A Change in Schedule

We’ve usually used this space to update everyone on what’s happened lately, so it seems appropriate to touch on this topic: my basketball coaching.

Coaching Karen's team when she was in 5th grade?

Coaching Karen’s team when she was in 5th grade?

I’ve coached at many different levels since I started this journey in 1990. (Really?!? Almost 25 years ago? Yikes.) I started as Lawson Yoder’s junior varsity assistant back then. I’ve coached varsity basketball at the high school level for a number of years. JV as an assistant for two years, and head coach for one. Middle school teams for three years (had a player go on to a college scholarship from that bunch). I’ve coached K-2nd teams, when you’re just happy when they sit relatively still and listen when you blow the whistle at practice. We would celebrate every time a player scored at that level. I’ve also coached 3rd-5th teams- with Anisa and Karen and their classmates. We took our lumps many of these years, and had some standout years, too. I had a JV team here at Rosslyn that annihilated everyone by more than 12 points. One of those 3rd-5th teams went undefeated, too. We once won a game 50-0, even though I did everything in my power to help the other team. And we lost a game 71-7, when I just worked to keep my more emotional players calm all game long.

The constant throughout the seasons, though, is that I’ve tried hard to stress the process instead of the outcome. Most teams do not win championships, but every team can improve as the season goes on. That’s the best way to judge a team, in my opinion- did they get better as the season went on? Because every season can be a success using that metric, whether the team finished 20-0 or 0-20.

We returned to Kenya in 2011, with the understanding that I would coach three seasons in

Sometimes I can get worked up

Sometimes I can get worked up

our first year back, and then two each year from then on. So for three years, I’ve coached both the boy’s and girl’s varsity teams, with volleyball thrown in there in 2011 (Ugh. Talk about a fish out of water! Thank goodness a student teacher with volleyball experience helped me out that year!).

As the years have moved on, though, it has become more and more clear that I can not continue to coach both teams. I don’t mean to insinuate that coaches of other sports don’t have it rough, but basketball seems to be one of the worst, in terms of pressure and quick decision-making. A basketball game means hundreds and hundreds of quick decisions- who should play, when should players be subbed out, which defenses to use, how to attack the other team, how to address the referees… it goes on and on, all game long, all season long.

Anyway. All this to say that starting next school year, I will be coaching “only” the girls varsity team: I have resigned from the boy’s varsity position. I’m leaving the team with the cupboard full, though, after I inherited an empty cupboard three years ago. I honestly believe that Rosslyn can win the league title next year with the players coming back.

"You go there, and you go there, and then do this!"

“You go there, and you go there, and then do this!”

I’m going to use the extra time to, hopefully, write and read more, and also watch Anisa and Karen play soccer. I’ve seen less than ten soccer events over the last three years, and watching my daughters play has always been a huge joy in my life. I also hope that my health can improve a bit with less stress in my life. (Although, really, I can feel stress when there isn’t any…)

So that’s the news for this week. Check in next week to read about the Leonards in Nairobi, where the sun always shines, the traffic is always insane, and where we are inching along towards “summer” break….

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