Game Log 1/29/2010: When the junior high JV coach complains...
Challenging games on Friday. We had unskilled junior high boys who aren't quite good enough to be on the top teams. And I had a partner who was doing his fifth and sixth games...ever.
It's almost impossible to come out looking good in a game with players who--and I say this remembering my own junior high years, not to ridicule the players--aren't quite acquainted with their newly-long arms and legs. The game wasn't violent, but there was enough contact and violations that we could have blown the whistle almost all the time. On top of that, my partner was struggling, as I certainly was during my fifth and sixth games. So I tried to keep an eye all over the court...sort of had to.
Between giving encouragement and basic lessons at time outs ("Be sure to get your arm up when you blow the whistle!"), I just worked as hard as I could.
But the coach for one team kept chirping. "The fouls are ten to four!" "You can't let him plow in like that!" I talked to her once, saying that I wasn't going to listen. She kept it up. Finally, I said this during a free throw:
"Coach, this is a challenging game, and I have a partner who is new. I'm not going to listen to you today."
As soon as I said it, I felt bad. I didn't intend to throw new guy under the bus, but I sort of did. Fortunately, the coach took it the way I wanted it to be taken. She said "He's new?" and then didn't say another word all day long. But next time, I'll want to be more careful...maybe say "still learning." A more buttheaded coach could have gone a different direction.
The first game wound up being a one-point game. It came down to free throws on a foul I called out of my area--too obvious to let my partner die with, I thought. Kid made one of two. Losing coach didn't like the call (it was not the coach I had to warn), but his team also had multiple free throws, etc. down the line.
Second game was a blowout with two very kind coaches. Same problem as before--lots of limbs and little control of them. We passed on a LOT. I felt bad because one kid got a bloody nose, but it wasn't because of a foul...it was just two kids reaching for a loose ball, and one got it in his schnoz (and I didn't see how, but it sure wasn't much of a foul if I did). Most of the game was spent beseeching my partner to get his hand up. I look forward to seeing the guy down the road...it's too early to tell how he'll do, but it's always fun to see improvement.
THINGS I DID WELL: Adjusted game to unusual circumstances, handled whiny coach
THINGS TO WORK ON: Geez. This game was so bizarre and such an outlier that I'm not sure where to go here. Maybe go easier on novice partner? Early on, I may have given too much advice.
NEXT UP: Small school girls/boys varsity on Tuesday.