There are 10 of them, but you only hear about 5 of them. It’s the way it goes. You know their time will come too. It just requires patience and hardwork. They are on this awesome ride just flying low under the radar. They are younger; they are where every other player before them has been. They work just has hard, give just as much commitment and their love for the game is just as great. There is always a next set of boys and the upcoming team lurking in the shadows but until they get there they go unnoticed. That’s sports and it’s just how it works.
They go unnoticed, are never even mentioned by the media or the newspapers and you can see some of the fans leaving the gym when they finally get in the game. Sometimes even family members don’t think they’ve made it until they have reached a Varsity Starting position. That’s sports and that’s just how it works.
So, What’s it like to be a second string Varsity Basketball Player? I can only tell you what it has been like for me as a Mom of a son who is a sophomore who went from being a starter on JV, playing the entire game to making Varsity, getting playing time at the end of game or none at all. I can also tell you I think it’s what you make it, it’s a stepping stone and it’s what they do with it as a player.
They are a team. They are a group of boys who ALL want the same thing, to WIN and to succeed whether they start or sit. They all put in the work and they couldn’t do what they do without each other. They need each other. The starters need the second string to practice and to do the dirty work that no one sees. The second string needs the starters to help them improve their skills and become stronger players. They are a team on and off court which I think is very important. Every year the dynamic of any team changes sometimes just a little and other times a lot. You gain and lose players as each year goes by and adjusting to that is essential as a player. The word team is thrown around a lot, but it’s true that no one person can do it alone. As a second string player I think they sometimes get lost, people look at them differently, make assumptions like they are not good enough or as an important part of the team which just isn’t always the case. I think they all have potential and strengths. It’s not that they aren’t good enough maybe they are just not ready, as experienced on the court, strong enough or big enough yet but they are all definitely important to the success of the team and deserve credit too.
I think our team is amazing in so many ways beyond the wins. I am proud my son got to really know all of these Senior boys this year. I think my son has taken in a lot being with them, they pushed him hard, encouraged, critiqued, helped and supported him. I think the starting five know they need the other five; they appreciate them, their hard work and dedication. I think the five second string boys really respect and are genuinely happy for the starting five and all their successes. I think they come together as a team and in the celebration of a win, put aside who’s done what; they are all just happy living in the moment enjoying the ride. At that moment it doesn’t matter if you start or if you sit you’re just proud, as a basketball player, as a team and as a Tartan.