Anyone who knows me, knows that I love the game of basketball. I have played since I was 5 and although I am not the best at it, I love the game.

I also ‘coach’ my 2 boys’ basketballs teams on a Friday night.
By coach, I mean:
Check if everyone has been to the toilet,

Do a head count

Point everyone to the direction that they are meant to run.

Encourage them to pass, dribble, pass, catch, pass, shoot, catch, pass, run, “No, the other way”, come back when you have been to the toilet.

Keep parents happy

Wrangle oiled cats with a feather duster – I mean, keep the right kids, on the right court, at the right time.

It started off innocently enough.
Last year, I had just moved to the area, and my eldest had joined a basketball team with his new mate from school.

The parents got wind that I had played basketball, and suggested I could ‘coach.’

And like the wide-eyed naiveté I believed them. I coached, harangued, encouraged and chased, and that was just the parents! I laid down some rules for the kids, just basics, like being a good sport, respect for coaches/ referees/ team mates and the other team.

I laid down rules for the parents – that the kids were MINE for the game, and if they had a problem or a concern, they were welcome to approach me and discuss it.

And then we got uniforms, and the boys were asking me for more training, and skill development, and we started running training sessions.

Then more kids wanted to join the team, and my 5 year old joined a younger version of the team on the same night. So now I had 2 teams to coach. And train.
I was unsure of my position, “Did the kids like me? Did the parents like me? Was I doing a good job?”

That was last year.

This year, the older boys team has grown and split into 2 teams, the younger boys team is nearly big enough to do the same, we have girls playing too now and the kids and parents are flat-out refusing to leave to go to another team, because they want to stay. We have hired teenagers to train the kids. We have 2 coaches now – me and another lovely lady. And the parents and the kids have formed a village. These kids may not play together at school, but they are a close-knit team on Friday nights. My proudest moments are watching how the kids celebrate a triumph, or comfort a mate who has fallen.

I am not the typical school mum – at drop off and pick up, volunteering etc.However, when I do turn up to a school fete, or vacation care, or the local supermarket, I have random 5 and 8-year-old children running up and cuddling me, giving me high 5’s and showing me their latest skills.
And frankly, I LOVE IT. All of it. I love doing the girls pony tails before the game, getting crushed by boys giving me cuddles, seeing them look for me on the sideline when they have done something great. I love how they all shake hands now without being asked, and they turn up to training eager and keen.

I love the parents – and I love how they have accepted me and allowed me to shape a small part of their child. I love the noise, and the laughter and the tears, and how my kids are happy to run all game for me when I ask, and they get excited that I give them a red frog or lolly after the game.

It is hectic, and hard, and tiring, and sometimes very stressful, but I love every minute of it, because the kids make it worthwhile.

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