Well, the cut-throat, high pressure world of under 10's Saturday basketball was once again thrust upon me this morning. Again I tortured my body to wake at the un-godly hour of 8:30am an a Saturday (which is just wrong!). I eventually rolled out of my warm quilt cocoon and walked to the shower...aaaah nothing like being naked, wet, sudsy and the cascading warm water over ones head to start the day. I dried up and quickly got dressed as there was only 12 mins before the game started. I drove to the Basketball venue which thankfully was only about 2 kms away. When I arrived one of my players mothers gave me the good news... "We only have 4 players as of right now!". This would phase most normal coaches, but I’m not normal...coach wise I mean. I pretty much like to keep my "plans" for the games pretty vague...actually bordering on "non-existent" would be more accurate. This is due mainly to the fact that 10 year olds don't listen to you anyway, so planning is pretty much a waste of time and the best method of coaching them is to just shout match relevant phrases at them on the fly. I always try to echo the sentiments of the parents who are also usually screaming their 2c from the sidelines. Parent's watching their kids playing sport are FERAL most of the time. "Kick him in the nuts Brooke!!" ,"Go for the eyes, GO FOR THE EYES!!!" and "Touch my kid again and I'll come and kill you!!" are pretty standard comments most weeks. This is outer eastern Melbourne after all ;)
So, I get into the venue after hearing that I have 4 players and scanned the multitude of kids running rampant through the pavilion to try and see if that is actually true. I spot 4 that are definitely mine...and a few others that..... well, they "could" be mine??...but as I haven't had any coffee yet today it could just have been my blurring, unfocused vision as I battle the caffeine withdrawals doubling up a few of them. Nope it's true, only 4 kids as 2 of my girls have decided that Saturday Disney cartoons are much more important .... that and it's School holidays anyway so last night the kids probably went out and got drunk etc. Again, I remind you that this is outer eastern Melbourne so that comment is actually possibly factually correct.
Then the kicker comes......we are actually playing the top team in our division. These guys are all under 10's (Apparently) but I swear on my father’s grave...more than 2 of them had 5 o'clock shadow at 9:20am .... I also reckon I saw at least 1 of them actually get in a car and DRIVE away after the game*!!!
*actual events may have transpired differently and this account may not be 100% accurate.
They also have about 2.5 teams worth of players to throw at the game as well. I decided to completely fuck with their coaches head and start talking really loudly about how we were "going to kick their ass even with 4 players...one of which was a girl". The opposition was another all male team and their coach was resplendent in about $2000 worth of "Brands" all for an under 10's basketball game. He even had a bluetooth phone thing on his ear??? I guess some calls can't wait? I started trash talking him a bit more to my kids saying stuff like "They are crap, you're all taller than their tallest guy but if you break his leg in the first few minutes then we'll have the height advantage" and "make sure if you get the opportunity to drive through them...you DO it. They're only small they shouldn't offer much resistance to your forward movement." The oppositions coach was looking worried by this time. Yeah you should be buddy...you're going DOWN!!!
Anyway, the game starts and my 4 superstars head out onto the court. To be deadly serious for a minute they did really, really well. This was in the face of some of the WORST, MOST PATHETICALLY RETARDED UMPIRING I HAVE EVER SEEN!!! I don't get very heated often, hardly ever in fact, in any scenario....but these two...well calling them "retarded chimp umpires" is actually a big insult to retarded chimps, they were absolutely f@#ked!!. They constantly called fouls on us, then moments later when the other team did the exact same thing to my players it was somehow ok??? They made calls only to have the other umpire change it etc etc. The best example was when Tyler (or "the unstoppable force" as he's more affectionately known due to him weighing about 60kg's at 9 y.o and when moving having a great deal of momentum) was dribbling the ball down the right side of the court when one of the opposition runs in front of him in a foolish attempt to get the ball. Well, if you've ever studied Physics you'd know that in any collision, energy is conserved. So try and work out what the outcome of a small child weighing about 30kg jumping in front of a LARGE child weighing about 60Kg's and RUNNING is?? "Not Pretty" that is the answer you're looking for. The defender literally went flying through the air landing 4 or 5 meters away from the collision area. AND NO FOUL CALLED!!!!! Consistency seems to have been dropped from the curriculum of the "Greater Melbourne Basketball Rule Book" that they use to teach these guys at Umpire school. Im sure that sometime in the past a lot of the "Rules" seem to have also been misplaced as well.
The first 1/2 was pretty good for us even though we were outnumbered. They scored 12. WE scored 2!! Now think about that, we managed to score on the TOP team while playing with less players in a game that can best be described as a "rugby scrum travelling back and forth". The whole pavilion cheered wildly when that goal went in. The opposition coach was GUTTED, he started screaming at his kids like a mad man. All I thought was...."Wait till the NEXT one goes in buddy, you're going to pop an artery then". 1/2 time came and I rallied the troops. I told them they were all doing great and to keep it up. I also did my standard parting of wisdom on to them about what they should be doing differently in the second half.
The second 1/2 starts and we go out all guns blazing. The other team had a penchant for double teaming whomever had the ball from my team so I had told the kids to just dribble into them if they had to. Well, my kids did just that...the fouls were coming thick and fast against the opposition because they just couldn't help but jump in the way of whoever had the ball. The opposition coach once again is turning red with rage because his team, playing with one extra player and 10 substitutes couldn't get the ball and wasn't scoring much. They had got only 4 points in the first 10 mins of the second half.
Then it happened......
Bradley drove the ball down the right, whipped a pass back to the top of the key to Brooke, Brooke dumped it over the top of the 2 kids who rushed to assault her to Tyler and Tyler was open. He threw up a shot and ....
IT WENT IN!!!
Opposition coach guy goes absolutely troppo at his team, shaking his fist, screaming "WHO'S ON HIM???" etc etc. We race to 4 points and the game drags out to a close. Final score 4 - 20. That's right... we had stayed at the same high level in the 2nd half and actually matched our first half performance where as the opposition had slipped from their first 1/2 performance to only score 8 points. "Technically" it will go down in history that the Eastern Bulls u10 div.3 team lost, but I think I have shown (quite clearly too) just what a crushing victory it really was for us. As I am just such a brilliant and compassionate person I offered to buy all the kids breakfast at McDonalds after the game because they did so well. They all cheered and we went for hot cakes and McMuffins. I think I have "Coach of the Year 2008" in the bag after that little stunt ;)
Due to the scorers wiping the score board about 3 nanosecs after the game finished there is no "Action Scoreboard" pic for me to show. So I knocked up a "replica" for prosperity. I think it really captures the emotion and intensity of the game quite well.