It's basketball tournament time!!!
We aren't hosting the tournament this year so a bunch of us hoofed it down to the far reaches of the district to another middle school for the first series of games tonight. It's always a fun time with fairly large crowds (this is middle school after all, not college or even high school) and a lot of excitement. We all went tonight because, quite honestly, we weren't all that sure our teams would make it past the first round. They haven't had the best year this year, although our new boys' coach has made some huge strides with the guys - no more street ball like they're used to playing. They're playing like a team.
In fact, they got lucky and the first team they played with the one with the worst record. By the third quarter they were up by nearly 30 points. At this point Coach pulled the guys aside and made some lineup changes.
He put in the sixth graders.
Now we're talking little guys. Really little guys. Little guys who have a lot of heart, but spend most of the time on the bench because they're, well, little guys and they're only sixth graders. They have the next few years to mature into better ball players. And maybe grow a foot or two.
So Coach has the team huddled together and gives them the news. The two littlest let lose with these smiles that just light up the gym. They were playing! And they played their hearts out. They each got to try a couple of baskets (missed, but who cares?) and I was impressed that the bigger/older guys made a point to feed these two the ball. They ran and blocked and jumped and had the time of their lives.
What made it even sweeter? The rival coach realized that his team wasn't going to catch up so he did the same thing. Pretty soon the floor was full of little guys having the time of their lives.
And the crowd loved it.