Feb 9, 2017. Leigh also gave it a shot. I highly recommend checking it out. As an ex-skydiver, I was skeptical of the indoor tube thing, but they can do some really impressive things. It's a big tube.
2016 - Year in Review
We started the school year with a "no electronics whatsoever until you get your bearings". That lasted a while. For the most part, he had no problem with the curriculum, which included Accelerated Math and a couple of "gifted" classes. He did plummet to a D in English, based on a lack of organization (he needed some signatures from us, which we didn't know about). We just recently got it up to an A, which has him at straight A's. I'm extremely proud of him for that. I'm happy that he expects to get straight A's and has worked to get them. Sustained effort towards a goal: critical. I tell Dash, "You don't know what you want to do with your life yet, but when you figure it out, you want to already have qualified to do it." Like when the lightbulb went on and I realized I could, in fact, be an astronaut. Grades and stuff allowed me to get to the Air Force Academy, which provided a great opportunity towards that.
Dash has continued playing basketball with the serious club teams. He's not quite as serious as some of the folks who live for it, but he's done alright. He works hard at the many practices, but doesn't do that much on his own, so he pretty much is a role player. In his previous team, he essentially was a shooting guard in a team that ran a lot of half court offensive sets. The problem, we felt, was that Dash was just being a shooter and not being a player. Dash, even leading a fast break would look to set up a half court set first, the basket was kind of an afterthought. But he enjoyed his coach and his teammates quite a bit. After a while Dash started driving to the basket more.
We heard good things about a nearby team (his original team was about an hour away (in traffic). This new team may look and make one outside pass, but they pretty much all attack the basket. We felt this team would round out his game. I took Dash over to one of their practices. There was no "welcome, new members", it was right into drills. I was very impressed and proud of Dash's courage to get in there and go at it in a completely new competitive environment.
This team has been a mixed bag. They're really serious and don't seem to be having much fun. Dash has become more aggressive, but still has his habit of setting up at the three point line, where this team never looks. Everyone is more aggressive than him, so he's reverted to letting three or four others lead. A bit too passive, but his skills are improving. He is tall, but thin. Just about everybody is much heavier than him. When he tells me "It's not worth it to get into the scrap just to get bloodied," I have a hard time disagreeing with him.
We recently joined a recreational league (it's actually the same place I played indoor volleyball and roller hockey when I moved out here in 1995) to get more game time. A lot of the club athletes play on a rec team for the extra court time. Skill levels vary. So Dash, 11, is on a 12-under team. One guy is bigger than him and skilled; the other kids may have some skills and a shooting range, but for the most part, it's a lower skill level. The coaches love Dash's skill set and have designated him as point guard. We had our first game yesterday, and Dash finally got some glory. He ran the team the whole game, had a ton of assists, was very good on defense (he's a good on-ball defender, less so off-ball), and let the team in scoring. Had a only a couple of turnovers, a couple of missed shots, but played with a lot of confidence and was aggressive. Extremely solid game; it should help him out quite a bit in club play.
(Update. Had a double header with the rec team. Dash was frustrated after the first game. He missed a bunch of short shots, but ran the team well enough. He was feeling some pressure about being The Man. I had to assure him that the coaches are very happy with his skill level ("Dash is a godsend") and that this is a non-punishment environment. I think his experience with his first team - familial, but hypercritical - tends to make him paranoid. He does enjoy the the practices as The Big Man.
Family-wise, we got two new kitties in May. Hazel, the calico, is shy, but sweet and very beautiful. Hobbes is a knucklehead; fun, like a puppy sometimes, but a knucklehead nontheless. We don't let them outside, yet. At the crack of dawn they wake us up running amuck. Not welcome.
Vacations. We went to Florida for the first time in two years. We saw sister Theresa and family for the first time in six or seven. We spend a couple of days in Greater Abaco with a rented boat. Dash was proud to get his passport stamped. Two years ago, the snorkeling in the keys was not very successful (he only spent about 10 minutes in the water). This time, he had a bunch of good, legitimate, snorkels. I need to post a map, the pictures and the narrative for that trip.
We mountain biked in August with our friends, the Yents, up at Mammoth Mountain. It was by far the most fun I've had biking. Amazing trails from the top. All downhill. Dash was taking some technical stuff as fast as I could (I couldn't catch him at times). He has had a bad crash yet, so he's fearless.
For Thanksgiving, we went back to Moab, Utah and the Grand Canyon, like we did four years prior. That 2012 trip was Dash's first big offroad bike ride (and horse ride). This time the hikes in Arches National Park were excellent, but Dash was kind of whiny on the bike rides. I, for one, really loved the bike rides. We did the long loop at Dead Horse Point and it was the funnest, most comfortable loop I'd ever done. I had my new (used) bike dialed-in, geometry-wise. Delighted.
