I don’t think I could’ve guessed how much I’d miss the kiddos while I was gone at home! I got back to Dublin on a Sunday, and on Thursday I was asked to help coach a session for the Dublin U16 girls team. Most of those girls I hadn’t met before, but just being back at the Oblates gym was fantastic! I was so happy to see all the girls I coach and to hear about their holidays. At the Dublin U16 training, I got to spend nearly an entire hour with 14 guards, drilling them in all the things I could think of. I don’t think I ever fully appreciated the skill and patience it must take to run a three hour practice the way my coaches back home used to do it… There were days that I used to wish I was in their shoes, coaching rather than running down and back and down again. But now that I’ve experienced just a taste of real coaching, it’s not as easy as I would have thought. Sure, it’s not so physically demanding as actually playing, but it’s pretty mentally taxing. I was tired after just one hour of telling those girls what to do! But what a blast it was to feel like I was actually helping them learn! Most of them had never heard of a rip-through or a triple-threat stance. And some had never been taught the right footwork to get a jump shot off quickly. I loved being able to show them those things!
I can’t exactly explain it, but there’s something about leaving a place for a while that makes it feel more like home when you return. My break in the U.S. was much needed, but I think the feeling I had upon returning to the Oblates gym was something that I may’ve needed even more. It made me realize that I love helping coach those girls, even though sometimes it feels like I never get to leave the gym. The kindness of the people I returned to at the gym was a great reminder that it’s possible to feel like you belong somewhere even if it’s not your “home.”