At AAU Nationals, 10U Green Takes Home
3rd Place in D-II Classic Bracket
A defining moment…..
I stood with my co-coach, Stuart Van Houten on Wednesday afternoon, our Matrix 10U Green team just having lost in the first round of the Championship Bracket, and in front of us were 10 tired and dejected young ladies, distraught over our tournament results to that point (1-2 in the pool round of tournament in addition to the defeat that day). Stuart and I were truly scratching our heads at the results so far, the girls having fought hard and having played admirably (though certainly not without our issues), and yet coming up on the short end so often.
In my post game “speech”, I told the girls that our success will not be defined by whether we win or lose, but rather if the people from around the country at this tournament look at us and see what good sportsmanship we demonstrate, how talented we each are, how hard we fight, and most importantly what a tremendous TEAM we can be. I said that we didn’t need a medal to reward our efforts, but instead to just know that we have played the way we are capable, and represented ourselves, our families and the Matrix organization the best way possible.
What happened from that moment forward was truly amazing.
The Matrix Green team went on to defeat a solid Wilmington Tigers team fairly soundly 28-18 to advance to the Final Four of the Classic Bracket, and then play about the best game I have ever seen against an extremely tall and talented Louisiana Wildcats team (the eventual Classic Bracket champions), only to fall 4 points short in the last minutes 34-30. Our final game included significant contributions from every player including stifling team defense to shut down an excellent center who had about 3 inches on our tallest player, court awareness and passing that lead to easy baskets time and time again, and heart and determination that provided us a large advantage in rebounding and loose balls. Most significant was the way that the team pulled together against great adversity, supported and picked each other up, and relied and trusted in their teammates the way that championship teams do. The girls had shown the country what they were truly capable of! We also found out that 2 of the teams we had battled with in pool play were in the Final Four of the Championship bracket, which made our prior results feel a bit better.
But perhaps as enjoyable as that final game’s effort, was watching the girls spend the week together. Whether it was locking arms to help each other over their fear of roller coasters, sharing tastes of sushi in front of the “flaming volcano”, curling up on the sofas with comfort food and episode after episode of SpongeBob Squarepants, playing games in the pool and hide-and-seek in the hallways at the hotel, or singing at the top of their lungs on the team bus going to games, the girls really had a terrific time together, as a team.
There are only a few things that I can remember from when I was 10 or 11 years old, and I think we may have created one of those things for each of the girls on this Matrix Green team. This is what I strive for every day as a parent, and why I coach. So, thanks to Jim and Liz and the Matrix organization for providing us these opportunities to play together. Thanks to the parents for supporting your kids with the team, and especially the for the crew in Orlando for cheering the team on and making the experience truly incredible --- you guys really got to witness something special. And most of all, thanks to Seema, Simran, Kelsey, Hope, Sarah, Melissa, Kimberly, Kat, Shae and of course my daughter Ellie, for the effort and the memories --- as Tao Cruz would say, you guys were truly Dy-na-mite!!!!
- Coach Buckley
Last updated: August 7, 2010.