I'm a junior high basketball coach. For some people this equals the statement, "I like to bang my head against the wall". But it doesn't. What it really translates to is, "I like a challenge. I like to see growth. I like impacting a kid's life in one of the last possible times people experience real change. Also, I don't mind banging my head against the wall".
Because, let's face it, sometimes I do feel like I'm banging my head against the wall. But it's usually worth it.
Tonight, I said goodbye to my 8 game conference winning streak (if you go back to last season which I do because it sounds better). We lost to a team that is always tough on us and always provides an exciting game. I detest losing, but if I have to lose, I want it to be an opponent I respect at least. And I do. They're scrappy little gym rats who dive for the ball like it's got Justin Bieber's phone number on it. I like that about that team. The hustle; not the Bieber.
We fell apart in the 2nd quarter. An 18 point fall apart. I'd like a do-over on that dang 2nd quarter. We're not an 18 point fall apart kind of team. But at halftime, we made adjustments. Things got a little better but not a lot. Yet in the last minutes of the 3rd, when we just didn't seem to be making headway, I looked into their eyes and asked them not to quit. And they responded. They fought hard. They followed direction. They made significant growth. They made me remember why I like to play this crazy game, why I like to coach this crazy game, why I, specifically, like to coach this crazy team. Tonight, I didn't mind banging my head against the wall because a realization finally set in for them -- that they can do more than they think. That they were better than they think. That they are scrappy and tough. That a little hustle takes you a long ways. For at least 8 minutes, they were different.
They were all hustle. Without the Bieber, of course.
And I love that about my team.