09 January 2016

Charlotte [basket]Ball

Warning - lots of pictures!

Charlotte played basketball for the first time in her life.  Let me tell you the story.  [You can skip down to the pictures if you don't want all the details, cause it's a detailed story].  So Charlotte is sitting in health class in the seventh grade.  It's horrible, she says.  But, hey, it's required, so make the best of it.  On like the third day of class, the teacher, Coach Harmon, (isn't health always taught by a coach?) says, hey Charlotte, I need to see you after class.

Now Charlotte is worried, because she has very thin filters when it comes to speaking her mind, so she's wondering what she said to get her in trouble....  After class Coach Harmon says, have you ever played basketball?  Charlotte says, no.  Never.  Why?  Coach says, because I want you to play for me.  You look like an athlete.  Charlotte says, I am. I'm a swimmer.  Coach Harmon says, perfect.  Let's ask your parents, and change your schedule.

In Junior and Senior high in Arkansas, the sports that you play are a class during your regular schedule, so if Charlotte is going to join the basketball team, she has to take the basketball class.  With a few conversations and some wrangling, Charlotte's schedule was all fixed and she was one the team.

Basketball required shoes and warm up clothes and, well, a basketball.  We had none of these things.  The shoes alone were $120.00.  Not happening in our little budget.  Ouch.  Coach Harmon, again, said, no worries, I have a shoe closet.  She took Charlotte to a magical closet that had extra pairs of shoes in all sizes, left there in years past from other seventh grade teams.  So you may notice in the pictures that Charlotte's shoes are slightly different than the other kids on the team, but, they are fabulous.  And free.  Thank you Coach.

Charlotte loves basketball.  She started every game and usually scored.  She's still learning, but, as her Coach puts it, she's coachable.  Years of swimming have taught her to take instruction and criticism and learn.  And she loves practice.  Practice, practice, practice.  We now spend a lot of time at playgrounds shooting hoops.  Lots of shooting hoops.

Her team didn't do so well.  She got frustrated that not everyone on her team worked as hard as she did and that not everyone did their job.  That's another difference between swimming and basketball.  Individual effort vs. team effort.  Positions vs. lanes.  Charlotte embraced it all - even the before school practices.  Yes, before school.  Her life was - sleep, eat, basketball, school, swim, eat, sleep, repeat.  Glorious.

Here are some highlight pictures:

Close up of #24 in action.  Go Panthers!

One of her jobs as a guard was to throw the ball in every time it went out of bounds.

Playing defense.

Look at the concentration on her face.

Looking for the pass.
Charlotte may not stay with basketball all through high school.  She's a swimmer.  But basketball showed her muscles she didn't know she had and she learned a lot along the way.  Teamwork is different in basketball and communication is key.  I hope she learned these skills.  Her coach is fantastic.  She even came to a swim meet to see Charlotte in her own environment.  She said, Well, she sure makes swimming look easy.  She's an athlete.  Thank you, Coach Harmon, for taking an interest in Charlotte.  Thank you for pushing her and challenging her.
Go get 'em, Panthers.  Go get 'em, Charlotte!

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