Greetings – checking in from Cork! Things are going well as the second month I’m here is quickly winding down (crazy how fast time goes). I’m writing this on the way to our game against the Liffey Celtics, our third game of the season. We are currently 2-0 (woot woot), coming off of an insanely back and forth super close 1-point win against NUIG last weekend!
School is picking up in intensity with group project after group project. A week from today I had one of many, “how is this my life” moments as I found myself walking around the grounds of an agricultural engineering company a little bit outside of Cork. My class and I are consulting with them on how to innovate their business strategy and got a tour of their test farm (fully equipped with *2* automated cow back scratchers), manufacturing facility, and main office. If someone had told me a year ago today I would be eating homemade Irish scones and sipping tea while discussing potential new target market segments for O’Donovan Engineering to access with the executives of the company, I would have laughed. Alas, somehow, here I am.
On the coaching side of things, my U18 team got our first win! Training is “grand”, always with a lot of laughs due to the apparent language barrier between me and my players. Not sure if it’s just my bizarre word choice or an American thing, but the latest incident of confusion was when I introduced a drill we had done before with a new twist, and described the additional rule as the “wrinkle” of the drill. Let’s just say it took a bit of translation time to get started.
That same training session I experienced what I felt was a rewarding breakthrough “coaching moment” with one of my players who’s very quiet and has not played much basketball before. With a variety of different skill sets and basketball IQs across our team, it’s been somewhat challenging to balance working on skill development and teaching more of the basics of basketball. This day she was especially tired and asked to sit out of the second to last drill of the practice. After pleading and encouraging (begging) her to play, she agreed and, like usual, although she still has not gotten a handle over all of the rules of the game, she put in a ton of effort. To end the scrimmage she got an offensive rebound and scored a put back that probably made me a bit too excited. With just a make a certain percentage of team free throws drill left, she again wanted to grab water and sit down but with a bit of a metaphorical push she got right in line and, to her surprise, made her foul shot! Even though the team didn’t make enough free throws and I in turn had to make them run (*next time*), the smile on her face at the end was plenty for me as a coach.
Ultimately, whether it’s going to an Irish farm or helping girls learn and have fun through my favorite game, there are lots of things to be thankful over here 👍🏽