Windsor Lancers

Monday, August 1, 2011

Final Blog from Chile: Returning Home with a Little Extra Gold!

So, we have started our journey home. Right now, I'm in the airport in Santiago, Chile where I found myself stuck two weeks ago with the teams from Brazil and Canada trying to get to Puerto Montt to begin our quest for the Gold Medal at the U19 World Championships. Now I sit here (after a short flight rather than a 12 hour bus ride) with a Gold Medal in my bag.

I feel as if we squeezed an entire basketball season into three weeks. We began in Colorado Springs learning about each other and starting to build that bond of trust that is so essential in winning teams. We traveled away together from the comforts of home to a tournament where everyone was rooting against us and yet the pressure to win at times felt overwhelming. We won together, we struggled together, we lost together. But at the end of it all, we found away to come together and play our best when it mattered the most.

I appreciate my assistant coaches Joi (Williams) and Sue (Semrau) so much for keeping me sane through all of this. Whether it was staying up late to finish a scout, providing constant suggestions and encouragement, or giving me much needed comic relief, I couldn't have done it without them. Thanks also to Caroline and Jim for the laughs, the runs and the pisco sours; Summer, Dave, Zach and Jamie for all their hard work; and of course to Carol Callan for her guidance and faith in me as the coach of this team. She seemed to know all along that we'd find a way to pull it off.

The feeling of winning a World Championship is indescribable. I feel honored to have accomplished this at such an early point in my coaching career. I'm not sure the players really understand all that they represent at this point in their lives. As a coach you do. The expectation in the United States to win in the sport of basketball is high and I hope that we will continue to develop and teach these kids at a young age what it means to develop their skills and work ethic, respect their opponents and play with pride for their country. I hope I was able to do my part in helping develop some of the future stars of our game.

And now, I can't wait to get home and see my family. This is the longest I've ever been away from my kids and they seemed to grow with every phone call and picture sent. I'm lucky to have a partner in my husband who understands how important this was for me to do even though it was a sacrifice for our family. Thanks to my parents who provided "Camp Rizzotti" for a few weeks for my kids to enjoy. Thanks also to my staff at Hartford who have been out on the road recruiting all of July with the goal of finding kids who will continue to assure our success and the growth of our program in the future. I feel very lucky and blessed today.

Thanks for following. Stay tuned in a few weeks for more blogs as our Hartford Hawks team travels to France for our own foreign tour!

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