Sunday, February 8, 2009

Become a coach, see the world

Another Sunday night come, another exhausting gone for yours truly.
I just got back to Simpson from 3 days of glamour and glory in the province of Alberta, and if you can swallow that, then let me tell you it was also very luxurious and hassle-free.
For the rest of you that are still trying to get rid of that bitter BS taste in your mouth, lemme lay it on you straight: Traveling to La Crete, Alberta from Fort Simpson, NWT via a school bus is NOT fun. Not even amusing. Not even "haha oh we'll certainly have a laugh at this one in the years to come!".
A number of factors have led me to this opinion:

1) We left at 5am from Fort Simpson
2) The school bus was packed to capacity
3) A number of the windows were stuck open, leaving a clear 1" of space for snow and -35C air to flow into the bus freely
4) There are very few places to stop for refreshments along the way. One is Enterprise, NWT...which is basically just a gas station stocked with beef jerky and Hygard Sandwiches. The other is High Level, Alberta...which is basically a glorified truck stop with a number of motels that light up their signs in a Vegas-like fashion. That's it.
5) It's a little over 10 hours of driving each way

6) I'm a big baby and I complain about anything at a moment's notice

So that pretty much sums up the traveling aspect of the weekend...

The high school tournament itself (I guess that should be the focus of the weekend) was actually really well organized and had huge community support for almost all of the games.
Speaking of the community...La Crete was...well...different. For me anyway. As many of you may already know, it's a traditional Mennonite town, with many of the residents wearing traditional clothing (ankle length dresses, head covered with a scarf, etc), and both English and German are spoken by most everyone.
(Please try to ignore the overwhelming level of ignorance on my part, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about)
It's also a dry community, and...ummm...well there doesn't seem to be too much else going on. Where else would you see EVERYONE in the community (young, middle aged, and old) come out on a Saturday night for a high school basketball game?

Everyone was really nice and welcoming, in a very Mennonite type of way. You're right, I don't know what that's supposed to mean.

The weather was downright tropical too! -7C when we got there on Friday. Coming back to Simpson tonight...not so lucky. -30C and snowing. Bad for t-shirts, but good for me to complain about! Wahoooo!

Getting back to the tournament...we didn't place too high, but we did do a lot of positive things as a team. That's one thing I've noticed in my long-standing period (see: 6 months) of coaching in Simpson is that not having any nearby competition to play against somewhat regularly really hurts the kids' ability to learn how to play as a team. (The closest school with a bball team is either Tulita, which is 8 hours north of here, or Yellowknife/Hay River which are 4-6 hours away)
There's a lot of great individual soccer and basketball players, but they just haven't had enough experience to be great team players. Ah well, I'm just happy that there's a sports community here at all!

Now to detox from my 10 hour junk food binge earlier today...


Way Way Up said...

I once spent something like 26 hours on a bus traveling from Edmonton to Ft. Smith so I can totally sympathize. The food selection in High Level wasn't any better back then either.

Mongoose said...

Lucky you. I've always wanted to go to La Crete. And High Level is AWESOME. They have Boston Pizza! It's not as magical as McDonald's, but it's pretty awesome. The Flying J has some tasty food choices, like pasta salad. Their coffee is gross though.

You must be from the city or something. :)

Alex said...

Flying J?? Was that the big grocery store there?

If my disinterest in High Level makes me from the city...well dammit I guess I'm from the city!

Mongoose said...

Shell. Flying J. Down to the south end of town on the east side of the highway before Boston Pizza and that thing that burned down.

I think this answers your question about when you stop being an outsider anyway. You stop being an outsider when High Level doesn't look like a one horse town anymore.