SIMPLE SATURDAY – We bark like dogs. That’s what I told them on Friday night. Forget my repeating the same 10 things I say over and over each game. No pearls of wisdom. Dog barking is now in as our new team cheer in and out of every huddle.
I went into practice last night for some extra strategy and time with boys’ grade 5 team given my conflict with an important family event today and the fact that we’ve been struggling a bit. I taught the kids the details again of how to break a 1-2-2 and a 1-3-1 trap while Geri and Mike worked with a rotation of kids on the shell drill, and begged for someone to show us that they retained anything from Geri’s perfect demonstration of the art of putting a body on someone. Geri and Mike said they were not impressed. I then saw why. So we ended on that big circle of a box out drill that every decent coach knows in basketball where you have to hold your guy or girl from breaking into the circle and touching the ball.
We were not very good, but they seemed to enjoy all the whiffs and failed attempts.
End of practice we wrapped with very clear instructions from me.
I am no longer saying the word toughness or tough. We are either it or we’re not. We either play shell drill man D and box out and protect our yard or we don’t.
On three, we are not going to say Mo’ Motion. We are going to bark like dogs. And we are going to change our mascot (we don’t have one) to the Mo’ Motion junkyard dogs.
J-dogs for short.
“Wait, what do you mean?” one cute child asked. “Bark like dogs?”
Only a private school kids would pose such a question.
I asked one player to give us a sampling.
He scratched his head and said, “Arg?”
Then the real dogs and their ears perked up. They looked at Arg like something was wrong with him.
“Let me do it!” the alpha-ish dogs begged.
I pointed to Aiden, who had just won the boxing out drill with perfect form and grit. He was the only one who actually did in fact box out.
Aiden let out a confident WOOF and spit all over us.
“Excellent. That is one fine bark,” I told him and we all brought it in tighter. “When I say three, we’re all barking one loud bark. One, two, three…”
And they barked. As a group. And we all laughed.
Two boys are assigned to do our inspirational speeches before the games on Sunday and all players are expected to bark out of every huddle.
We play two teams from Harlem.
If nothing else, they will remember us.