"All I want for Christmas is....2 home wins...Santa"...Please...

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December 16, 2007 on the road again for our 2nd of two road games...We play one of the top two teams this afternoon on TV, which means we may get a fair and regulated game decided by skill and execution...Right now, the morale of the team is at its lowest after a disappointing loss to Guandong on Friday night...That followed our loss to the Urumqui team at home on Wednesday...Our team is in total disarray as the "system" of bonuses for minutes played, points scored, rebounds, assists, blocks is all predicated upon our ability to win...We had a 6 point lead vs. Guandong on Friday night, early on in the 2nd quarter, only to succumb to our selfish, individual play on defense...My whole point of defense here with this team in the role that I currently represent is that we communicate and matchup with whomever is nearest the ball, forget about where YOUR MAN is, just matchup...Well we made a couple of substitutions and a couple of players decided when the opportunity arose to "score" on their own, our lead evaporated into a 16-2 run that has us reeling to halftime, down by 11 when it was over...We gave up in a matter of 6 mins. 5...yes 5 3 point shots because we didn't matchup and follow the pre game instructions on our TEAM responsibilities...It was so disappointing to have to sit there with a headache already, from a bad cold I picked up from one of our assistant coaches (and I'll tell you how THAT happen later), and to witness the selfish play of a couple of players whose roles are to execute the offense, NOT create 1 on 1 plays for themselves...The GM, whom I have grown to like alot, was so upset after the game, I even UNDERSTOOD his voice inflections and found myself nodding to every word he spoke to the team in our locker room...He was so discouraged by our selfishness and lack of overall effort when we faced adversity...Let me say this, when grown young men live together in a dormitory environment, coupled with contracts that are laced with individual achievements as well as team when we win, it makes for a less-than-trust team environment that soon erodes any principle elements of respect and trust for one another on and off the court...The subplots that exist on this team are real, folks, and yet when we do rarely pull off a win every other week, it seems that everything is honkeedoree, but in reality, it's just a bandaide to the wound that never heals...Parents, listen to me, please, don't get caught up into productivity with your sons and daughters experience with their teams, as it will become a burden if you ask the following questions: "Why don't you shoot more...? Why doesn't the coach run plays for you...? Why don't you play more...? Why aren't you playing such and such position...?"...All these questions are answers that MOST young aspiring Team Players can't answer because they don't know why, meaning that it will create more doubt in the young person's mind as he/she practices daily and suits up for the competitions...Is it easy for me to say this? Yes, indeed it is, because I'm older than most of the Fathers out there with kids playing middle school and high school basketball today...Your greatest reward and gift to your child in their activity is to always praise their efforts and discipline towards trying to be the best Team Player they can with the skills they are developing at this time...Sorry for the "preaching" here, but I am relearning lessons here, in a faraway land that evokes reflections and observations that must be shared with friends, coaches, players and families...

How I caught the "cold" Round II: Let me put it this way...If I didn't blowdry my hair, yes I do have hair on the "backside" of my scalp, Coach Chiang in the last game filled the "role" perfectly...He's had a bad bad two weeks of coughing, sneezing ect., and I have been trying to avoid him at all costs, except that he sits on the bench next to me and that makes me vulnerable as you can imagine...Anyway, at our last home game, he coughed incessantly, on the back of my head, so much so with velocity, that my hair was actually "blowin in the wind"!! He NEVER covered up once, just turned his head, leaned back and glory, I WAS THE CATCHER!! Needless to say, he's a team player as he passed it on to me and for the last 4 days my voice is many decibels removed from authority on helping the players to get up on the wings and push the ball to the sideline/baseline on dribble drives...I've been drinking so much green tea, I think I will be able to understand every Chinese word spoken to me at the end of this campaign...

Okay, now some good ol "Tomfucious" observations on how our players might get better for next season...First off, I think that if the Chinese players took 5 weeks of TAXI driving school in Changchun City, they would all improve their vision, anticipation and READ situations better than they do now...Meaning, that if you ever want to learn how to drive with the "flow" and then some in traffic everyday, watch how Taxi drivers maneuver and wind thru the most difficult traffic jams known to modern traffic in a large city...I mean it's a wonder of the driving world to sit and TRUST that this driver in a small compact car can NOT get hit, or hit another vehicle on his destination...Our players vision is poor in traffic on the court (one of the main reasons for our turnovers) and their anticipation of switches and THEN reading how they can now pass the ball inside to the Post Player who now has a small man guarding him is another example of poor READing while playing...Just a newell thought here on "how" these players may improve their vision...Visualize this: there are 3 lanes both ways on most of the busy streets, yet because of the thousands of TAXIS on the road, they stretch this number into 5 lanes!! Really...no ONE drives inbetween the dotted lines of a lane...This is the norm in most major cities in China...Now, couple that with bicycles, motorcycles, pedestrians jaywalking and STANDING STILL on these lines means that everyone driving a vehicle MUST shift their direction left to right or vice versa...I've yet to see a pedestrian hit crossing the street illegally here...Note to any Policeman from the US visiting China: You will have nightmares thinking about the number of tickets you could write to anyone at anytime for EVERY DOT (Dept.ofTrans.) violation you observe...When I cross the street "illegally", it's usually because the oncoming cars are 20 secs. from impact upon my crosswalk, and I have a pretty good "first, second, third and sprint step" across the street...So much for off court player development...

I will be blogging my Christmas wishes to everyone tomorrow, so I hope you'll come back and read some more...I gotta go now, my hack is reminding me I NEED some green tea...Best wishes and safe travels to all...Coach tom

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