My Last Team

The 2010 Irvine Jets Girl's sixth grade all stars

Since I moved to Orange County 13 years ago, I have been involved with both of my children’s endeavors in a number of ways.  I have done the PTA thing and served a variety of cub scout leadership capacities including Den Leader and Cubmaster.  The most frequent activity is coaching.  I have been a head coach or assistant coach and even a league commissioner several times since 1997.  With a son graduating from high school and a daugter who’s moving on to a flex/plus soccer team that plays year round, I find myself in a bittersweet moment of realizing I am coaching my last kid’s sports team. 

My team is the Jets, a nod to Irvine’s history with the El Toro airbase. A girl’s sixth grade allstar team that the Irvine Youth Basketball league comissioner asked me to take on even though my daughter couldn’t play (since she’s a fifth grader).  The Jets played four games this weekend, winning three of four games, and finishing in a two-way tie for first in our pool.  By doing so, we advance to the national tournament in Orange County the weekend of April 9-11.  We’re hoping to play teams from Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon and Washington State. 

Its a great group of kids and a wonderful set of parents.  I’m savoring every moment.  So all the talk of liberals versus conservatives takes a back seat to how to set a good screen and converting free throws to playing better help side defense.  Some of my parents discovered this blog over the weekend and I want to thank them for entrusting me with their daughters’ basketball skills.  I also want to say thanks to the coaches of the teams we played this weekend.  It was a drama free tournament and a lot of fun.

a pep talk before playing Brea

  2 comments for “My Last Team

  1. Ltpar
    March 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Dan, much better article than you usually write and on a more important topic, I might add. It brought back old memories of my ten years of coaching in Irvine Junior All American Football and the Irvine Little League. As you know, there is no greater sense of success than to work with young people helping them to become better citizens and community leaders. Several of the kids I coached as 10 year olds, went on to later become Police Officers in Irvine. The Irvine Police Officer of the Year, Mike Frei, was one of those. With the girls you are coaching today, who knows what great things they may do in the future. Anyway, this is a topic we agree on and keep up the great work.

  2. Dan Chmielewski
    March 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Pat —
    I stress teamwork. I usually praise the passer first and the shooter second on a basket. I won’t tolerate trash talk. Sportmanship is demanded.

    I also have no problem letting the other coach have it if they are pressing my team while they are up by 18. But likewise, I don’t turn on the burners when we’re way up.

    I always tell the kids to play with heart, with pride and not give up.

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