A chance to have some fun
Gail Goestenkors, a native of Waterford, Michigan, is in her ninth season as coach of the Duke Blue Devils. The three-time ACC coach of the year led Duke to the 1999 NCAA title game and it's first ACC tournament title in 2000. The Blue Devils are currently ranked No. 7 in the nation. Check out Goestenkors diary every other week on CNNSI.com.
December 15, 2000
Well, we're in the midst of finals, so it is a very stressful time here at Duke. The players are both physically and mentally exhausted. We did a passing drill yesterday where each team had to make five passes and then make a layup. It went fine for the first few possessions and then a team made six passes and missed the layup. I asked Olga (the offender) why she had felt the need to make the sixth pass......she said she was confused. I asked her what final she had taken that morning.......she said MATH! I'm just a LITTLE worried! :)
We had a tough loss at Clemson. Jim Davis had his club ready and they played very well. I knew after watching tape of them that it was going to be a battle and unfortunately, we were not up to the challenge. I told the players the good news is that we will definitely learn from our mistakes and get better because of the game. The bad news for the team is that we didn't play another game for an entire week. So that gave my staff and I plenty of time to work on our weaknesses. I think I know how parents feel when they're being hard on their children and say "I'm doing this for your own good, and one day you'll thank me for this!" I don't know if any children or players EVER come back and say "Hey, thanks for making me run until I thought I was going to puke, it really helped me to see things more clearly!"
We head to Cancun on Saturday for a tournament. It will be really good to finish with finals, get away and really have a chance to have some fun and bond with the team. After the tournament, everyone is heading for home to be with their families for Christmas. I'm going to Michigan where my parents, brothers and sister live. It's 52 degrees here today, 82 in Mexico and 22 in Michigan, they also have 10 inches of snow. So, it's going to be tough to pack. My sister had a baby girl yesterday, so I'm anxious to go back and see her.
My husband, Mark Simons coaches the Elon University men's basketball team. He is heading to Indiana on Friday to play two games, and then he'll head to Michigan as well. We haven't seen much of each other lately because of our schedules, so we decided that tonight we would have a "date" and buy a Christmas tree.
I'll have the team over after Christmas for a party. We have secret Santas with one another, and we also do a wish list. Everyone on the team must give a wish to everyone else along with the staff, managers, etc. We then compile all the wishes and give each person a copy of all the wishes that were given to them and they read the list at the party. Last year, I got a lot of wishes for vocal lessons.....because I love to sing and often do....but I cannot carry a tune. Some players also wished me a spot on Saturday Night Live to do a comedy routine. But my favorite wishes are the ones that include cutting down some more nets...........
Merry Christmas to all and to all good night,
-- Coach G.