Thursday, November 25, 2010

Basketball musing

I’m feeling basketball nostalgic on the day before my our first game.  Feel free to skip this if you could care less.

-This will be my 23 year involved with the sport of basketball.

-It will be my 19th year as a coach.  It will be my 16th as a head coach.

-I didn’t start playing basketball until my freshman year in high school.  I was a soccer goalie.  I decided to play hoops because I was 6’1” and it seemed interesting.

-I played in my first game during the second game of the season against Red Bluff.

-I scored my first bucket in the low post of Passing Game against Las Plumas.

-I once had eight rebounds in three minutes during my freshmen year.

-Out of the 14 guys on the Freshman team, four made it to play through their Senior year; Mike Vance, Chris Ecklund, Shannon Rasmussen, and myself. I’m still happy that I had four years with those guys.

-I didn’t play much during my high school career.  To be perfectly honest, the guys ahead of me were better.

-Up in Anderson during my sophomore year my coach looked at me near the end of the game and asked, “What’s on your mind”.  I answered, “I’m wondering how many people are here”.  He replied, “Way to stay focused on the game, Jeff”.  It was the last time I would not be focused on the game.

-By my Senior year I had matched college team’s plays with our own and was designing different ways to run “14”, our man offense.  Fresno State was running it at the time.

-I loved UNLV’s pressure defense and fast break mentality.

-Believe it or not, I regularly coach against one of my former teammates.  How random is that.

-I first told other students that I was going to coach during my Junior year in high school.

-I ran into Shannon Rasmussen a few years later at a restaurant in Paradise wearing my Live Oak JV jacket and he said, “Holy shit!  You really did what you said!  You are a coach!”

-My Dad was drafted by the Dodgers and threw out his arm.  He never pressured me one day in athletics.

-I went into an empty classroom and cried after Chico’s Jeff Carter hit a free throw line jumper at the buzzer to kick us out of the Division Play-offs during my Senior year.  It was the last game I played in our home gym.

-I realized coaching/teaching was a real calling when I ironed my jersey for our NORCAL Play-off game at Seaside, only to leave it hanging at home.  I watched the last game of my high school career from the bench in Monterey.

-I made the Butte College team and blew out my ankle two practices in.  Another sign that I should coach.

-The coach I first worked for is still coaching, very successfully.

-Some of the best kids I know came out of a little town called Live Oak.

-I’ve almost never seen a successful situation where a father has coached his son in Junior High or High School.

-My real introduction to Islam was from a 15 year old boy who talked with me for over an hour on an away game bus trip about the Koran.

-The worst officiating in the history of the universe was in Redding, when officials were going to call the game because the Sikhs on our team wore small turbans.  They relented.

-My most embarrassing moment in as a coach was when I smashed a clipboard against a locker, shattering it.

-I was fired from one coaching job.  The Athletic Director told me after my last game.  His statement, “To be honest, I don’t think I could have worked for him this long in your position.”

-I quit from one coaching job.  After the scoreboard operator told me I was going to “get it” for playing the wrong guys, after I got calls at home about “playing the Asians over my boys”, and after a parent told me I’d “figure it out, one way or another”, I was almost there.  When the Superintendent called me in and threatened my job if I didn’t play certain players, I walked.

-A majority of ex-superstars that I’ve seen coach do a poor job at it.  Since they are in it for themselves, that’s not surprising.

-The best coaches I’ve seen are teachers of the game, period.

-Some of the best coaches I’ve seen are in the league I’m currently a part of.

-I’m still nervous before every game.

-I believe that players should be great at a few things, not average at a bunch of stuff.

-I’ve played my old high school, Paradise, one time in a summer tournament.  I’m 1-0.

-When I was asked, “How would you feel about beating your old high school”, I answered that I would want to run them out of the gym.  I was a Bobcat for four years.  I’ve been a Wildcat for ten.

-Good letters from basketball parents outnumber bad letters 10 to 1.  I keep all the good ones and toss all the bad.

-I would sit a stud if he broke the rules before the championship game, with no regrets.

-Some of the most important words I say every year take place during the one hour of my team parent meeting.

-I have too many good basketball memories to count.

-However, two years ago a double overtime win with one player hitting two buzzer beaters and the game ending with another player taking a charge ranks very high.

-I owe a vast majority of my basketball knowledge to Jim Moore, Jack Danielson, Russ Neal, and Bill Heath.  Every time a player wears a tie, plays tenacious defense, runs Hurricane to perfection, does an up-and-under step through, or executes the Wheel to a lay-up, a little nod goes to them.

Since the butterflies are still there………………… we go again.

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