Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Team Endless: Phight for Philly

We saw our first big breakthrough on the offensive end this weekend in our final Zero Gravity tournament, breaking the fifty-point barrier for the first time in our second game. Unfortunately, we were not able to capitalize on that success and close out the game, losing 57-50. However, I do think it was a big confidence boost to a couple of players in particular who had been more or less invisible on offense, and were able to see what could happen when they asserted themselves.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Team Endless: Battle for the Belt

After ten games and a lot of growing pains, we have finally identified our single biggest weakness; we struggle, in the words of Jay Bilas, to "score the ball." There was a lot of growth this past weekend over four games on our home hardwood, especially after our flop in New Jersey two weeks before. We defended better and rebounded better, but we are not going to win many games if we are only scoring in the thirties. You can get away with that in elementary school, and even sometimes in middle school, but not by tenth grade. We simply have to put the ball in the basket more often.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Team Endless: NJ Spring Crossover

Our second Zero Gravity tournament of five was this past weekend in Wayne, New Jersey, and we were looking to rebound from starting our season 0-3 with a couple of flat efforts in our first two games. To that end, we had spent our two practice days last week (which involved working around both the Maryland primary elections - which knocked us out of our regular practice space - and some mid-week rain) refocusing on defense, rebounding, and toughness. I don't know how many of you are NBA fans, but perhaps you caught this segment on TNT's studio show, with Kenny Smith illustrating good team defense through the use of actual connective bands between players that broke if they did not move as a unit. I was inspired, and after a trip to the hardware store, I came up with a very similar teaching tool, using rope, Velcro, and lanyards that come apart.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Team Endless in Baltimore

We kicked off our season perhaps a week or two later than we would have liked, but these things happen when your permit for a practice space takes more time than anticipated to get approved. So instead of going down to Richmond for a tournament on April 16-17 (or to Delaware the weekend before that), we went up the road to Baltimore this past weekend for the Zero Gravity Maryland Madness tournament, the first of five (hopefully six, but the last one we need to qualify for) Zero Gravity events that we are participating in this spring, a seismic upgrade over our frustrating experience last year in a local league where games, even though they were played with a running clock, habitually started an hour and a half later than scheduled (or more) and were not always officiated by certified referees.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Richard Lee Ranger (1923-2015)

I have been remarkably fortunate to reach my thirties with three living grandparents, especially when all of them were born before things like penicillin, television, and the Great Depression. And I have been even more fortunate to have them all be an integral part of my life for all of that time. Which I suppose is what makes it so difficult to, for the second time in a little over two months, lose one of them. My grandfather and namesake (one of them - I'm named after both grandfathers) lived a fairly remarkable life over ninety-two years.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Team Endless Sports

Many of you may be aware that after a two-and-a-half-year absence from coaching, I returned to the sidelines this spring, coaching ninth and tenth-grade boys for a non-profit organization called Team Endless Sports that is based in District Heights, Maryland (just southeast of DC on Pennsylvania Avenue). I had decided, way back in mid-February in the depths of winter,* that I wanted to coach again, and more specifically that I wanted to coach basketball, which I still believe I know the best of any sport. And (with absolutely no offense intended to the dozens and dozens of wonderful young women that I worked with at NCS and Holy Child) I wanted to return to coaching boys.

*Though it has just twenty-eight days, February really is the longest month, isn't it?

Monday, November 2, 2015


Ninety-nine percent of the time, this is what happens when we follow sports. This is what happens when we spend so much attention on a group of young and middle-aged men playing a funny, somewhat slow-paced game on roughly two and a half acres of quirkily shaped grass and dirt in what are basically pajamas. It doesn't even have to be baseball; it can be any sport. Every season ends sadly for twenty-nine of thirty teams, or thirty-one of thirty-two in football. But to get so close, to blow three leads with four, five, and three outs to go stings just a little bit more.