As I lined up to shake hands after my first game as the sophomore head coach, I made one big realization: It was over before I knew it.
My team, the St. Joseph Catholic High School Jayhawks, had gotten down early as we faced the Rockwell Marshalls, but this inexperienced group of freshmen and sophomores learned from their early mistakes as they chipped away at a 17-point lead. My Jayhawks cut the lead to three late in the game, but just couldn't quite come all the way back as we fell by five.
I've covered many games at the collegiate and even professional level over my time as a sports writer for the Deseret News. I'd always heard that the game started out quick for those adjusting to a sport like basketball. It never occurred to me just how quick.
When writing a sports article of a live sporting event, even when doing a live blog that requires constant updates, there's still time for the writer to analyze what's going on at almost a leisurely pace. There's nothing leisurely about calling plays, managing substitutions, keeping track of fouls and timeouts, making in-game adjustments among the seemingly dozens of other things going on at once. And this was with the help of head coach Cameron Wood and JV coach Robert Emenger.
I've heard that the game will slow down with more experience. All I've got to say is that this rookie sophomore coach certainly hopes so. It also gives me that much more respect of coaches at the college and professional level who process all that information in a much, much quicker game.
But for as short as the game seemed, I also saw progress.
Naturally, we've been covering the fundamentals of basketball to these young players. Coaches naturally don't want to telegraph what they've been going over in practice, particularly with the season in full swing. Suffice it to say that it was most gratifying to see the proverbial light bulb go on as they learned to apply what we've been going over in practice.
That's been one of the sweetest things I've experienced in my short time as a coach.
Also, for as short as the game seemed to me, I found how relieved I was to sit back down in support of coach Emenger and coach Wood in our upcoming JV and varsity games. And frankly, I was also surprised how quickly both of those games seemed to fly by as well.
Here's looking forward to a great rest of the season at St. Joseph.
Lafe Peavler is a sports strategist for the Deseret News and KSL.com. Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.