Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Canadian Down Syndrome Awareness Week: The Little School that Could!

This is a little off topic tonight but I'd love to share the story of my older daughter T's basketball team. This is the kind of community that K will grow up in. They say it takes a village to raise a child & I'm proud to call this village mine! The spirit is incredible & it is just the kind of community that will help guide & support K & teach her that anything is possible.

Again, this is being posted late.  I wrote this last spring & forgot to hit post. I hope you enjoy the story of The Little School That Could!

People often don't really understand them I tell them how small our school is. We have 8 junior high girls - that's it, just 8 & that's a pretty average year. In order to have a team for volleyball or basketball everyone has to play.

Our older 3 girls also ski race & weekends like this one are hard. It the finals for basketball & my girls know they need to be responsible to the team however T is having a great ski race season too. She started out the season with a gold medal finish & has continued to place fairly well for the most part although just at the last race she slipped into 3rd place. This weekend is a 2 day race at a hill she enjoys & tends to do well at. It would be a great opportunity to move back up on the standings................ but she'll be playing basketball. T will make the Sunday race when basketball is done but will not start on Saturday.

Because of the small size of our school & the fact that everyone plays the team is always made up of girls of all shapes & sizes. One is tall but 3/4 are under 5 feet. Some are athletic & love sports while others might prefer a different pastime were they not so needed & appreciated. We also always have one of the younger teams as our team is made up of a mixture of  Jr. high students & often a few are pulled up from middle school just to have enough to make a team. All the girls though regardless of size, age ability, & any other factor that could affect the success of a junior high basketball team are just that. A part of the team. In fact, they are part of one of the 2 smallest schools on the league &........part of a undefeated basketball team!!!!!!

All through the regular season & now past the first level of the playoffs they have not lost a game.

There is a local round of playoffs then one higher level. It is day one of the 2nd level championship & they won again!

What is remarkable to me is that you would not look at this team & think "Wow - they look so competitive" because they don't but they have played much bigger, competitive looking teams & won.

As the girls made their way through the regular season win after win & then into the post season I've pondered. Why are they able to pull off win after win?

- they have truly become a team

- the girls communicate well

- they've known each other since they started school & are so familiar with each other that they often seem to just know where their teammates are on the court at any given time.

- they have coaches who believe in them

- I truly believe that a part of it has to be the parents & community too. This final round of games is at a town that is over 2 hours from home. The 14 players are being accompanied by 13 parents. My husband would have been number 14 but we had to conquer & divide this weekend as our oldest daughter is playing in the high school basketball finals. The only reason that the kids outnumber the parents is that several families have 2 kids playing. It is this way any time there is a school event - our kids know we are there for them. When we are at an away game & still have the largest cheering section. I'm sure our kids hear us & know how strongly we support them & our school.

Besides that, I'm really not sure why they are doing as well as they are but what I do know is that it's the spirit of cooperation & teamwork that has brought them this far. They are a wonderful example of what can happen when everyone learns to work together & has the full support of a tiny but powerful community behind them!

Todays the final day. Wish us luck!

Footnote:  the girls continued to play amazingly well but lost their first & final game at the same time.  They played a very good game & it was close but exhaustion was setting in after playing with such a small team all weekend & they were up against a team with an overflowing bench who had 40 girls come for tryouts!  Well played girls - 2nd place is amazing & we are all so incredibly proud of you!

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