– written by Patrick, Triangle Blazers Basketball Class of 2021, Mitz (godmother) and Eliz (mother)
This is the journey of our family’s first year with Triangle Blazers from three unique perspectives: player, godmother, and mom. Our journey was exciting, challenging, and fun! It is a journey we would all choose again. It is a journey that is about way more than just basketball.
Patrick, Class of 2021
My first year as a Triangle Blazer was amazing. When you are a Blazer, you do a lot more than just play basketball. You also give back to the community. This year we did a service project at the Oak City Shelter where we fed people who can’t really afford a meal everyday. When you are not giving back to the community, you are getting better at 3 things: basketball, people skills, and listening. You need all these skills at a Blazers’ practice. Coach Todd is big on respect and listening. When you are in practice, you will need to listen to everything because he will find out if you didn’t when you play. He always says “If you don’t listen in practice, you will have no clue what to do in the game.” If you need help, Coach Todd is willing to help you. For example, this summer we changed my jumpshot a lot, and I can really tell that it has improved. Next, you have Coach Michael. If you invite him to any of your non-basketball related sporting events he will believe in you. This summer, my swim team made it to the championship meet. I was swimming the 100 yd freestyle. I happened to come in second in that event. He told me that he believed that I could have won that race till there was 5 yards left. That really boosted my confidence for the next time I swim that event. I feel like I’ve learned a lot as a person with the Blazers, and I can’t wait till next season.
Being a godmother to a first year Triangle Blazer has been an unexpected honor. After watching Patrick grow over the last few years as a player, I longed for an experience for him that was going to last more than one season and that would help him grow into his teenage years. After a co-worker listened to me vent about what I wanted for Patrick and our not so great experiences prior, he suggested that I talk to Coach Michael about the Blazers. Patrick’s mom and I had the opportunity to talk with Coach Michael one winter afternoon, and, as many of you know, this conversation left us baffled. We were baffled as to whether or not this was too good to be true. Every question we asked, Coach Michael answered with exactly with what we wanted to hear. It was as if he was reading our minds. Could this get any better? Then, we met Coach Todd. Coach Todd encouraged Patrick to listen, respect other players, coaches, and refs, and respond to his feedback. Patrick worked hard and didn’t even mind if the feedback was strong or corrective.(Coach Todd can be loud, but not in a negative way :)) It was a bonus when we realized that we liked other players and their families as it was obvious that we had similar goals for our sons and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company in the bleachers. Coach Michael often joins us for family events, sits with us in the bleachers, and plans for Patrick’s future with us. I don’t think we could get this kind of family with a typical team. We feel like we’ve hit the jackpot with basketball and way more.
I am no basketball expert. I don’t even know the positions nor the plays. I cannot volunteer to keep stats, and I can’t do post-game analysis. What I do know is that I have a son, Patrick, who loves the game. His dad and I have spent a great deal of time in gyms watching him play. He was 5 when he played his first game. He is now a teenager.
I have learned that not all teams are the same. Coaches vary a great deal in style and in skill. I have watched coaches carefully teach skills and rules. I have watched coaches who barely know the game and I have also watched coaches scream and intimidate. All kinds of coaches win games. While I wanted Patrick to be on a competitive team, I wanted him with a coach that taught the skills and techniques of basketball as well as strategies that would be impactful off the court. I found that combination with the Triangle Blazers.
The Blazer family is intense about learning the game and is committed to helping each player be the best he wants to be. Patrick’s coaches set goals of competitiveness, challenge, and community. Winning is important but winning together as a team is paramount. Practices are filled with drills, scrimmages, individual skills training, and team strategies. In addition, practices are enhanced as each player is greeted upon arrival with a fist bump by coaches and players that model and are expected to be respectful. Listening to the coach is a must and listening to each other is critical. Team is more important than individual talent. Along with improving his game, Patrick is learning life skills that will help him navigate his future. This is the perfect combination for success for our family. It’s about way more than basketball. Just ask a Blazer, or a Blazer coach, or a Blazer family member.