Today was a good day
I went to bed a very happy coach Saturday night.
Saturday was a huge day.
I got to catch up with some former team mates and girls I coached at the Old Girls Afternoon Tea. It was great to watch some of the interactions between the old and the new, and share a few stories.
I was then privileged to coach my U/14 Highfields Rep Team in the Exhibition game against our 16 Panthers. This I loved. I have high hopes for this 16’s team, they are the strong and thriving future for our Darling Downs Regional Netball. They are girls I have watched and shared in their journeys, many from when they were 12 year old Cubs. They are strong, focused and committed. I am very proud of them and cannot wait to see them in action at the State Titles. Then there are the 14 Year Olds. My first year taking this group, and wow, what a great ride we have had this year. 4th in Division 1 at State Titles as a united, beautiful team of hard working young athletes. Everybody who comes through our system know there are no short cuts to success. These kids were shaking in their boots before this match. These are girls that have looked up to to, and worked alongside many of the 16 Panthers through our pathway programs. They showed them respect on the court, and it was reciprocated by a team of girls who take nothing for granted, and know there is always someone knocking at the door. All I will say is, this was a fantastic match displaying an exceptional standard- showcasing how well our programs work. The final score was 44-44. Happy Days!
Onto the main match. Before I go any further, I just need to acknowledge our supporters. 250 people came along to Downlands to support the Panthers in the final home game for 2019. And the game did not disappoint. Our band of loyal supporters were vocal and passionate, and gave everything to will our girls to get over the line. So much has to be said for the power of the home crowd and their belief in their team. Our young, up and coming players witnessed the grit, the heart and the soul that is the Panthers. It means something to be a Panther.
We didn’t get off to a good start. Bond came out of the blocks and it was 4 zip before we blinked. In true Panthers style, we worked the next 5 to 6 minutes playing our own game. Settled, calm and patient to bring the margin back and bring ourselves back into the game, our captain Jane Herrick was a true leader in this match. She led by example, she put her body on the line, she inspired her team mates and held them accountable when needed.
Quarter 1 was the only quarter we lost. And it was by 4.
Bond’s full court defensive pressure was quite intense. The whole game we really had to play a shorter style of game that we aren’t really accustomed to. We utilised our defenders through the mid court. We were patient, and we had great vision. Although we had to work harder, and used more passes and reoffers than usual, I didn’t see the fatigue set in as I have in other games. I would have to say it was the most physically contested game we have played all season. We did predict this, and plan as best we could for it, as Bond have always been renowned for this style of play. The big difference in this game, is that our girls were mentally tough. Each and every one of them that hit the court. They remained focused on the processes, and let Bond scramble to keep pushing for the win as the panic set in for them. Bond’s mistake is that they underestimated us. They were very lucky to take that win.
Out of the remaining 3 quarters we drew one, and won 2. We took some good bonus points out of this game.
Post game we had a really nice team dinner, and I just sat back enjoying the conversations and the banter of this amazing group of girls. Then I had a bit of a moment. I turned to Kenny (Kendell Ross) and I said to her, “I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but why are we so happy with a 1 goal loss? Really, shouldn’t we have won that game?” Kenny just looked at me and laughed, she knows me too well. A one goal loss sucks. I can recall moments in the game, just small ones, where we needed to know how to win. At the end of day, we decide on how to measure success.
That day was a success.