An Unpredictable Time in the Basketball Season

A basketball season for a coach can be broken down into four parts. I’m talking about the games. I’ll leave out all that pre and post-season times when you do all that necessary training in the weight room, the track and on the floor with and without your teammates.
Now that I’m not coaching anymore I can openly admit I really didn’t like that part of coaching, especially at Northwest Missouri State because of NCAA restrictions. The pre-season is supposed to be a time to teach, but the NCAA thinks coaches are evil and limit the time they spend with the athletes they recruited so hard to be part of their program.
I could go on and on about the NCAA restrictions, but I’m just talking about the game portion of a basketball season. The first part is really exciting as you open the curtain to a new season. You might suspect your team will be really good, but you won’t know for sure until that first jump ball is tossed by an official.
You might dread what you are about to see if you had a big graduation loss or if injuries have hit. It’s still exciting, though, because as they say in Casey at the Bat, “Hope springs eternal.”
After Christmas, it doesn’t take long to get into the “dog days” of the basketball season. The grind of games, with bad weather, cabin fever and an endless stream of practices can make the most positive teams go stale.
The last part is the excitement of the post-season. It doesn’t matter what you have done up until that part of the season. Everyone re-sets at a record of 0 -0, just like it was for that opening tip. The teams that can’t wait to get to post-season usually win. The teams that can’t wait to get it over with usually lose.
You might have noticed, but I only listed three parts of the basketball season. The most unpredictable part of the season is the time between when classes are out before Christmas and when classes begin in January.
At Doane College, I dreaded that time because it extended almost all of January. Doane College has a three week period where there the students can take an on-campus class or even a trip, partially sponsored by the school.
It’s great for everyone except the athletic teams. I soon learned that sleeping to noon, taking a three hour class and then trying to play basketball isn’t very easy. Sleeping to noon would make them drag around until late at night when their energy would return.
Anything can happen during that holiday break time. During my third year at Northwest Missouri State, we played a game during break at Rockhurst. I felt we were a lot better team, but lost by double digits.
In the crowd was the Emporia State coaching staff, our next opponents. By all reports, they were laughing it up since they had beaten Rockhurst by over 30 points earlier in the season. They shouldn’t have laughed so soon. The unpredictability of holiday break games came up to bite Emporia.
Three days later, the Bearcats, led by Brook Hogue, went to Emporia and won by double digits. Emporia was a really good team, ranked in the top 10. My Northwest team wasn’t bad, but struggled to a .500 finish. You just can’t predict what is going to happen during holiday break.
Classes started this week at Maryville High School. Next week, it’ll begin at Northwest Missouri State. Between the two male teams, they have one lone loss. If they can come out of holiday break with only that one loss, the dog days of January and February might not be so bad.
Better yet, both teams might be looking forward to the post-season instead of beaten down and ready to pack up for the season. Whatever happens before classes begin, it should be a lot of fun in Maryville between the high school and Bearcat Arena.

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