It was a hard year in at least one respect. Leigh was travelling a lot for work and I had a series of trips as well towards the end. Five to Virginia, and one to Huntsville, AL. Seems like we were only together on weekends, during which we'd do landscaping.
We finished the year with Leigh's side of the family out here for Christmas. Nice. The big drama was Dash getting a cell phone.
So here's the year (in sequence).
Basketball, Jan 9, 2016
(Dash is in the bright yellow shoes)
So Dash can hit the three pointers (see the video below). He's not hitting over 25% from the arc in games, so more work is needed, but he hits them.
The part of his game that had been needing improvement is driving to the basket. He feels no pride embarrassing me 1-on-1, but has been basically afraid to dribble in traffic in games. Bal = hot potato. The upside is that he probably has more assists than anyone else on the team combined. The bad news has been questionable passes and turnovers.
A couple of weeks ago, I modified our one-on-one "practice". In the past he got to dribble as much as he wanted and then would take a shot when he felt like it. It produced a lot of perimeter dribble without much purpose. I started counting backwards from 8, forcing him to shoot or drive. If I covered his shots he pretty much had to drive against me. He saw, unless I fouled him, that he was fast enough to get a shot off (because my feet had to move). Basketball rules kind of suck: if you got the ball, it's really easy to draw fouls if you're fast.
Prior to his game last Saturday, we offered the first bribe in a while: drive three times and you get Cold Stone afterwards. Midway through the first half, with limited success and confidence, he looked over and asked "how many drives do I have?" "Two." It looked like he was of the mind to drive once more for the ice cream and then revert to perimeter loitering.
He drove eight times, but was really annoyed, since he didn't score on any of them. Drew a hard foul on one, though. He only had two points for the game and just was angry as heck. "They didn't call fouls!"
He played up in the next game, 12-and-under, and scored seven points, but didn't force things to the basket. Drew a couple of fouls, had a turnover on one drive (zero in the previous game).
Back to the car, he was just not getting why Leigh and I were positively raving about his performance. "But I didn't finish!" "You can't begin learning to finish until you start starting. You've now put yourself in a position where you can learn to finish. You did great." Rave, rave, rave. "Up until today, your turnover ration on a drive was about 75%. Today, you got shots off on 8/9, with only one turnover! Your improvement is fantastic. Your points will come."
Forward to this weekend's tournament. All teams at least their size and skill. In yesterday's first 10u game, Dash scored 17 points on three 3-pointers and the rest drives. Wee hoo! In a game against a 12u team he drove against three 12us, splitting two and getting fouled by the 3rd, but making the bucket. His first And1, against 12us, no less. (Missed the And1).
In today's first 10u game, Dash made his first conventional three-point play, slashing to the right side (his favorite), finger rolling it off the glass. "And 1!"
Team lost by four (porous transition defense).
In the second 10u game, the other team was fast and Dash was in that "no-factor" zone for the first part of it. That's where he's kind of trotting up the court, being behind the action instead of in it. By the second half, of course, I'm starting to yell "instructions". To give him credit, he did not do the Shut Up thing that he tends to do. I'm doing the two-handed ladder-climbing pantomime ("Step Up!"). He gets his first bucket in the second half, maybe he'll get going. Tight game. At one point he's kind of ahead on a break, but not sprinting, he actually listens (a first), speeds up, gets enough separation for the point to pass to him for a quick layup. I'm yell "Thanks, Dad!" He actually smiled.
Still a rather unimpressive game from him with two minutes left and the lead flip-flopping. Finally, for whatever reason, with about a minute left, on two consecutive possessions, he drives from outside the outside left position, slashing over for right-handed layups. Strong fast confident moves. Our last four points to take the game by three, 32-29.
There's shooting and then there's basketball. Dash is finally not just perimeter shooting, he's playing basketball. Obviously, there is enormous amounts to learn and enormous amouts to improve on, but as far as I'm concerned, Dash has arrived.
Everyones' really happy. He's worked really hard since joining Team Joey in June of 2013. Two and a half years of serious ball. He's got a lot to learn, but he's now a Player.
Dash's first basket Feb 2012
Mammoth Feb 2106
We only got a half day in at Big Bear last year. Dash made big strides this weekend. First time with poles. Got comfortable with moguls, so much so that he pretty much headed straight to the big ones, ignoring the easier paths. Hit Cornice on Day 1 many times. I held him back from Climax (the "snow" was hard-packed and very fast) until the final day (he did it, but he's not really safe on it). Good times.
Muse's Hysteria, April 15, 2016
(very little practice)
#1 today. #2 comes tomorrow. #3 (maybe) soon?
Smells like Dashpotato?
I like this because he's having fun.