By Carrie Timmins, Girls’ Varsity Basketball Coach, Middle School Counselor, Upper School Health Teacher
If one happened to stop by a girls’ varsity basketball practice this winter along with the sweat pants, water bottles and gym bags strewn across the wooden bleachers one would also notice 11 or so pairs of reddish-orange bricks. I’m not teaching my girls the finer points of masonry; rather, I am attempting to instill a few values that will aid in our success on the basketball court. Values such as accountability (if you don’t bring your bricks up from the team room for practice we all run), goal-setting (we wrote our New Years Basketball Resolutions on the side of one of the bricks), fitness (simply ask a girls’ basketball player about our “Bricker-cising” routines) and mental toughness (have you ever held a brick in each extended hand as you perform defensive slides for two minutes straight?).
I borrowed this idea from the head men’s basketball coach at Ursinus College. He has used the bricks over the last 10 years to teach and instill his core team values and to create a sense of pride in his program. My plan is to continue to find creative ways to incorporate the bricks in our program as I feel it can become a powerful symbol to encapsulate the skills and lessons that one learns through sport.
As a capstone to a player’s career , we will start the tradition of an end-of-season brick ceremony. Each senior will decorate a brick with her name and favorite team memories, and give it back to the team to be displayed outside our team room for the years to come. The team will in turn give the senior her own decorated brick to take with ger, a brick decorated with all the attributes that she possessed. My hope for this new tradition is to infuse a sense of ownership in the living organism that is a sports team. I believe a sports team is made of its collective seasons, one building upon the last.
Our players have the opportunity, each day of practice, each game and each season to have a lasting impact on our school’s basketball program. I want them to understand our individual action affect the collective whole. The brick the seniors give at the end of their career should symbolize their role in creating our past, present and future teams. And the brick the senior receives is tangible recognition from her coaches and teammates of all she has given to the program over the years.