The buzzer sounded and the game was about to start. The nervous coach stared back at his nervous team. They looked at him.
“Ok, listen…play man-to-man. If you get tired..signal me, and I will take you out. OK? Any questions?”
One hand rose.
“Coach..you mean girl-to-girl right? Cause we are not men…we are girls.”
The coach chuckled.
The team did not know what to expect…and when the buzzer sounded to signal halftime, the team from Altimira was down.
The coach gathered his troops and he knew he had to make a change.
“Ok, girls…this is what we are going to do.”
The girls had questions.
“Are we allowed to hit people? Because we are getting hit…all the time.”
“No, that isn’t right…I will talk to the referees.”
“Coach? Why can’t I wear my earrings?”
“Because it might get ripped out or something..it’s not safe.”
He went over the new gameplan and it was time to play again.
And something happened.
The other team did not expect the change….and they started to struggle. They made turnover after turnover. The other coach was getting frustrated.
“Time out….time out….girls! What are you doing?”
The team from Altimira fought hard….and didn’t back down. They cheered with every basket they scored.
When the final bell rang…the team from Altimira was on the losing end. But the coach could not be more proud. He watched as the girls gained confidence as the game went on. He saw girls who were normally quiet and timid…cheering and hi-fiving their teammates. He saw girls hug each other after the game and laugh. The score says we lost. But, the bald headed asian coach saw this game as a win.
He called the girls to huddle up.
“Look…the score says we lost. But, if you calculate how much we scored in the second half…we won that half. This loss is my fault. I was outcoached. But, now I know how to beat them. But, I am so proud of you guys. You didn’t give up. You fought….and I can’t wait til we meet them again.”
He watched the girls walk off and could hear the excitement for tomorrow’s practice.
This was a learning step. And the coach could not be more happy.