The smell of deep heat, sweaty shoes and socks, the sound of whistles blowing, balls bouncing and shoes squeaking assault the senses as you walk into the stadium. Visually there is activity everywhere. Three courts with players moving, bench officials waving and gesturing with referees and small kids bouncing balls in corners. Photographers crouch in corners with long lenses and stadium officials lean against the walls with arms crossed surveying it all.
We walked into this environment as a team for the first time 5 days ago. We is, Will 51, Linda 41, Myself 41, Amanda 20, Stephen 20, Jemimah 19, Nathan 16, Thomas 16, Esther 16, Kahlila 15. These are the kids I have been coaching for 2 and a half years and Linda and Will joined in. We decided to enter the 2009 QLD Masters tournament in a social mixed division. Unfortunately no one else did so were grouped into a 45+ Mens division, playing teams who have represented Australia at the World Masters and also teams from interstate.
We had an absolute blast playing these giants. Every team had players well over the 6 foot mark and myself and Nathan are the tallest in our team at 6 foot even. Still we played our best and learned a lot. the other teams were happy to offer advice and assistance. Our best game we finished within 14 points of the other team. Our most fun game was the team that gave us 40 points head start and made it a very close finish – we ended up losing by 3 points. One of these games incidentally was played without Stephen and Will who had taken injuries on the first day. We played 6 games altogether.
I also took a lot of photos, and Jude and Esther (Nathan’s sister) photographed our games for us. Linda is missing from the second team photo because she went for a shower early at the end of the last game. Some of my best photos are below. All the photos can be found on my flickr account.
Life has been going by too fast to write about it. Sorry about that – but sometimes it happens.
Here's a quick summary of the last few weeks.
Wow! what a day yesterday was. I have never had so much fun as a coach! I thought the athletics was fun but this was even better!.
First I had to get all the girls from the convention site down to the gym and ready to play. This was harder than it sounds. It was absolutely belting down with torrential rain, I was looking after my two youngest girls – who were very well behaved, and some of the girls were doing other performances beforehand. Also the captain was too sick to play.
We all got to the courts and started warming up – and dodging the rain that was falling onto the court through holes in the roof – it was so heavy the roof leaked! we did have a good warm up which was great and the girls were the first team there which is also a psychological advantage. They were not very switched on for a while but eventually we got them into some drills that made them focus and get the blood pumping. My fantastic assistant coach aManda was also sick so that made it even harder as I had to do all the other organising things I usually left her to do.
our boys team played their first game yesterday. The other team was quite a bit better then them and this was evident before the game. I think this overawed them at first and i had to call a time out 3 minutes in. I told them they were playing like girls and to stop being nice. The rest of the game they played really hard and i was really proud of their efforts. The defence was very good most of the time though we need to work on rebounds. We also need to work on offence.