It is Friday night and my cellphone starts bleeping: Leave for practise.
I dis-activate the alarm and continue to do the housework that I had been busying myself with. One of my cats gazes at me from the edge of the bed.
I’ve made up my mind that I’m not going tonight, but there are many thoughts in my head and heavy emotions around my heart.
Things have been inconsistent recently with my basketball team. During practise and games, I’ve heard many verbal complaints about particular players within the team or the coach’s way of making decisions. The truth is the whole team has turned into a gigantic gossiping monster.
“I’m not sure what happened;” I sighed to an old basketball friend that I had played with at El Talar. We were having dinner in her apartment late one Friday night.
“Teams don’t like to lose,” she replied.
“But I don’t mind losing,” I retorted. “I think you can play an amazing game and lose.”
“Yes,” she nodded. “You and I take think of losing that way. Most people don’t.”
Our losing streak has become quite consistent and is in direct proportion to the amount of negativity present during practise. And although I hear many doubts about the coach’s decisions, it has become obvious to me that the internal motivation within the team is quite weak.
At last Friday’s practise, I arrived to a team where the majority preferred to sit and watch Argentina play against Puerto Rico ( the Pre-Olympic Tournament going on in Mar del Plata) than to use the available court for an hour. Our coach was on his way to Mar del Plata to watch the Saturday game and our assistant coach was leading the practise. My anxiety became obvious to the A.C. Even though I was one of the few who wanted to play, he went upstairs with me to free out some balls.
I shot by myself for fifteen minutes and I could feel my anger rising. We actually HAVE the main gym and they prefer to sit and watch the game! Haven’t they heard of programmed t.v. timers?
After a while, one of the girls came up and starting shooting on the other end. Five minutes later, the rest of the team came up. My anger cooled but it became apparent how different my teammates perceived practise than me.
Basketball is a team sport and each team has its own unique intensity. This is made up from all the different players but the most important factor is the coach. And if you don’t like the style of the team, it is easy: you leave. It is the coach’s job to bring the team together, to inspire the players. It is also his/her job to teach the players how to play together, not separately. And it is in this, where something has failed, because it doesn’t exist in our team. I don’t feel that when I step on the court with these girls. And my next question is: is this something that can be worked on? Or is it just present or absent?
“This isn’t a team,” one of the all-star wing players (playing 3) calmly explained to me one night after practise, when we were both walking to Rivadavia for a bus. “I’ve been on teams. I’ve felt that comradeship. But here the coach does whatever he wants and then, well, there is chaos.”
I remained quiet because I had no experience to pair up with hers relating to harmonious teams. Most of my team experiences from high school up till now have never been amazing.
My sadness over the last couple of weeks with this team has been an obvious indicator at how seriously I take everything. I’m trying to understand what to do with that seriousness and if this team is on the same wavelength as me.