“You know, if your daughter and her daughter…” I said while pointing to the woman on the other side of me “work some magic on the doll, perhaps they can convince her to play again next season…” I said to the coach’s wife last night. We were sitting on horribly bad bleachers, watching our daughters play the best team from our division all year long (the last time we played them, we lost 35-18) in a game that didn’t mean anything other than a chance to play a few additional games. “Why wouldn’t she play? She’s playing so well out there…” The coach’s wife asked. Smiling back at her I replied, “Because basketball involves being more aggressive than the doll is used to.” “But for a first year player, she’s done very well” the other mom added. “Yes and if your girls continued to encourage her then…maybe …” I said with a smile.

As the game wore on, our little 4 (wins)-8 (loss) team hung tough. For a while we held a four point lead until their best player got hot and the all of a sudden they had a four point lead. My husband who was unable to attend most of her games sat next to me perturbed; my constant shouts of “DEFENSE!! ARMS UP LADIES ARMS UP!!” annoyed him. The coach’s wife smiled and said to my husband, “You’re just like me quiet, contemplating…” “Yes…she’s loud!” He replied looking at me with a crooked grin. “You knew what you were getting into twenty-what, six or seven years ago…deal with it” I said with a laugh then went back to yelling “DEFENSE!! DEFENSE!!”

We held a two point lead with under a minute to go. “NO FOULS NO FOULS!!” the coach and I shouted. Yet, when in the thick of things, stuff happens. The little girl from the other team stepped up to the foul line to take two shots. “The good news here is that little girl hasn’t hit a shot all day…” I made the mistake of saying out loud. The coach’s wife looked at me and said, “Now that you’ve said that Marsha she’s going to make them” and darn if she weren’t right. TIED again.

OVERTIME: You know when you are really excited about something how your palms sweat? I think all the adults in the building had sweaty palms. We were all taking turns yelling at the lousy officiating that affected both teams. Granted this game didn’t really mean much more than pride-but our scrappy play pushed us ahead…all we needed to do was slow things down, run down the clock. One look over at the doll, as she sat on the bench-the only sub on the team, she nervously twitched her legs saying over and over to herself, “Come on, come on, come on…” Yet momentum at times cannot be quelled and in a last second shot, the other team scored and tied the game again.

OVERTIME #2: One of our best players fouled out! The doll needed to step up her defensive game, keeping the girls from getting the ball inbound or from getting the ball at all. She shot a nervous smile at us and we laughed. “She’s getting more than she bargained for..” We both laughed, our palms were drenched from watching such a tough game. Then their best player fouled out as well. When the time ended we were still tied 22-22.

SUDDEN DEATH: Who ever scores first wins the game. Both teams were in the bonus which meant any little foul gave them a free foul shot. We traded shots to the hoop, yet nothing was falling in. Then without warning a whistle came that our girl was pushed as she picked up the ball. From our seats I thought she walked…but on reflection, she may have walked as the result of a push. Dribbling the ball a few times she relaxed, took her shot and through the hoop the ball went. Pandemonium ensued. I looked at the coach’s wife and said “Oh My we won the game we won the game!!” As you can imagine we were ecstatic. The girls all rushed and congratulated the girl who made the shot (not a usual scorer). While the officiating left much to be desired, on both ends, our team played with such gritty, scrappy determination…we left extremely proud of their accomplishment.

And who knows….? This win might be what convinces the doll to play next year… (crossing my fingers)


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