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Emmett Pearlman guards a really tall boy.

I am the coach of my 9-year-old son’s youth basketball team.

Yesterday we lost 48-9.

That’s not a misprint. The other team had 48 points. We had nine.


To start, I am not a good basketball coach. I know the game well, but it’s not how my brain operates. I’m not a guy who grasps spacial concepts; I’m not good at focusing on the opposing defense while also breaking down our offense. My practices are pretty scattered and unfocused. I’m knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and I never degrade, but … it’s not an amazing fit.

That being said, we had no shot. None. We played a neighboring town’s team. They had 12 kids, we had six. Our two best players weren’t in attendance. Three of our kids have never before played basketball. My son, who is of average height, was our second tallest player. He’s 4-foot-6. The opposing team had TWO kids who were about 5-feet. They also had a bunch of jump shooters, slashers. They had four offensive plays—we just have a pick and roll.

Again, no chance.

I felt awful, and sorta lost. Yeah, with Larry Brown coaching maybe we only lose by 20. But I felt hopeless and hapless. You want fun to be the first priority, but it’s hard to keep saying Fun! Fun! Fun! down by 20 … 30 … 40.

Good news: We have another game today.

Bad news: We have another game today.