Friday, March 12, 2004
I have had the privilege and joy of coaching a girls Concord-Carlisle travel basketball team for the past two years. It is even more enjoyable because I coach with another woman from Carlisle. Previously, I have coached co-ed baseball, co-ed basketball and girls softball. Coaching a girls team is a unique experience and I mean that in a very positive way. These girls are certainly a competitive group, but they are extremely supportive of one another. There has never been one word of criticism toward each other in two years. They collectively rejoiced when we reached the point in the season where every player had scored a basket.
You can learn a lot about priorities of adolescent girls when you coach them. They like to win — that's for sure. But they care equally about fairness. It's more important to them that each girl played in the game and participated than if they had won and some teammates sat on the bench. Every player on our team plays a significant amount of each game. As a result, each player's skills have improved dramatically. In the first game of this season, they lost to Wakefield 50-24. Recently, they lost to Wakefield in overtime 30-28. I have never had a player ask to see the scorebook after a game or ask how many points she scored. I often hear them voice their displeasure at the way an opposing coach yelled at their team during the game. They know how unnecessary that is. After a game, win or lose, they have their arms around each other; they shake hands and move on to the rest of their day. They have no desire to dissect the game except if they don't feel they did their personal best. That is a time they will get down on themselves. But only momentarily.
In the many games we've played, I have only met one other female coach and one female assistant coach. In softball, I met one other team with a female coach. I had female basketball coaches from fifth grade through high school. Perhaps that is why I feel so strongly about the presence of women coaches for young girls.
I urge any female high school player, college player or adult who has even a remote interest in girls athletics to get involved. There is a genuine need for your participation and believe me, you will get more out of it than you will put in. As for me, I know I will continue to coach even when my daughter is no longer in the program. But for now, I will just enjoy this time with her and her friends.
© 2004 The Carlisle Mosquito