Saturday, January 16, 2016


Last year Will decided he wanted to play basketball.  He had never shown any interest in a sport before and we didn't even own a basketball.  I already wrote about how bad the try-outs went.  When I say try-outs, it's not really try-outs.  Basically everyone goes and does drills while all the coaches watch and take notes and then later they have a meeting and fight over who they want on their team.  Will was awkward and really bad.  He was easily the worst player.  He cried to me after saying, "I knew I was bad but didn't realize I was that bad."  His coach was a jerk.  His team was pretty horrible.  The kids threw fits in the game and would sit on the court during the game crying.  Parents yanked kids off the court during the games because they felt their kids weren't getting passed the ball enough and the coach even got kicked out of the game.  Everyone pretty much just viewed Will with obvious pity last year.  Everyone liked Will (except the coach, I'm not sure he liked anyone) but you could tell they all felt really bad for him.  Through it all, Will had an amazing attitude.  He was always happy and known on the team for being the kid who would still be smiling at the end of the game.  I wasn't sure what Will would decide to do this year but in late summer he told me he thought he'd like to play again.  

This time I decided that if he was going to play, we were going to help him be a little more prepared.  We started doing drills and playing together and going for runs and just trying to get into better shape in general.  I could see huge improvements already by the time the season started in November.  Isaac and Eli decided to play this year too.  Last year Isaac played on a different team and he had a very different experience than Will.  His team was awesome and his coach was amazing.  Isaac is already more athletic than Will so he wasn't good, but he really didn't stand out as bad either.  Eli didn't play last year.  

Already, this year has been better.  At try-outs none of the boys stood out as awesome.  In fact, they didn't really stand out at all.  They just seemed right in the middle of the pack.  We were able to get both Isaac and Will on the same team this year and Eli is in a younger league.  Eli's coach is awesome.  I can't say enough good things about him.  He is energetic and fun and I've never seen him yell or get angry at any of the kids.  The team isn't awesome but they aren't bad.  They have some good players on the team but as a team together they seem average.  They win about 50% of the time.  This is Eli's first year playing and he has really picked it up quickly.  He is quick and a fair dribbler. He mostly plays wingman but also plays point guard sometimes.  He seems to improve every week.

Isaac has also improved.  He wasn't a bad player last year but he didn't really know how to play and he was timid and had some great players on his team so he didn't do much on the team last year.  Isaac is tall for his age and a good defender.  He is also really quick and switches from wingman to point guard.  Isaac is determined to be a good shooter so he regularly goes outside just to shoot hoops.  

Will, being the least athletic, has probably made the most notable improvement.  Of the three, he is probably the most determined to become better and also, he has the furthest to go.  Will is not fast like his brothers.  He gets tired quickly.  He has an inhaler but I'm not sure the inhaler does much good for him.  He doesn't like to run and his sprint is like a jog for his brothers.  Will, however, is very tall and he has a wonderful attitude.  He takes criticism really well and therefore, he is always willing to take what his coach says and try to improve.  He is more aggressive this year and really getting into the game.  Last year he couldn't even catch a pass and this year he rarely misses a pass and is confident enough to try and make a basket.  

The boys have shown incredible determination this year.  Mike has been getting up with them at 6:30 in the morning to go to the church to practice.  Eli is the least interested in going.  He stays home every couple of days and sometimes Isaac will stay home when he is extra tired but Will is always up and ready to go.  The boys have bundled up and gone out to play with me or stayed up late to practice drills.  Will has a goal to be quicker so he has started to run with me.  

We have practices three times a week (one for Eli and two for the other two) and then games every Saturday.  November to February is busy running the kids to their practices and games but I have really enjoyed watching them this year.  A couple of weeks ago a parent of one of Will's teammates from last year came up to us and said, "What happened to Will?  He isn't even the same kid.  He has made huge improvements!"  

Today, Will and Isaac had to play against a really good team from a different league.  The majority of their players were taller than our tallest player.  They schooled us.  Will hurt his finger during the game and after the game he started to cry.  He was pretty disappointed and his finger hurt something fierce.  It is swollen and slightly bruised tonight.  I wonder if it is broken.  I wish I had a video of the boys playing last year and one of them playing this year so that they could see how far they have come.  I know they wish they were better but I couldn't be more proud of them.  I wish I had the same determination to become better at something as they have shown.  


The Duke said...

What a great report on the boys progress. I hope they continue to play as long as it brings them satisfaction and joy. I proud of them, too. Keep up the good work!

Jen said...

What great kids you have!