On Saturday the Holy Family Crusaders 4th-5th grade girls' basketball team played the team from Good Shepherd. I forget what they're called. It's not "sheep" or "flock," I'm pretty sure of that. All it said on their jerseys was "Good Shepherd." So much for the fear factor.
We played them at the gym of Holy Name of Jesus School. HNOJ has an enviable parish setup. A new building with a huge vestibule, perfect for after-mass socializing; a library, a "fireside room," (has a gas fireplace- nice!), a "youth room" with overstuffed sofas and big-screen tvs, even something called a "handbell room." Plus the school, of course.
The one thing they apparently felt the need to skimp on was the gym. It is tiny. Parents who want to watch their kids play basketball must squeeze themselves against the walls to keep from being called as extra men on the court. When a ball goes out of bounds it lands in the lap of a lucky spectator. If the spectator is unlucky, it lands in your face.
For DIH nothing quite brings back the old school memories like getting smacked in the kisser with a largish ball. As I recall it happened to me in every major sport. I've been nose-busted by volleyballs, basketballs, soccer balls, you name it. And I never even played any of those sports. The ball just seemed to find me. When I think about it it's no wonder I never played team sports. I was always on the injured list before the season started.
Anyway. HF played GS with glorious results. Out 4th graders kicked the c--p out of theirs. Not bad for a team from a school that doesn't even have a gym. Not to mention a "fireside room." Or a handbell room, or even a handbell.
What we do have is killer instinct. This is no easy achievement for a group of mostly polite little blonde girls from stiffish German Catholic homes. The woman coached the fourth graders last year spent the first six weeks teaching them not to say "oh excuse me" every time they bumped into another player. They still have a ways to go, of course; only one or two of them know how to steal a ball, and they probably feel guilty about it. But still. Progress is progress.
And we won, damn it. GOOOOOOOOOOO CRUSADERS!