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Junior High Hoops

Junior High Hoops

Big Jim is back in California. He sent me a few pics from the beach and an 8-page punch list. I will do my best when he is gone. Has anyone seen my fishing rods?

Several folks have asked the question. ARE YOU MISSING THE COACHING? I usually smile and give them a quick answer. I do miss some aspects, but I am thrilled to be in the stands as a parent. My son Jensen is playing for the 8th-grade team at Williamsport. His schedule keeps us busy. We are in the gym three nights a week for his games. I also pick him up after every practice. He is at a great age. Jensen is my bud. I love being there for him. Last year I only got to see three of his games.

I am no stranger to the local hoops’ scene. I say a quick hello to the opposing coaches and the officials. Yes. I know most of them. I usually sit by myself. Incognito. Front row is my preference. Far away from the cheerleaders. Nothing personal. I don’t say much, and I am rather quiet. I don’t bark any orders or criticize the zebras. I am retired, boys and girls — my decision.

I started this gig when I was back in college. I always enjoyed the game, and coaching became a passion. I was fortunate to coach at many different levels. Some teams were much better than others. I loved every stop with my tenure. I had over 20 years of service. Numerous camps and many successful seasons. That is a lot of coaching, and I can still picture all of my players’ faces. My scrapbook is full. I don’t need any more pages. It was fun while it lasted.

Yes. I will occasionally give some pointers. But most of the youngsters don’t remember. They tend to give me a blank stare. Who is this bearded guy telling me things? It is quite comical, and I don’t take it personally. But they will do some research and look for more suggestions. I accuse the parents of paying them to ask basketball questions.

I would like to remind you that this is still a game. I sometimes shake my head when I’m in the stands. Times are different. OK. But we could do better as fans. Um. They are 12 and 13-year-olds. Some will play in high school. Maybe one will play in college. Here are a few points.

Cheer for everyone on the court. Please don’t talk badly about your opponent. We should applaud whoever makes a great play. Your feedback and encouragement goes a long way. Basketball is a team sport and requires some love. Singling out players or poking fun at youngsters is not what the game is about.

Officiating basketball is such a thankless job. It’s hard. No. They do not have any personal vendettas. It’s seventh and eighth-grade basketball. Not the Final Four. Criticizing officials gets you nowhere. Seriously. I have changed. I am nice to the refs.

Coaching is never easy. Especially today. It is very tricky. Everyone’s an expert, and they have all the answers. There is a lot more to it than showing up to practice. Way too many outside influences. Unfortunately, that is the new culture. It is trending. Be nice, and thank those coaches. Don’t be that parent.

Be a fan for the ENTIRE team. That is the beauty of hoops. There are so many moving parts. Encourage each member to have a role. Not everyone can be the star, but anyone can be a great TEAMMATE. Applaud their efforts and keep things fun. This new outlook can be contagious. Think WE > ME. Don’t obsess about playing time. A positive culture will definitely lead to a memorable experience. Cheers.