Guest Blogger, Arin Thompson
I want to take a break from the Mock Draft Monday this week to talk about something that is on my mind. If you’ve read my profile on here, you know that I coach high school boys basketball. While that might not seem like a big deal, I can assure you that in the state of Indiana, it is. I didn’t get into coaching for ego purposes or for a hobby. I didn’t get into coaching in hopes that if there is a sequel to “Hoosiers," I would be the main focus. I got into coaching, because I love basketball and everything that the game has to offer a young man or woman. I don’t think there is anything more rewarding than teaching my guys something on the court and then watching them execute it in a game. And then there is the other stuff.
I was sitting here watching the Blazers and Jazz on ESPN when I got a text from one of my players. He informed me that his grandfather had just passed away after four days of being in the hospital. Jason (named changed) found out that his grandfather was rushed to the hospital about 20 minutes before our game on Thursday night. Now, normally I would have said he should go be with his family, because I feel that family is always first, but his grandfather lives in Florida, so that made it an extra difficult situation. We sat in the locker room and he cried for a few minutes talking about his grandfather. It really hurt me to see one of my kids in that kind of pain. I knew there was nothing I could say or do to ease the pain, so I said nothing, I just listened. Jason told me that he was going to have the game of his life that night. He scored 24 points and led us to a victory. When he came off the court in the 4th quarter, I shook his hand like normal and then he asked if I thought his grandpa would be proud of the way he played. That question caught me by surprise and it sort of choked me up. I couldn’t say anything, but after the game I thought about it and I know that his grandpa would have been proud of him if he hadn’t scored a single point all season. I’m still working on my timing.
I don’t have any kids at this point in my life, but I have a pretty good idea of the joys and pains that parents go through with watching their children succeed and fail. This team was 3-18 last season. When my friend asked me to come coach with him I wasn’t sure what to expect. I never imagined that coaching would involve being a friend, mentor, big brother, disciplinarian, and boss all at once. Teaching the game of basketball is one thing, but trying to teach a bunch of teenagers how to be winners, that is a task that I wasn’t prepared for. It’s a learning process… I was given the task of putting together the offense this year, so I feel like I am living and dying on each offensive possession. The head coach deals with the defense and each week he has our JV run the opponents’ defense to get our guys ready. I love the challenge of trying to prepare the team to dissect the other teams, but I’ll admit, I’m not the best at all of the X’s and O’s. The kids will brainstorm with me for about 20 minutes before practice to figure out the best way to attack teams and by doing that, we have developed a very high level of trust. They know that I am not going to ask them to do things they aren’t capable of and I know that they are going to give me their very best effort until they can’t anymore. We all fight for each other.
I said earlier that this team only won 3 games last season. Thursday night was win number 3 for us. Friday was a long road trip to a small town that has nothing else to do except go to the game of the week on Friday night. It was senior night for our opponents, so it was an even bigger game for them. They beat us by 26 on our home court earlier in the season, so they wanted to end us quick and celebrate with the crowd. Add some local refs and you have yourself the recipe of a home cooked Indiana high school basketball game. Nevermind the fact that this team was a Catholic school, they wanted to take us out anyway possible. The first half was pretty chaotic and after all three of our team’s coaches were warned for techs, I was pretty sure the game was about to get out of hand. Let me fast forward to the fourth quarter. We were down 14 at the start of the quarter. The crowd was confident, the other team was cocky and their coach was starting to get careless. He wanted to rub it in on senior night, so he started to press us. That is a bad mistake. I have two guys on my JV team that can break any press singlehandedly. I’ve never seen anyone in high school faster than these two kids. I suggested we put them in, the head coach agreed with me and 7:54 later, we are at the line taking a one point lead with only 6 seconds left. Our boys only allowed 2 points in that fourth quarter and they celebrated at mid-court. The smiles on their faces said it all. Oh, leading the way on offense was Jason with 21 points. These kids amaze me.
That is just a small glimpse into my thoughts on this season so far. Sectionals are coming up in a couple of weeks and we drew the rival school in the first round. Our team has never beat this team in basketball. I hope we can make it a first for them.
*Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the LadyBallers Organization/Social Network.