Last night was Andy's last Basketball game. His career ended in overtime with the Bucklin Red Aces losing by three. Andy made the last shot attempt with 3 seconds left in the game. He attempted a 3 point shot which bounced off the rim. It was a pretty shot, beautiful arch, beautiful follow through, but it was one of those shots that is just short. I'm not disappointed, and I don't think he was, but he was disappointed that they lost. Even so, it was a fabulous game between two evenly matched teams.
One of my first posts on this blog was about my disappointment with how he was coached as a Freshman. I really thought that after that year, Andy would never play ball again. He didn't go out his Sophomore year--primarily due to that really really bad coach. And yet, he missed playing ball.
So, he went out last year, a Junior, starting the season in Colby knowing that we'd be moving soon. When we arrived in Bucklin, the coaches really worked with him, playing him quite a bit in JV, teaching him the plays, encouraging him. And he bloomed and grew. His confidence exploded. He became friends with many of the boys on the team and grew to really love the game.
He played on the traveling team this past summer, further honing his skills and gaining confidence. And, most importantly, he had fun.
This fall, he struggled a little with his confidence. He wasn't shooting when he was on the floor, but he quickly gained his rhythm and while not a starter, he was usually the first sub on the floor. It was surprising to Kev and I that the coach usually put our 6' son in as a guard instead of a post. And yet, he'd float; if one of the posts went out, he'd often drop back and cover their spot. I guess you can say that he's very versatile, being able to play both positions.
Where he would shine was on defense. That kid really is a good defensive player. He keeps his arms up, keeps his feet under him, moves quickly with his opponent and kept many top scorers from getting baskets. It was always a joy to watch him play on that end of the court.
Offensively, he finally got his groove...I'd like to say it was after I started bribing him, but I think he needed to get there on his own. See, I made a deal with him. If he shot the ball, I'd pay him $5 for every attempted shot. He didn't shoot, so the next game, I upped the deal, going to $10 a shot. Coincidentally, he started shooting, and started scoring. Last week, I owed him $50 (5 attempts, 3 baskets). And, I happily payed. It became our own little game on the side. He didn't really expect me to pay, but I did (he's always needing money for this and that anyway, like all teenagers!)
But. his career ended last night. I'm still trying to figure out how to flunk him, so he can repeat his Senior year. But, I know that it's not going to happen. All things end. It's time for Andy's Basketball career to end. I'm just glad that is ended as a positive and fun experience for him rather than remaining a negative experience as it was 4 years ago.
My son can now join the ranks of adult men and women everywhere who start sentences with, "When I played basketball, we ... ... ... ..."