This past Friday I had the opportunity to practice with the girls basketball team here at Ichikashi. Despite the fact that my legs don't move as quickly as they used to and I had to take a water break every 5 minutes...I had an absolute blast sharing my love of basketball with these incredible students.
How rad is it that we don't even speak the same language and yet nothings stops us from playing a seamless game of 5 on 5, or running a good three-man-weave together, or giving each other high fives after a good run through?! You gotta love the beauty and universal language of sports.
A few things I learned while practicing with the team:
-The school's anthem is sung at the beginning of every practice. The girls stand in a circle and shout the song at the top of their lungs! Incredible.
-The practice is NON STOP. There is only one girls basketball team here (as opposed to the states where we have Frosh-Soph, JV, and Varsity) so all 20 girls practice together. This means more full court drills to make sure everyone is getting a good run in. We did 5 man weave up, back, up, back more times that I can count and in between every round the girls do sit up and push ups to ensure that they're continuing to work hard.
-THEY ARE FAST. Oh my word. I could hardly keep up with them...these girls are like cheetahs out there on the court sprinting from one side of the court to the next and all over the place before I have time to lift my head up and move my right foot forward!
-In proper Japanese fashion, they bow after every practice. The whole team lines up on the sideline and bow to the court saying "THANK YOU VERY MUCH" ...and then they all run to the coach and bow once more to him.
Practicing with the team brought back so many good memories for me. Late night workouts in Saxon hall, away tournaments, team rivalries, shooting drills and passing drills, and just growing up on the bball court with the best teammates and families you could ask for. So thankful for my childhood growing up loving the game and my heart is so full knowing that I can share the love of basketball with these students!
God is good!