Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Let the Games Begin (Part One)

Photo: Future WNBA contenda

Last Friday we began our time as “Court Side Seat Holders” for our daughter’s introduction to the world of basketball games. These seats were no biggie because, really, all the folding chairs were beside the court. But we held ours will great enthusiasm and cheer, which you know from previous ranting, is a stretch for me when it comes to basketball. I'd rather stay home and wash the neighbor's cat than watch basketball. It would probably be less painful...

What we do for our children...

To start the night off in spectacular fun and fame, the church-led sports program announced each of the players and had them run through a tunnel to join the refs in the middle of a darkened court amid the roving spotlights . The girls felt like NBA stars already. Then they had each team go to their half court, had them kneel for a pep talk by the ref, and then they said a prayer to start the game off right.

The program was set up rather uniquely. Each player was allowed the same amount of playing time, six minutes at a time with two 18 minute halves. No scores were kept since the idea of the night was to get them use to playing as teams. When a player did make a basket, all parents/observers were encouraged to cheer, no matter which team made the score. And when a foul was made, the refs stopped the game, gathered everyone together and explained what went wrong. Then they gave the ball back to the player who last had the ball and let them try the play again. It was quite the learning experience for all the players.

My daughter played her first basketball game ever. She had such a fun time! She was pumped about cheering on her teammates, and when her time came to take the court, she was excited (and nervous) about being out where everyone could see her. She’s such a passive person, that it was hard for her to grasp that it was okay to try to steal the ball. Also she has such a giving heart that she just politely let the others go before her in everything.

To the girl guarding her: “Oh am I in your way? Sorry. After you.”

To the opponent with the ball: “Here, you dropped this.” (Hands ball back to her.)

To her teammates: “No. No. You can have the ball this time. I’ll just wait for you over here.”

Okay, it wasn’t that bad. But she later got a review of the object of playing the game from her dad. (After all, he actually has played the game, so any advice should come from him.)

Not that I kept quiet during the game. Oh, no. I am quite the sideline coach.

“Guard your person!”
“Get the ball!”
“Put your hands up!”
“Break free so that you can get the ball.”

Mr. Right looked directly at me and advised that I shut up and let her enjoy the game.

Photo: Look at that smile... Okay, maybe I can handle this BB thing after all.

So, being that he was the advice-giver this time, I took it. And she did enjoy the game. So did I, even if I left with teeth marks on my tongue.

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