Critter and his team have had a hard basketball season this year. His team is young, both chronologically and in ability. And all of the teams they played this year came from bigger towns, which means larger pools of talent to draw from. This translated to Critter’s team getting walloped over and over and over. But they went into this season knowing this would likely happen. Coach Pat told them from the start that we would be at the bottom of the ladder, but encouraged them that we had to start somewhere, and that it wouldn’t always be this way.
But for this encouraging message to be heard throughout the season, he had to have the undivided attention of this motley crew of 11-year-old boys. This, more than anything, was Pat’s true challenge all season long. Just look at this shot of the team doing a hand pile. Not a single kid is focused on the same thing.
I have no idea what Critter is looking at with his big, brown, soulful, melt-any-woman-of-any-age-he-looks-at eyes. And God knows what he is thinking….on any given moment his thoughts range from “I wonder what would happen if…” to “Do Penguins have knees?”…to “I have to poop.”
Coach Mike, Pat’s Assistant Coach, did his best to corral the boys. This was no easy feat. Here he is at warm up during our last game. I have to believe that man needs a deep-tissue massage, or a healthy shot of whiskey, after every practice and game.
My Critter is the smallest one on the team. 60 pounds, soaking wet, and easily a couple of heads shorter than any of the teams we played.
But what he lacks in physical stature, he well makes up for in speed and good looks. Not that I’m biased or anything.
By the end of the season, both Coach Pat and Coach Mike had given their all. The boys tried their best to keep it together. And we even got them to pose for a serious team shot…..
but My Captain had a hard time keeping it all within the camera frame. I don’t know if he blames the camera, or Pat’s freakishly long legs, but getting the bottoms of the boys, and the top of Pat’s head all in one shot proved difficult.
The boys couldn’t hold it together for long. We had to take the pictures fast….
…before their true natures burst through….
We all figure if the boys persistently work hard, if they stay focused on learning the ins and outs of the sport, if they keep eating their vegetables and growing their muscles/coordination, things will get better as a team! We’ll win a game or two, and maybe, just maybe, be able to pose for a group picture for more than a nanosecond.
But frankly, I think that is YEARS away….