Thursday, December 09, 2010

Hitting Bottom Helps Sometimes

I didn't think it would ever happen.  I turned off the TV last night BEFORE the end of the ZAGS vs. COUGS basketball game.  The action was, indeed, bittersweet and painful.  

Of course, we support WSU, except when they're playing the ZAGS.

So, the game had a good ending for one of our regional teams, but I'm sure it turned into a never-ending public nightmare for Coach Mark Few, his staff, his squad and the fans. 

Congratulations to the COUGS.  They have a fine team this year----and one very outstanding player, Klay Thompson.

For the ZAGS, this loss had to be more than dismal.  After all, over the years they've gone from Cinderella team which eventually evolved into one of the nation's NCAA basketball powerhouses.  

In fact, I'll bet that many ZAGS fans can't even remember far back enough to have seen the Bulldogs lose four games this early in the season.

I have faith, though.  

Having been a teacher and an adviser of young people, I know from experience there's soul searching going on at Gonzaga this morning,  along with some creative thinking on just "how we're gonna fix this mess."

The worst situation I can ever remember,  while working with a team,  occurred in the mid-'70s when one of our Ponderette Drill Team performances did not go so well.  

And, that's an understatement. 

Rather than using the SHS band, the girls were performing to a song called "The Hustle" on a tape recorder.  At the time, band music for the song was not yet available.

In a noisy gym, those tape recorders of the '70s could hardly overpower crowd noise.  When the drill was set to begin,  the marchers could not hear the music. 

They did their best, but let's just say their best rivaled that first seven minutes of last night's basketball game when the ZAGS had not yet scored a point against WSU.

I stood there that night at an opening near the locker room, agonizing for every single marcher as they fumbled their way around the gym floor for what had to be the longest three minutes of their lives. 

I also listened to a couple of teenage fans from the opposing school standing near me comment, "Gol, their drill team's even shittier than our drill team."

That's when I turned around and walked back to the locker room----to be there when my girls came through the door, knowing it was gonna be tough to reassure them.  Again, an understatement.

The captains and I did our best to soothe all the raw emotions inside the locker room, trying to find a positive twist, telling them how proud we were that they at least stuck with it and finished the job.

We left the school (through back doors) that night with plans to get together over the weekend and figure out the next steps to recovery. 

We came up with a plan, with a great marching song, which the band could play. If memory serves me, I believe it was the theme to "Hogan's Heroes." 

The captains designed a drill, easy to learn and impressive to watch.  I gave the girls a good pep talk as we began practicing again and encouraged them to envision success.

Three weeks later, the Ponderettes took the floor again during a basketball halftime and pulled off one of the best drills they'd ever performed.  

This time they raced to the locker room,  overjoyed, hugging one another and overcome with pride.  The rest of that particular year escalated into one of the most successful seasons the Ponderettes had ever known.

I have no doubt that we'll see something similar from our ZAGS.  Hitting bottom hurts, but sometimes spending some time there and mulling over the situation can create a hunger that knows no bounds.

Go ZAGS.  We know you can rebound. And shoot.  And win.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The consistent vulnerability that Gonzaga has is an inability to defend against the 3-point shot. This has been a weakness in their defense for some time (Remember Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament last year). All four of their losses this year have been against teams that found 3-pointers against the Zags to be easy marks. Beyond that, they're tentative in their ball-handling. When they pass, they're not doing it with confidence, so they're taking the leather off, giving time to the opposing team to react. They have the appearance of a team that hasn't played together much. Position for position, they're the most talented team that Gonzaga has had. But they miss Matt Bouldin more than they know.

Don't know much about BB, but know less about drill teams (unless they're military reviews).