Saturday, February 14, 2015

Senior Night Revisited

Last night's ballgame gave me lots of food for thought.  Poor sportsmanship.  Officiating.  How we are always setting an example for those watching us, especially when we are the adult figure... and how sometimes we react to situations in ways that others don't understand.

I could go on and on about the fact that Magoffin County's coach decided to pull his team off the court after he got two technical fouls and was ejected.  I usually do go on and on about inconsistencies in referees (which, by the way, I didn't see last night... but that's just me and I'm always biased for my team).

But I won't.  Although I would like to clarify that this is in no way an attack on the other team. They are just kids, too.

Because last night, the only people who were hurt in the situation were the kids.

Specifically, three girls who were playing their last home game in the coliseum.

(I must interject here that when we played at Magoffin Co. last year, it was their senior night, and we went through an hour of presentations and weeping and recognition from nearly every person from their community.  It was a senior dominant team and we knew what was coming from the 15th region officials.  It's not fair... but it's the truth.  When you play a team out of region, chances are the home team will get the whistle.  I'm not saying it's right... but we knew what to expect.  To my recollection, Wallace's tie came off, but he didn't get a technical, which is saying a lot.  One of their fans would even say to us, "That's a horrible call.  Y'all are outplaying us, but they won't let you."... ok, I digress... back to the kids).

Our Seniors were robbed of the chance to finish Senior night. Their families were robbed of the opportunity to watch them play that last home game.  (And maybe robbed us too strong of a word?  Guess it depends on your perspective. )

Because they were doing their talking on the court. 9-0.  (And please note that two of those fouls on the other team were on the coach prior to the ejection, before you start saying, well, those fouls were lopsided).

Rissa was doing what Rissa does best.  I don't know how many rebounds she had in that four minutes, but she was dominating under the goal.  It's no wonder that a tape has been submitted for the state rebounding record in a single game (last week, against Jenkins, she had 38. Yes... 38.) On the court, Carissa is a force to be reckoned with under the basket.  Off the court, she's quiet and studious.  She excels in the classroom and is looking at a couple of different schools for future basketball action.  Caleb loves Carissa (he loves all the girls). When he first started playing ball this year, I asked him what position he was playing.  He said, "I don't know what it's called, but I do what Ris does."

Megan was doing what Megan does best, too... quietly killing you.  She's got a killer jumper and she can drive to the basket, and most of the time you don't even realize she's scoring, because she's not flashy.  She was also guarding their best player with efficiency.  (Note on Megan: Last week, she and another player double-chased the leading scorer in the state, who is averaging 41 points a game, and held her to 11 points before halftime. Creech went on to score 40 points that game, but she had 18 in the 4th quarter, when our lead had spanned to 30 at one point and the tough defense was called off.) Basically, what I'm saying is, you give Megan someone to guard and they won't get to the goal. She is just as tenacious in the classroom. She doesn't say a lot (at least not to me), but you've got the feeling that what she does say is important.  She quietly leads by example. I have no doubt that this young lady will do whatever she sets her mind to in the future.

And Katie.  My Katie.  Katie lost a year of eligibility because she transferred from Jackson last year. She is the sunshine on the team, unless she's mad.  Make her mad, and you'll end up on your bottom.  She's not afraid of anything. Katie has been like a sister to Caleb for too many years to count. She's rode to ballgames with us and we've been to the beach together, and we've rung in the last three new years together.  It's hard to believe she's a senior.

The thing about all three of these girls, and really all of the basketball team, is that they are a family.  They fight and they fuss, but at the end of the day, they've got each other's back.  They raise hermit crabs in the locker room and cry with each other. 

They are my family... a family by choice.  I'm a quiet person.  I don't always know what to say...

and last night I was especially speechless.  These girls can probably attest to the fact that I really don't have to say much, because my husband and son have enough words for the entire family.

I just know that I don't want to see this group graduate.  I say that every year, and I can go through former teams and give accolades about every senior player that Wallace has ever coached. These girls are my girls, in a roundabout way.  I don't just cheer them on while they're on the court.

(In fact, one of my happiest moments last night, after all of the drama of the never before seen in my life forfeit, was going home to read one of my "girls" who is now an assistant at Owsley tweet that they had beaten Perry Central at Perry Central).

So this morning, as I'm reflecting on the events of last night and the upcoming few weeks, here's what I'd say if I had y'all in the locker room. I may not be as motivational as my husband (or maybe I am), but this comes from the bottom of my heart.

Seniors (and all of my Ladycats, but esp. you seniors):
I love you.  You hold a piece of my heart that no one will ever be able to replace.  I've watched many of you play from a young age.  Words can't describe how it felt for me to be able to go home, back to Breathitt Co., back to that Coliseum where I had so many good memories growing up. Thank you for allowing that to happen. Thanks to your parents for loaning us your kids.

You have a lifetime ahead of you. Right now, it doesn't seem that way, but this morning I'm sitting in my living room looking back twenty years ago. While I won't say they were the best years of my life (because how can you compare to Caleb???), they were some of the best.  You can do anything you set your mind to.  Never let anyone tell you differently, whether it be a crazy coach (no names mentioned), a college professor, a boyfriend...

They'd be lying.  Dig deep and pull out that spirit of determination.  Sometimes it's easy to get lazy and complacent. Don't do it.

You have the ability within you to change the world. That may seem melodramatic, but it is true.  Your generation is our future.  Do something big.

And let's keep playing for a few more weeks, ok?

Love you girls so very much! 

No comments:

Post a Comment