This past weekend I got a call on Sunday morning from my mother telling me to meet her in Mississauga in exactly 1 hour to watch my sister's basketball game. Luckily for her I was actually up and dressed, so making the 45 minute hike out there was within reason. Normally I would have no interest in going and watching a kid's basketball game on my only day off in 3 months, but I figured I better fulfill my big sister role and go and support!
Now this wasn't just an ordinary game, or else I'm sure I would not have received a phone call about it. My sister coaches an OBA (Ontario Basketball Association) team in Cambridge for girls in grades 7-8, and they had made it to the Gold medal game of the Provincial tournament. This was sort of like their "dance-off at Nationals" game, as I have to equate everything to dance for it to make sense!
My sister is one of those jack-of-all-traits people, which is the complete opposite of me! She seems to be good at everything she does whereas I'm only good at dance and anything related to dance, so I'll just stick with that. My sister danced competitive when she was younger, but then her vast interest in many activities made her stop when she was in high school. She played basketball, volleyball, and every other sport in school. She was an avid horseback rider, she sang in several choirs and even dabbled in wrestling for a while! She's had many professions and I'm actually just convinced once she's good at something she just gets bored of it and moves on.
This year she started coaching this specific team of girls who had not had much success in winning games over the past few years. When they first started going to tournaments this season winning was a surprise for them, but my sister and I are related, so losing is not something she is accustom to! For those girls basketball is the most important thing they do, as to my competitive students, dancing is what they live for. I was actually informed during the game that my sister had even been sick earlier that morning from her nerves, which was a shock to me. I thought my sister could handle her nervous energy better than that, but then I remembered how long it took me to really take a less aggressive approach with myself when it came to dance competitions. It was of major importance to her, and all the girls on the team, to win that game and I have to respect that in the end.
There were so many similar things going on at this game in comparison to my weekends at a dance competition, which I guess I should have expected. I actually found myself chuckling a lot at these 'stage parents' yelling instructions from the bleachers to their kids on the court. "Eye on the ball", which I assumed was an obvious thing as they are playing basketball. There was a lot of team bonding going on, and of course refs making poor calls, or at least poor calls when it was against the team you were cheering for. Much like a judge at a dance competition who obviously under scored your kid!
For that kind of game, much like it is at a dance competition, as a coach you kind of just have to step back and let them do what they're going to do. You can't change anything at that point, or teach them things you should have earlier on in the year. Now I might not have any basketball skills myself, but I do know that defence is what wins basketball games. Luckily my sister had an aggressive defensive strategy that day for her team and it ended up winning the game for them. It was a low scoring game, which didn't help much for my attentiveness through four periods, but I do have to appreciate how hard both teams played. It's much like when my sister comes to watch dance competitions that my students are in. She may have been away from the inner workings of the dance industry for a long time, but she can still respect good dancing and quality choreography.
During the medal presentation one of the parent's from my sister's team yelled out "3 cheers for coach Randy" as they were presenting her with her medal. One of the kids presented her with flowers and they all flocked to her in admiration of what she had helped them achieve. I felt really proud in that moment that my sister was having the same positive effect on these kids that I feel I do at my studio. It was like a deja vu moment for me, as I remember at our first competition this year being given flowers from a parents thanking me for the work I had done with her daughter. My sister was then awarded the tournament champions plaque and my mom leaned over to me and said, "it's just like when you will all those choreography awards!"
My sister got slightly emotional when congratulating her team and they all gathered together for a group picture with their awards. It's funny how basketball and dance can be so different, yet still have the same affect on kids and the competitive spirit...
If you look really closely, it's exactly like a picture I took at our competition only 2 weeks ago...
Looks like being #1 kind of runs in the family!