Yesterday, I had a very rare first in my basketball life. I coached a high school basketball game. The JV 2 team (also known as Freshmen) for Foxcroft Academy.
I’ve broadcast thousands of games, refereed several hundred, including many high profile tournament games back in the day, coached youth and middle school level, but up until yesterday, I have never been a high school head coach on the sidelines.
Let’s first get this out of the way. We lost the game by 25 points to Brewer (coached by Mark Savage, former Brewer varsity coach and a really good guy). We are young. We have small numbers, but the players played hard until the end, and with practice, we will get better.
Here are my random thoughts from the game. I love the coaching box. I have 28 feet to roam the sidelines. I can talk to my players and pace off nervous energy. Also, I’m proud to say I never said anything to the officials other than to ask for timeouts and make a little small talk down the sidelines. I coach, they referee. They will make more right calls during the game than I will, so I leave them alone. My team had a better second half. That proves you can make a few adjustments at the half, and open things up.
As I wrap this up, while I was sitting in the head chair waiting for the opening tip, I thought of all the coaches that I had growing up, and how much time they put into making me a better basketball player, but more importantly, a better human. I thought of my YBA coaches, Gayle Allen, Bill Kimball, and Rod Kennedy. I thought of my middle school coach, my dad, Shawn Nelson (who could have been a heck of a high school coach, but the opportunity just never came), and my high school coaches, Gary Sinclair, John Clark, John Pullen, and Pete Caruso. You all help shape me, and I thank you for that. I still keep in close contact to several of them, and you guys are the best.
So, my team will get better and maybe a win or two will come our way. Either way, I can check off another first on my list after this weekend.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. We have a ton of stuff to be thankful for.