Sunday, March 2, 2014

SOLSC #2 - By Her Side

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My daughter, Megan, played basketball for ten years, so many hours during those ten years were spent in a gym.  Yesterday, I was back in the gym with that rhythmic sound of a ball bouncing on the hardwood, the smell of sweaty kids and stinky shoes and socks, and parents yelling in the stands.  But this time, I was watching Megan on the other side - the coaching side. 

Megan grew up with a basketball in her hand and my sister, Janis, by her side.  Janis was the girls' high school coach, and Megan could always be found watching from the bleachers.  Megan could tell you every player, her position, and her number.  Those girls were her heroes, and she couldn't wait to wear that "Lady Alices" uniform. Basketball was her life, and my sister played a huge part of that.

Janis retired from coaching when Megan was in the fifth grade.  After she made the announcement, she came to our house to tell Megan.   Megan cried and cried.  Her dream was to play for my sister.  I know Janis's decision to retire was not an easy one to make because of this special relationship with Megan.  I remember sleeping with Megan that night, trying to comfort her as she cried herself to sleep.  She was devastated.

Much to our delight, Janis ended up coaching Megan during her middle school years on a travel team.  It wasn't school ball, but she was her coach.  Again, Janis was by her side.

When Megan became a freshman, Janis came out of retirement and became the assistant coach.  I think she felt as if she had let Megan down when she retired, and she wanted to become a part of her high school career.  Once again, Janis was by her side.  

I remember watching Megan run out onto the court that first time as a varsity player.  This was her dream.  This was what she wanted to do since she was a little girl.  Sadly, for many reasons, that dream did not turn out as she expected.

This year Megan and I went to a high school game.  Sitting next to Megan, I watched her as a spectator once again.  I asked, "Do you miss it?"

"A little."

"Do you see yourself down there someday?"

She smiled and answered, "I left some unfinished business on that court."

Megan is in her third year of college and wants to become a teacher and a coach.  Megan and Janis are now coaching my niece's travel team together.  Megan still has a basketball in her hands and my sister is still by her side.  This time as a mentor.

I look forward to the day when this comes full circle.  Megan coaching from the sidelines - finishing that business she left on the court, and my sister in the bleachers watching her protégée...forever by her side.

Megan watching her team during warm-ups.


  1. What a wonderful story! You show clearly how important those people around us are, and what a lasting legacy they can leave. I am sure Megan will leave a legacy to those that come after her (like her cousin).

  2. Leigh Anne,
    I love sports and the passion they inspire. The relationship created with the game is not just playing; it's the sounds, the uniforms, the smells, the coaches. I think those hours in the gym create something special in a person. Something your daughter will keep alive with your sister by her side. Lovely post!

  3. What an inspiring story of growth, inspiration and mentorship.

  4. What a great story. The bond between your daughter and your sister is a special one for both of them.

  5. What a beautiful story! Basketball brought those two together in so many ways. I'm glad they are still able to love it together in different ways. I spend yesterday in a middle school gym, too, but it was filled with the sounds of string instruments!

  6. Family, love, basketball, and connections - your post has it all, Leigh Anne. I love that last picture - Megan looks every inch the coach.

  7. A beautiful story between two special women in your life. I can hear the love in your writing for both of them and know what a special bond they have developed over the years and will continue to have. Thanks for sharing your daughter and sister with us.

  8. My husband was a high school basketball coach for a number of years and I still get a tiny thrill whenever I walk into a gym. I love the bond Megan and Janis have formed over the years. This was fun to read.

  9. What a sweet slice. Your line, "that dream did not turn out as she expected," will stay with me for awhile.

    I feel like the story in many ways has already come full circle. You must enjoy watching the two together.

    Congrats to Megan on her new place on the basketball floor.

  10. What a lovely story of family connections - it will be a pleasure to see it come full circle. How lucky that Megan has had Janis by her side for this journey. I loved your description of that gym. It put me right back in my high school gym!

  11. Oh, I LOVE this story! I am an aunt (don't have any kids of my own) and I'm hopeful to have close relationships like this with my niece and nephew. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  12. I love the full circle of this slice and seeing Megan and your sister on the court and coaching from the sidelines. Very special that relationship must be. I loved Megan's line: "I left some unfinished business on that court." Drive and determination, I can hear it. She's going to be a fantastic coach. How lucky she is to have you and your sister's love to light her way.

  13. Love reading your story about intergenerational family connections around basketball and educations. What a gift.

  14. This is beautiful! What a special relationship your daughter and sister have, they are blessed to have this close bond. I love that your daughter is on track to take care of that unfinished business.