tonight? Spaghetti with sausage and vegetable red sauce. Green pepper, onion, celery, garlic, mushrooms and a slug of red wine and we were good to go. Have a good night and sweet hoop dreams!

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