There is a passion that arrives in the early part of every basketball season. It’s comes with a test for just about every team. It’s a test that too often determines the fate of a season. It’s a test that so often comes with so much pain. It’s this test that all too often makes us all prisoners of the moment… to either be a victim or a survivor. A few mega talented teams after disappointing losses are taking this very test right now.

I walked out of the gym at SJV. I had just watched Ranney get beaten handily by powerhouse from Pa. They had a player going to DePaul, seasoned seniors, stronger, mega talented upper class men. They were the type of team no young inexperienced team really should want to see. Especially a team made up of all sophomores and freshman like Ranney. But yet there was there coach Katelyn Linney waiting outside the locker room. She didn’t want to go in quite yet. She was trying regain her composure before speaking to her team. I looked her in the eyes and told her that her team played well at moments. I never bullshit a coach after a game. That’s because I always hated that shit when I coached. I wanted truth or a quick hi and goodbye but don’t be a damm phony. But I wanted her to know her kids had moments, good moments. But her team was up against a physical mismatch because of age and experience. But I can tell my words didn’t matter. She doesn’t know this but I knew Coach Linney had been crying. Not because her team lost but because she knew in her heart they could be better. She was crying for her kids, only coaches who love their kids do this… TRUST ME ON THAT ONE. Because when there lazy and don’t work hard you don’t give a rats ass… SHE LOVES THESE KIDS!! Her father came by and told her the exact same words I had told her before he arrived. But you see we are both old war horses, our times have passed.

Linney has dreams for these kids and their futures. What we said didn’t matter, Coach Linney is a competitor, a mega talented Alpha female, a natural leader of young woman… THATS real talk! She knows that Sarah Hughes can be great, she just believes that in heart. She simply can’t accept anything else from Sarah. She knows Carlie Lapinski is a D1 player, she just can’t think any other way. It matters too much to her. She knows RAQUEL GUIDETTI is insanely talented and swears nobody has better babies than her team. She knows the sacrifices her kids have made along the way to get to RANNEY. She simply cannot and will not let them down. Their hopes and dreams are her hopes and dreams. Coach Linney knows her program is special. She also knows kids, parents media, bloggers and even supporters can overreact. She knows the dangers of how losing one game can get blow out of Proportion and ruin a season or worse cast doubt. That’s why her passion is so strong. She knows the influences around her team can ruin every thing she has been trying to build. That’s why right now she knows her team is being tested. She is trying to convince them .. one game DOES NOT AND CANNOT DEFINE WHAT THEY ARE DOING. But she knows that’s it’s a decision each player must make as a individual to believe that or not …to trust in her vision or to let one 32 min game define who and what they are.. in Coach Linney’s case she is hoping for tears of joy!

Mental toughness is such a over used term. It so Fleeting. That’s because the true test of mental toughness is a test of time. You’ve heard it before “tough times don’t last , tough people do”. Coach David Callahan has mastered the art of developing tough people and teams. You see nobody believes in his kids more than Dave Callahan … TRUST ME WHEN I TELL YOU THIS. Nobody works harder for their kids. Don’t let it cross you mind to say something negative about a RFH kid. I have received the phone calls and text for questioning his kids performance or ability.

He believes Julia Cosentino is going to be a mega star in college. He simply does not believe anyone can do the things she can do. He wouldn’t trade Charlie Rosen for another point guard in the shore. He believes his freshman are better than any freshman in the shore. You see this is not talk it’s real. His loyalty is unmatched. It’s why Dave Callahan does what no other coach in New Jersey does. Regardless of his roster he will play anyone, anywhere anytime as long as they are good. As long as they challenge his kids. He truly would rather lose trying to be great rather than being Mediocre. How else do explain opening the season with Sparta. Last night he got his doors blow off vs RBC. But it doesn’t faze him that because Dave Callahan has something few coaches have… A LACK OF A EGO!

You see for Dave Cahalan it’s about his kids not his record. Not his swag but his kids swag. He won’t admit this in public but trust me when I tell you this, he can’t wait to see Sparta and RBC again. Not for himself but for his kids. That’s because Dave Callahan knows his kids can play with the best. Know what else Dave Callahan knows? It’s early and he doesn’t give a shit about losing right now. He wants to challenge his team to get better. That’s because Dave Callahan every year has his team in the Group 2 State Final and this year he expects to win it. That’s not bullshit talk or hype . That’s just a hardcore belief in his kids THAT NO OTHER COACH COMES CLOSE TO HAVING… and he is not letting one game or two games in December get in the way of his big picture. That’s a problem for others but not him or his kids….Dave Callahan thinks and acts differently.

Trinity Hall is playing with kids it never dreamed would hit the floor this year. After last year Trinity Hall was thinking Top 10 and maybe even Top 20. But the wheels have fell off .. the health wheels that is. Nina Emance the freshman of the year has not played a minute. There new found toy Sullivan has not played a minute, in fact 6 varsity players have yet to played a minute. But Trinity Hall has fought the good fight and have competed every night. Siobhan Stapleton has stepped up and Heaven Dora has been electric. But Trinity Hall is long pass moral victories. So now cones the test of courage. Will they go back to the days before Coach Matt McCarthy’s arrival? Or do they see the big picture and understand…. The troops will return and to stay the course and use their misfortune to build a better, deeper team… or do they let a few games in December send them back to the past… TRINITY KNOWS IT TOOK TOO LONG TO GET HERE AND ITS A LONG SEASON... a season that can be special like last year… if they don’t panic

It’s early and now three teams are going g to find out if they really can handle the tough times. The tough losses. This is when you know who get its and who is just faking it… of course we won’t know that for 2 months because it’s a long season with so much basketball to be played… I guess overreacting is not the way to go… it’s way TOO EARLY to decide to be a victim… but it’s rather the perfect time to be a SURVIVOR 💪🏀


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