Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On To State!

Well I had another blog post ready to go for today, but after last night, I just HAD to come home and type up another one.

Jay is an assistant coach for a girls basketball team at nearby school. They played a basketball game last night and won, which qualifies them to be in the state tournaments!!!

ON TO STATE! ON TO STATE! ON TO STATE!

You have to try to understand just how big of a deal this is around here. Here in Iowa, we don't have a pro baseball team, or a pro football team, or a pro basketball team. Most people don't get to many college games either. So we are very into our high school sports, and to make it to state in any sport is a huge deal. I mean HUGE!

They sometimes close schools and businesses so people can attend and cheer on the participants! THATS how big of a deal it is.

Jay played basketball on a team that made it to the state tournaments when he was in high school (back in 1984). Then he coached a team that made it to state when our girls were barely a year old (1991). The head coach for this team that just made it is named Mike. Mike and Jay are very good friends. Mike was a senior on that 1991 team, which Jay helped coach. Talk about coming full circle.

Before Jay started coaching at this rival school, he helped coach at our school. There were serious issues that Jay had regarding the head coaches ethics, values and integrity, and while everyone around complained about it, nothing was ever done. Rather than fighting it, Jay just turned in his keys and walked away. Feeling forced to do that hurt him more than anything else. He loves working with the kids and helping them, and he hated having to leave them.

When a couple of different coaching positions came open at our school, he applied but was always turned down. We felt a message was being sent, but we also knew that when one door closes, somewhere God opens a window. Jay knew he just had to wait for it. When Mike started coaching at this other school, he begged Jay to come coach with him. This was his window.

And now they are going to the state tournaments, while the other coaches are having to just sit back and watch since they didn't make it. He's been quietly validated, and I couldn't be happier for him! He's an amazing coach who has a way with those kids and they know that he truly cares about them.

During the starting line ups.

Before the start of the 2nd half.
You could read the nervousness in the coaches faces.


This sums up the tension better than I could. We had a player at the free-throw line. If she made her shots, it would clinch the game for us, because the other team wouldn't have enough time left to catch up. You can almost hear this girl pleading for the ball to go through the net.

The final buzzer sounded....which was when
I was finally able to breathe again.

Here you can see the TV cameras on some of the students and the players after the game. They were all cheering "On To State! On To State!"

In this picture, Jay is being congratulated by different people, and if you were able to see closer, you could see that he has tears in his eyes. He is a quiet, humble man who will give credit to everyone else before himself. I know those tears are tears of pride in the girls on the team and the other coaches.

Both Ashley & Chelsea came back from their colleges to help cheer on their dad, and Austin went with me to the game. Jays cousin has kids who attend the rival school, so during half-time we did a quick cousin shot. If you're wondering about the bunny ears, I can't help you. We all wondered too...including his mom. LOL

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's awesome!!!! Congratulations, Jay and all the R-S girls! :)

Love,
Debi, Steve, & boys

Anonymous said...

Congrats to ALL - know how great a feeling this can be for the school and town - once again congrats and
will be following them.

sara said...

that is so great! I could feel the tension in the pictures!!!

Congrats!

Nicole said...

You got the entire night, emotions and all in these photos. I had the chills just looking at them again, until I got to those damn bunny ears. Did you notice they were on Channel 8 news, as T game them to one of the BB Girls???

N

Marian J. Olive said...

Darn it, I dozed off before the Sports last night! Thanks for the great photos and play by play, Dena! What a great cousin pic and how super that it's ON TO STATE! See you there! I'm so proud of Jay