Surprise! I actually have something to talk about besides the Celtic Thunder concert! My brother, (who, incidentally, is in Iraq and has just been awarded the Bronze Star, which, apparently, they pass out like party favors over there - NOT - he's just trying to make it seem like less of a big deal), has been getting updates from his wife about his daughter's basketball career. So I had to send him an update about both of my daughters and their careers. So I thought I'd rehash it here, since it's fresh in my mind.
Alex is a starter on her middle school varsity team. While her team is not very good (I think it's safe to say they are probably in the bottom four in the league - we'll see tonight - could be bottom three), they have been steadily improving. My sister in Montana discovered that there is going to be a basketball clinic in Kalispell the day after we get there, run by the people who run the NBC camps, which if you count among your successes a pair of sisters who now play for Gonzaga and Tennessee, who faithfully attended the NBC camps, I'd say your track record is pretty decent. I was so excited to let Alex know the good news - she could attend the clinic in Kalispell! Great news. Except, no. What she said was, (and I quote, which is easy for me, being that I am a VERBATIM court reporter) "You mean I have to play basketball during my break?" That got me to thinking.
You know, if there's one thing that should be easy to teach your kids, it's about regrets. I will always regret that I quit playing basketball (especially since I was actually really good, second high point next to Mary Ann Andrews, who, let's face it, nobody could touch) in the 8th grade to try out for - wait for it - THE DRILL TEAM. HELLO. Where were my parents? And I didn't even make the drill team, thankfully. I'm sure I'd be wanting to kill myself had I MADE it. My family sort of went the opposite way that a lot of families do, I think. I was the first child, and my parents didn't have a clue what I was up to most of the time. I'll never forget when I was a senior and I brought home my grades and my mom said, "You're taking Calculus?" See, back then, there were only probably two classes of 10 my senior year that took calculus. It was kind of a big deal. I was an adequate student and a fairly responsible kid, so it really wasn't a big deal that my parents didn't take a bigger interest in what I was up to. By the time my sister came along, my mom knew what homework was due when and when all the quizzes and tests were.
But I digress. I will always regret that I quit playing basketball, and I wish there were a way to stress how cool it would be to be really, really good at it.
Samantha's team, I'm afraid, is not going to be very good at all. While she is probably the second best player on the team, she's a sensitive little girl. This is a co-ed league. And while I appreciate that we get really good coaches who teach kids not to travel and to dribble, there is always a thug on the teams we are playing who learns he can just grab the ball and run. Then there is usually also one boy on the other team (ours included) who has some skills and can run fast, dribble and makes most of his shots. But watching Samantha during practice, they will have her bring the ball down the floor. She will get about ten feet from half court and pass the ball off to the other kid. It's like she doesn't want the ball when they get past half court where all the other kids are.
In a way, I think it will be easier for Samantha to end up being really good at most everything Alex does. Alex is pretty good at the sports she participates in, and Samantha gets dragged along to watch. So she sees that it is cool that Alex is good. I just wish Alex wanted to be better. But I guess that's something she'll have to teach her kids someday, which they probably won't listen to either.