Friday, March 16, 2007

March Madness - Try Coaching Madness

Since my bracket is already practically worthless, I figured I'd take this time to do a little blogging. In the spirit of March Madness, I thought I'd share a little story with you.

Shortly after graduating from IU, I took a volunteer position coaching Bloomington Indiana's Special Olympic basketball team. I had some experience working with this population, and with my athletic background, I was an easy choice as a Co-Head Coach.

This particular team had won the state championship the previous 2 years. Needless to say, there was some degree of pressure and expectation that came with this position.

Coaching was another story altogether. While trying to teach a proper bounce pass, I also had to deal with the guy, who's first words to me were, "I'm Jordan, just get me the ball. I'm Jordan." Getting this guy to not shoot every time he touched the ball was a full time job in and of itself.

While trying to teach the fundamentals of a 1-2-2 Zone Full Court Press Defense, I had to keep the guy focused, who had no idea what deodorant and/or a shower was.

During games, making sure everyone played was always a challenge. Especially when our Jr. Bobby Knight would throw a chair onto the court. Something he'd do at lease 3 times a game.

You think the AAU parents are bad? You think the soccer mom is tough to deal with. You haven't seen anything until you've dealt with one of these psycho parents.

Yeah, I know, a lot of pressure. Good thing we had our secret weapons. We had 3 guys on our team that were just really stupid. Really stupid. Stupid to the point where the state of Indiana considered them to have an actual disability. Great for me though. I'd stagger their minutes so that I had at least 2 of them on the floor at all times.

I remember our very first game. There was this guy on the other team with one normal arm, and then one chicken wing arm that he couldn't use at all. Funny thing was, he had a great shot. This guy was going nuts on us. At halftime, we were down 16 points and this guy had most of their points.

During my halftime pep talk, I got a little fired up. In front of the whole team, I challenged our best ringer to guard Chicken Wing the rest of the game. "Everywhere he goes, I want you right there with him. If he goes to the bathroom, you're going with him. If he goes to McDonalds, I want you sitting right next to him." My ringer ate up the attention and my team loved it.

Chicken Wing ended up not scoring again, and we won the game. To this day, I can very clearly remember how pitiful and dejected he looked every time he tried to shoot a one-handed J with my ringer hanging all over him. I got a few punches on my express ticket to hell for that one.

Have a great weekend everyone, and enjoy the games!

Baba Ganoush, OUT.


The Absent Minded Landlord said...

The real question is whether or not that one lame arm haunts your dreams.

Just telling it like it is said...

a coach has got to do what a coach has to do..

Like I tell my son: If you don't win you can't come home..

angry ballerina said...

I'm so glad I hate sports.

Baba Ganoush said...

AML - The Agony of Defeat on his face sometimes makes an appearance during my slumber.

Like It Is - You're pretty hardcore. I plan on just going with a good ole fashion floggin.

AB - There are some out there that claim Ballerinas are athletes. So, you hate yourself? When did this all start?

JLee said...

I especially hate sports when you're trying to sing karaoke and everyone is yelling at a basketball game on tv. So what if it's double overtime? It's just a rubber ball and guys in shorts for crying out loud! ;)

Anonymous said...

The Ringer was freaking hilarious. Betsey is actually a special ed music therapist, so she works with "special" kids every day. Your story is one I will definitely forward her!

sAssY brOwn said...

One of my boyfriends in high school played basketball. I think he might have been on that special team of yours.

Dan said...

I went searching in vain for a Basketball-to-English translation page so that I could understand this post. :) Just teasing.

You are a man on a mission my friend.

angry ballerina said...

Oh that was uncalled for! BTW speak up...

Dr. Stephanie said...

"A few punches on my express ticket to hell" - I love it!