Coach Wrice III

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Only cause my Grandfather is the original Coach Wrice, then my dad and uncles…

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of coaching in primary schools around Sheffield and I must say, I really do enjoy it. I never used to be good around kids because I’m not that assertive and so usually a few minutes after meeting people’s children I am getting beat up in a grocery store by 7 year olds or having my shoes stolen by a bunch of elementary school boys at basketball camps (true story). Now, I am getting used to being more vocal and in charge although I still have my moments.

Yesterday, I was coaching at St. Thomas of Canterbury Primary School. It was our third session for their after school club and their fifth session over all. When I walked in the girls ran up to me and told me they had won their competition on Tuesday which was really great to hear, but what was even better was seeing the improvement and excitement in all of them from the things I was teaching them. It takes me back to when I was a kid and I spent hours on my street with my basketball learning how to dribble in between my legs. I remember how excited I was to show my parents my new skill. I remember the feelings of making my first ever basket and falling in love with the game of basketball. Sometimes as we get older, we start to forget. We practice so much we expect to make baskets and win games and we lose that excitement, that feeling of passion from just entering a gym or holding a basketball. The kids are always amazed at how fast I can do ball wraps around my waist or dribble a basketball because, they can’t do it as fast as me, yet. It really does make me appreciate everything I’ve learned playing the game and I think its very important not to lose that love. Recently, I was asked what it is I love about playing basketball and I was taken back by the question, because no one had ever really asked me that before. I had a hard time answering because, I sincerely do love everything about basketball. The wins, the losses that give you the chance to improve, dribbling by someone, throwing a great pass, executing a play, weight training, making shots, watching my teammates do well, playing solid defense and getting a stop. There is so much about the game I can’t name everything obviously, but you get my point. I am very thankful for the opportunity to share my passion with the kids. Whether they decide to play the game or not, its a great reminder of why we still play the game, even when we’re run down or our bodies are exhausted and struggling with injuries.

I’ve also decided to amuse you with some of the things the children say to me when I ask them if they have any questions:

Can you dunk? – I should just say no, but I always have to justify why most women can’t so that the girls don’t feel like they are getting the short end of the stick. Haha but no, I can’t dunk.

The first class I went into was the day after Barack Obama won the presidency again in America so one of the kids shouted ‘Obama’ and another said ‘Your African-American’ to which I replied thank you to both.

How many matches have you played in? – to this I just say I’ve lost count but somewhere in the thousands.

“You’re really tall” – sadly I just say yea, to you guys but I am the shortest on my team. Plus there is usually one girl or boy who is the same height as me which is slightly embarrassing but I’m over it.

Are you married? – Irrelevant. Lol but I tell them no.

Is there racism in basketball? – this question legit stopped me in my tracks. I had maybe two minutes to finish the session and she had asked me a question with at least a 10-15 minute answer. So I said sometimes and tried to quickly explain that basketball usually brings different type of people together and that is why I love playing.

Lastly, I get hugs, which are very nice, but I am always so very awkward about it. Naomi tries to hug me all the time and i do my best to scurry (cause I can’t run) away from her. Imagine 5 girls giving me hugs when I was trying to teach them defensive slides. It was rough but I made it through. (I also told them that if they hug someone in basketball it’s typically a foul, 5 hugs and you are out of the game).

Good day good people!


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