Over the last week, I had the opportunity to head back to Richmond, Kentucky for another All "A" State basketball tournament. This makes the fourth year in a row that I have gone to the event. The first time I was there was back in January of 2007 and ironically enough, that was the last time the Harlan Lady Dragons made it to the tourny.
This year they made the return trip as all the girls who were freshman were now seniors. This time, instead of going one and done, they were able to get out of the first round by defeating Whitefield County. The Lady Dragon fought hard and played great basketball in the first round in order to advance to the second round of the tournament.
Unfortunately for the other girls teams, it was one and done for Somerset, Owsley County and Betsy Layne.
On the boys side, we ran into some of the same luck. Williamsburg and Hazard both fell in the first round, leaving Shelby Valley, the defending All "A" Champs, representing the mountains.
They as everyone knows at this point did not disappoint as they as they defeated Desales to come home with their second All "A" title in as many years.
So by now, everyone has realized that my Daily Diary (which can be found on at www.derekforrest.com typically has nothing to do with sports, so here is what I took from the All "A" from a non sports related angle.
As I sat there and watch Shelby Valley play, I have seen Valley many, many times over the last couple of years, the one thing I notice with this group is just the confidence they have as a team. Not just individually, but with each other. That is where their strength lies. It not just they think they are good. It's the fact that they have complete trust in one another.
For example, when you watch this team play defense, they have complete trust in each other and where the other is going to be in the press. Numerous times throughout the tourny and any other game you watch with this group will to see a ball tipped and stolen by someone else other than the person who created the turnover.
The team as a whole has great awareness that you just can't teach. Something like that only comes with years and years of playing together.
It has to be a great feeling knowing that no matter who is on the court, you can trust that the other person next to you will in fact do their job. That is what makes a great team. If one person is off of their game, there is trust in the others to pick everyone else up and elevate their game.
This was definitely noticeable in the championship game on Sunday afternoon as their point guard Elisha Justice only had 4 points, but others like Cody Varney, Ashley Hatfield, Tyler Newsome, Taylor Newsome and Zach Ramey were all able to step up and elevate their game.
Its always ironic how sports is always the teacher for what life will prepare you for. The trust that the guys on the roster have for each other and the way they play as a team could be a lesson for almost anything.
The other virtue that this team exhibits is confidence. The old saying is there is a thin line between confidence and cockiness. But this team displays tons of confidence within itself. In all honesty the confidence they exude as a team as everything the do with the confidence they have in each other.
I stood there and watched the four games that was played by Valley and noticed how not one person doubts a decision or play made throughout the tournament, and if they did, you would of never guessed.
I guess, to an extent it reminds me a little bit of me. There have been times that I have felt a little down, but it is times like these that remind me of just how great things can be. It may not make any sense to any of you, but it makes plenty of sense to me.
Through out your life there are great teams, whether it is a friendship, a work relationship, or just a camaraderie. But without trust or confidence, how much does it really work? On the sports side of things, only the teams with the most confidence and trust in each other are the most successful, the same can be said in life.