Spider's web has finally begun to "spun"...

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Wednesday, October 4...Team Picture Day...and the day that Spider "graduated" from Pastry School to Technical School...

As a coach of any team, any sport, any time, you always hope and wish that talented players on your roster play the game with a sense of maturity and discipline that complements their athleticism, all the time not knowing "if" the light will ever take effect...Ladies and Gentlemen, my former students/players, fellow colleagues, I wish to tell you that a miracle has indeed happened!! Spider Monkey (his chosen nickname from many years ago) has "arrived"...He approached me today and through the wonderful translation of Pancake, my Chinese national translator, Spider sat down next to me, very closely, and with his hands and eyes (making direct contact with me) apologized 3 times about his lack of respect for what we were trying to do as a Team, and again for not taking the game seriously as he should and would I please accept his apology and help him be a better basketball TEAM player...Wow!! Now, those of you who 'know' me, know that I probably got goose bumps, felt like a tear or two well up, and just thanked God for the prayers being answered regarding this young man's plight on our team...My discipline, encouragement and constant reminders to eliminate the bad, lazy habits on defense (reaching in on the ballhandler, getting beat over the top because of a lack of push point discipline that should have carried over from practice to games), was now established in this young man's mind and he completed this confession by explaining that "I believe we will be in the Top 3 in the CBA and I want to be part of that, coach..."...I told him that I really like him as a person and that he is fun to be around UNTIL he steps on the court or in the locker room and then he continues to act "like you're 15 years old and NOT 25, soon-to-be 26...that for us to contend for any success, we need you as a capable Point/Guard/Leader and I want to help you become the best Team Player you've ever been this season..."...He said "thank you" and I reciprocated the same, and then shook his hand and hugged him before his peers...It was that act alone that I will reflect and say later "the defining moment" of acceptance as coach of this team...It was a wonderful, contrite gesture, that, honestly, I have had the experience before coaching in the NBA and working with high school and college players who at one time or another made the game "personal" and chose not to accept discipline as element to personal and team success...

Will follow this up with today's practices...This morning's, Thursday, was a wonderful session, and I am just a gigglebug right now, because the "light" is on in our gym now and for a coach in a dark tunnel a week ago, it's mighty fine and fun to see the path before us...clearer that is...Coach tom

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