BY:  Coach Wayne Caldicott

This season saw The Emanuel Lutheran Saints Basketball team struggle with their new line up. As per usual, former players leaving us due to graduation, and them being team MVP’s, leaves big sneakers to fill.  We had to find a consistent scorer and a point guard to handle the main two responsibilities…and we did…

 

Let me start there…. we brought our young stars Hunter; Kevin; Luca, Patrick, and Anastasia for full time duties…and we added Kyle and Athena to the returning players Paul; Aiden, Maddy and Alexandra…unfortunately Kaile was not able to compete much due to the arm and leg injuries she sustained, and then Alex broke her arm at gymnastics and missed the last few games…

So the Saints competed in 6 games, VS-ing Our Savior, and two private Schools: Bridges Academy and Lauren HillThe Saints were led by outstanding efforts by top scorer and rebounder Paul Salamone who relished his new role as the Biggest, Tallest, and Strongest player on the Saints team. I think the Middle School would agree that Paul’s efforts to improve his game while in PE classes was evident in games played. Paul averaged a Double-Double (points and rebounds) which in Scholastic, College and the Pro Game would make him an All-Star… I would say Paul would have been a candidate for the “Leagues” first team All Stars if we were to make that team…. Following Paul, at the guards, Maddy, Aiden and Hunter shared the point guard position. They each had nice passing plays and kept the ball moving so others could get shots off. Kyle and Athena demonstrated some nice rookie play by getting rebounds and adding a few points each game…And our young players slowly gained their confidence and stability in game play during the course of the season…

Modification of tactics and rules allowed each team in our “League” to bring a co-ed team to the floor and play a competitive game. I thanked each school’s coaches for their attention to our player’s levels, our line-up on the floor and to our youth so that players we faced were evenly matched. In the past seasons, we had to modify our tactics to match the VS team’s players and this year, they reciprocated that to us…

As is the case with most teams, we continued to gel as a unit, and we steadily improved with each game… The road parents and home team attendance by the parents and siblings of the players enabled our team to feel confident and the love for them as they competed…

Let me tell you a little sidebar story now… we went to Our Savior for game 5, and without our #1, Paul... it was a re-scheduled game and he had Confirmation Class to attend…

From my earliest days of coaching til today, when you lead a team, you have to expect sickness, injuries and the X Factor of what could go right or wrong… so on that day, March 24th’ we entered Our Savior with a medium height team, and we had to share the responsibilities that Paul usually did….what we all saw was something exciting but not unexpected…

Hunter Eye stepped up and led the team! People who work with and the students who play with Hunter know he is “A Beast” when it comes to doing, well, most anything. He competes, with his opponents as well as his classmates, and mostly himself….his insatiable desire to Win, dominate or find success shows up in nearly everything he does… On this day, he dominated our game play. He led the team with 8 points, grabbed rebounds, got slammed in the head, got up and played till the final whistle sounded… a very impressive feat of determination, desire and athleticism…we did our best to contest with their tall players and we found a way to go from down 13 points to get it to 6 points with 4 minutes to go… which leads me to this….

We were underdogs all season, we did not have enough skills to match the VS team’s levels but we battled, we worked hard, we tried with all of our internal and athletic strengths. We found that winning games is a goal but the losing was manageable due to the fact that we did it together, for each other and managed to stay competitive….

Before each game, Maddy, Paul or I led the team in a prayer, to ask Jesus to support us, for Thanks in giving us the chance to represent ourselves, our team and Emanuel in competition and to help us demonstrate the character of a Christian Athlete… we were blessed by that support and we did a good job demonstrating the character that you, our supporters, the  parents of the players and our school mates expect ….

As we close this season, let’s remember that most players who play sports do not go on to college by getting scholarships, and that all of our players need to be academically sound…the lessons we learn by joining a cooperative, a group that has organizational values, that stresses character development and sportsmanship is a way to express yourself physically and mentally in balance with your personality. We took the risk of losing a game to further our self-development, to experience team work, to share in each other’s glory and hardships, to value each one of our group’s assets and to help them with their weaknesses is a wonderful and exciting experience… Our focus was evident as our players looked forward to each game even though the result was uncertain…

I am sure that all of the readers, and the entire congregation would like to congratulate the players for their efforts, and extend that sentiment to the parents of the players who do so much for their children. We all agree that Emanuel, in our little schoolhouse, is a very special place. It’s only a small aspect, but the team sport activities are special… and important…

 

Philippians 4:13

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.