Our last game to Italiano J. C. Paz was one of the hardest challenges we faced so far in ABA. Not only did we lose, but by the end of the game, a lot of pent-up negativity surfaced.
I listened as the fiery players (I call them this because I believe that these players express fire-like qualities, while others lean more toward water, earth, or air) expressed their frustration.
“I’m ashamed,” began Cynthia (La Gallega), her face red, partly from exhaustion and partly from emotion, “I want to win. Do we all want this? All I see is that we lack balls in our games!”
Some in the circle agreed and others were silent.
Julie, the youngest player on the team, put in her disgruntled two-cents:
“I think the truth is that our team has too many players with a wide range of levels. Even when we train it is obvious!”
“And there are some who take the team more seriously than others. All our motivations are different,” La Russa added.
I turned my eyes to Roxanna, and her face was grave and stone-like. I then observed all the other post-game faces and was impacted by the negativity of the group. The mala onda* was pungent.
Cate handled it all very well. Her tone was calm, but urgent: “Part of being on a team is losing. Everyone contributes to a loss and I myself am included. I know I am prone to mistakes and will be until the day I die. I’ve still got a lot to learn, and am more green~ than I don’t know what…”
I thought about mistakes. I know I made some during the game, and for some reason they stuck out more than the good things I accomplished. For example, the fact that I scored the first point of the game seemed to be completely trampled by the fact that I picked up three stupid fouls in one quarter and immediately got benched.
It seemed easier to get stuck in the negative moments. And I know this crippled my ability to play well; to feel light on the court and move with the harmony of my team.
I’ve experience it time and time again, this mental stuckness and I know that the mind must be in the game…fully. If the physical body is the only thing present, all your reactions are on autopilot.
This game really made me think about the energies within a team and how mala onda coming from one person can spread to the rest of the team like wildfire.
* direct translation would be ‘bad vibe’ or ‘bad wavelength’, but means general negative energy or mood.
~ here Cate was talking about being green, like an unripe fruit. ∴ inexperienced as a coach.