The Flower is in her third season of basketball. She’s one of the coaches favorite players because she listens, which is sort of a characteristic of all my children: That is, they listen very well to people who are not their parents.
It’s interesting to watch the kids grow, both individually and as representatives of their age group. As five-year-olds, they tended to not be very aware, and passes were so dubious that they all learned it was safer to hold on to the ball than to throw it.
As seven-year-olds, they’re much more aware, so they’ve segregated out the better shooters and will tend to throw just to them. (There’s a little of boys-not-throwing-to-girls, too, even if the girls are very good shots.) They’ll also tend to revert to just running and shooting as the game wears on.
By the way, extensive observation of pre-schoolers reveals that they start segregating socially almost immediately. It’s actually sort of tragic.
Anyway, the Flower herself is not a very aggressive player. You may recall earlier seasons where she just refused to do anything she felt was rude. I’m not sure how much that still plays in her thinking, but she’s at a bit of a loss when the ball is under the net.
Her niche, curiously, is as a defensive player. One part of the game that has definitely registered with her is taking the ball from the opposing team. They play a softer version of the rules, where on a turnover, the newly possessing team is allowed to move the ball a little over halfway down the court before the defensive team can try to get it from them.
What happens, then, is that the Flower stands there on the line waiting for the ball carrier to come down. She becomes intention incarnate. She dogs the ball carrier relentlessly, and just destroys their momentum.
Pretty soon, the other team gets rattled just seeing her there. And, of course, her success in taking the ball away means she gets better and more confident at it.
Of course, I’m hoping she broadens her game a bit: A good passing team could basically work around her, and we’re only a year or two from that, I suspect.