It’s time for the kids to start basketball again. I’m coaching Emma’s 1st-3rd grade team. The league is sponsored by Cliffview Church of God and is based on the nationwide Upward Organization. I have coached both boys and girls at this age before and I have noticed an incredible difference between the two.
I watched Luke’s practice earlier this week and the coach spent half of his time telling the boys to quit rolling around on the floor, to quit climbing on the basket, and to quit running around like wild men. Watching 1st to 3rd grade boys is like watching stand-up comics on speed. Everything they do is for laughs. Their attention span is about a minute long, so you have to talk quick.
But with the girls, it is completely different. They will actually do what you ask, they listen politely, and they sometimes giggle and laugh when you act stupid. If you act stupid in front of the boys, then they act stupid in return trying to one-up you. But both the girls and boys have loads of fun, just in their unique way. And it is important to keep it fun while teaching them fundamentals about the game.
I really like Upward because of the potential to reach outside of your church. People will come into the league that have never been in church, and you have an opportunity to really provide something special for the community. Upward has a great system for preparing coaches and referees by using both a manual and a dvd. They also stress the importance of respecting authority, which is too often overlooked in sports leagues. And finally you get to learn Bible verses and share devotions each week with the players (and parents at the games) It’s going to be very interesting the next few weeks. But I love it because I get to combine my love of basketball with telling others about Christ, and I get to do it while spending some special time with my kids.