I've never had the privilege of playing on a girls's basketball team. A REAL girls' basketball team.
Oh I did once, in my twenties, and it was too temporary and too small of an effort to learn anything valuable: a women's church basketball season, created for a short burst of camaraderie and exercise.
We were so bad that when we played against the Polynesian team and when I made one basket from the free throw line, our only point of the game, the other team's fans cheered for us. And then, the point didn't count because I'd stepped over the line. The defeat was so embarrassing that when the coach and his wife got in a fight and she stormed out the door mid-game, it became even more so-we were now down to four players.
As I watch from the bleachers, I see your privilege. I sense you feel it too, though true appreciation and understanding may not come for years. When it does come, you will look back with fondness--for each other, for your coach, for your passion.
So much of life is looking back, and it's the strength in those moments that help us look and move forward. It's where the I can do its come from in doubt and darkness.
You will remember the sweat, the sacrifice, the push to be better. The knowing of what your team is thinking without speaking. Your purpose was one, your purpose was to work together. You knew what team work meant.
How can I know all this without having experienced it myself? Because I saw it, so clearly, in you.