Two weeks have now passed since my time as coach of the Ruth Pawson Girls’ Basketball team has come to an end. The playoffs are done, windup has happened, I took my bowling beat-down at the hands of my 13-year-old girls like a champ, and now the gym is closed.
I have to admit, I’ve been a little lost this week with not having any practices or games. Granted, not having to wake up for 8:00 a.m. practices is a pretty great feeling. Now that I am done with my coaching career is done for now – as there are no Spring sports taking place at the school – I am finding myself reflecting on what I enjoyed most as a coach.
Without a doubt, the greatest and most rewarding experience of my internship and beyond has been my involvement with coaching. Of all the subjects that I teach, Phys Ed is my greatest passion. This passion easily translates to the court or field in a coaching capacity. This is why I decided to return to my school in my personal time to work with the students on my team for the past four months.
But what is so great about getting up before the sun rises to work with a bunch of pre-teens for 30 minutes, three times a week?
There were many positives that happened over the course of the basketball season: my girls were undefeated in the regular season, we finished in first place going into playoffs (the same accomplishment was made in our volleyball season), and we won the Feeder School tournament at Thom Collegiate to begin the season (shown below). All of these were great achievements, they are not the greatest takeaways that I had from my time as a coach.
Although we were able to enter our playoffs with a perfect record of 6-0 (10-0 counting the Thom tournament), we were unable to deliver in our first round of playoffs. While many would see this as a bad thing – which it is, don’t get me wrong – I saw it as one of the most rewarding experiences. For many of the girls, this loss was a very emotional experience. This would be the last time that they’d be able to play on a team for their elementary school. These girls put hours and hours of work into practices and games to have it all end after this one game. Seeing this outpouring of emotion is what stood out to me most during my time as a coach.
Seeing the amount of emotion that came over these girls after losing the game showed to me that the amount of effort that I put into developing them as athletes paid off. From the start of tryouts to the final game, I saw an amazing amount of skill development from all the girls in their own ways. They always held their heads high and carried themselves very well. Especially at the Basketball Beat Tournament, after losing our first game we were able to just have fun and not worry about being competitive. It was a perfect way to end the season!
For all I care, we could have gone without a win during the season and I would be just as proud. The growth and commitment shown was enough of a reward for me to make it all worth it!
Now if only there was a Spring Bowling Season so I could redeem myself after the poor showing I had at the windup…