Sunday, February 28, 2016

To My Seniors

In December, it seems like it is forever away.

The season is long and the games are every night... and if we're not playing, we're watching a game or there is practice.

My schedule goes out the window, my car is full of fast food bags, and by the end of February I have clothes piled up in laundry baskets, causing me to forget what clothes I even own... especially if they aren't blue and white.

And then it comes... this week that we're facing, and it seems like just yesterday it was summer ball.

I love tournament time, but at the same time I hate it.

I'm too old for being nervous... too old for not knowing the outcome of the game, and with so much riding on each game, that win or go home...

Well, it's too much for me to handle sometimes.

I KNOW it's just a game, but at my house it's so much more.

Tournament time makes you realize that there is a group of girls, special girls, who may never be on the floor again together. And, really, that is just a reflection of life, because it's full of ups and downs and uncertainties, and part of life is learning how to roll with the punches.

If I've learned anything the last two months, it's just that... life is short and to be appreciated. To say that I've been downright distracted this season would be an understatement. There have been nights when in all honesty, I really didn't want to be in a gym. Then there were nights when those girls on the court were my saving grace, when a tight ballgame gave me breathing room and allowed me to not think about my Uncle's cancer diagnosis or my Papaw being in the nursing home or my Dad's grief as he tried to process it all.

Since I missed Senior Night, I just want to take a few minutes this eve before Regional tournament and give my own personal shout-out to three special young ladies. These girls are like family. You can't help for it to be like that, when you spend as much time with one another as we do. They take up for me when Wallace gives me a hard time, and fight with Caleb like a brother. As a coach's wife, I don't take lightly the blessing I have received in my "daughters".

And every year I say I love this group of girls. Every girl that I've ever had the privilege to watch on the court has been different, but they are still my girls.

Kacey is a force to be reckoned with. She is not afraid to drive to the basket, but she'd just as soon put a three in your eye. She's battled injury after injury in her career, but always bounces back. She's played through pain and discomfort and shown true heart. . Gameday tradition involves a pic with Caleb. I think they have more selfies than we can count.

Then there's Kaylea. Kaylea is an inside player that works hard under the goal.  When she decides she wants to score under the basket, there's not too many players who can stop her. I've enjoyed watching her mature as a player these last three years. She isn't afraid to try new things, either... this year, as a Senior, she played volleyball for the first time and didn't just excel- she dominated!  Kaylea is smart, sometimes opinionated (which I love!), and is funny, too. I have no doubt that she'll do whatever she wants in life.
 (Photo by Brendan Miller)

(Photo by Belita, Kaylea's Mom)

(photo by Brendon Miller)
And then there is Amanda. Amanda makes me smile. You always know where you stand with Amanda. She either has a smile on her face... or watch out. She's a beast underneath the basket. She can also  argue with the best of them and usually backs up her argument with sound logic. She sat out last year and I'm so glad she decided to play this year. She brings her own spark to the team.
 (Photo by Belita Noble)
 (Photo by Brendon Miller)

To these Seniors-
The world is at your fingertips. You can do anything you want in life. I have no doubt that success is yours for the taking. Dream big, and never let anyone tell you that you can't do something (unless it's something that you shouldn't be doing in the first place!)

I expect big things out of you. You've already proven you're smart. Your sassiness will be a credit when people try to push you around (which they will!) Be stubborn as you head out into that world... but not too stubborn.

Because of you Seniors, I hate to see the season end. Memories made on and off the court are truly cherished forever.

Thanks for keeping Wallace in line, for loving Caleb like a little brother, and for taking my side most of the time! You've accomplished a lot this year, along with your teammates. 14th Region All A Champions. 55th District Champions. A 20 win regular season. Somehow making Wallace look good enough to get 14th Region Coach of the Year.

But it ain't over. I'd love to make a trek to Newport for a state tourney bid. Keep doing what you do. Hustle. Show heart. Work together. Dig in deep.

And let's end this year with a bang.

Love y'all! 

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