In our district, there are only two schools that are big enough to compete in regular 5-on-5 basketball tournaments. The rest of our small schools, including Pilot Point, compete in 3-on-3 tournaments instead. This year, I volunteered to be our schools basketball coach. Our team was tiny, with only one student allowed to travel, but we still practiced hard and flew to two separate tournaments this season. We were paired up with Port Heiden, a neighboring tiny school, in order to have enough players to compete. Our schools played together for over ten games this season (all packed into two short tournaments trips).
Our second tournament was in Chignik Lake, which is even farther south on the peninsula than Pilot Point. By this time, we (my student and I) were much more comfortable with traveling for a tournament. We both knew exactly what to expect, which was good because this tournament was longer. Flying into Chignik Lake was spectacular, the views were unlike anything else I've experienced. The southern part of the Alaska Peninsula has to be some of the most spectacularly untouched wilderness in the world.
I had a lot of fun at this tournament. The scenery itself was a selling point, but the people of this community were wonderful too. They really turned out to fill the stands for the evening games and it was fun to interact with them. We did have one slightly unnerving experience while traveling to the Lake though. By the second day, I was getting antsy for some fresh air and some of the teachers were eager to get out for a hike. Unfortunately, the locals there were uncomfortable with teachers exploring the area because of a tragedy that happened in our district a few years ago. It was requested of us that we only walk in close proximity to the school, so we didn't get to explore much, but I totally understood their reasoning. With their request in mind, we stayed close to the school, just exploring the beach that was nearby, and still got to enjoy the beauty of the area.
The weeks that we spent traveling for basketball will be weeks that I will never forget. I learned so much about the intense love of basketball that our students have, as well as so much about their individual cultures and homes. I'm so happy that I got the opportunity to coach this year and I hope that I get to continue to do it in the future.
Your turn...Have you ever coached a sport?
Currently listening to...Oceans & Streams - The Black Keys
**Some of the tournament/game photos were taken from the LPSD Facebook and Cutterlight Photography pages. Thank you to everyone who shared photos from the tournament!!**