As always, a lot’s happened between me stopping to write it all down.
After a very nice month of rest and restoration in Ireland, we landed back in Uganda. The day after we landed was the first playoff game for both UCU ladies and men. The ladies had no trouble qualifying for the playoffs, and then men qualified only because they won their last four games straight--two of those while I was in Ireland.
By winning out, the men ended up finishing in 3rd place, so we were matched up with the #2 team, Power. The men won game one of the best-of-three semifinal series by 1 point. We lost game 2 by 19--we were thinking too much, getting out of our game plan, just like we did in the playoffs last year. Game 3 we were focused, I was determined to keep us to the game plan as much as possible. We played a zone defense the entire game, and allowed them to shoot 3 pointers from the corners all game. I gave a calculated talk in practice the day before about how the only way Power could beat us is by shooting 50% from the three point line, and scoring 40 points in at least one quarter. We’d been holding team to an average of 62 points/game--no way we’d give up 40 in any 10 minute quarter. Everything was working until the end of the 3rd quarter. Our top scorer and 2nd best ball-handler picked up his fourth foul with three minutes left. We were up by 15, Power started pressing, we didn’t handle it and they surged to tie it at 60 at the end of the quarter. 4th quarter, Power conintued to press. Our #1 point guard was out of the entire series with a stretched achilles tendon, and our #2 point guard had to handle the press by himself. Power didn’t score 40 in the fourth, they scored 37. We lost 97-78.
Power went on to beat Falcons (last years champions) in the best-of-five Finals, 3-1. So we’re left with that the flimsy consolation of saying, “We lost to the champions,” while we get ready for next year.
The UCU Ladies, however, are in need of no consolation. Under the direction of Robert Mugabe, one of our men’s players who coached the Ladies all year--his first year of coaching in any league--the UCU Ladies won the Championship of the FUBA League. They beat a team called A-1 Challenge, who won the league in 2006. The Finals series went to all five games and the ladies were down by 9 at the beginning of the 4th quarter, but came out in a defensive frenzy, forcing turnovers, then Celia Asila, who’s probably our fourth best three-point shooter, hit two quick threes. Within 4 minutes, the ladies had taken the lead and never let it go.
It could’ve been sweeter to have both the UCU Men and Ladies hoisting trophies at the FUBA League closing ceremony, but it was sweet enough to share the joy with the Ladies.
The day after the ladies won their championship, Louise and Lily and I were up in Luwero (2 hour drive north) for Denise’s wedding (Denise is Lousie’s sister) to Rory Wilson (a fellow CMS-Ireland missionary who’s a doctor at Kiwoko hospital, near Luwero. We all shared in their festive day, and Lily larked about in her fantastic little dress and had a ball. Immideately after the wedding, we were happy to spend a few days with a small visiting mission team from Christ Church Savannah, our home church. The highlight of their visit was grilling out burgers one night, sharing quality time with Clark and Carol Smith, and Marc and Alice Robertson, while itunes shuffled between all my Christmas music.
A couple weeks later, the semester came to an end, students traveled home, and we were able to ease into a few weeks of quiet Christmas break. The most fantatic thing we’ve done over Christmas is take it easy. The month of rest in Ireland was enourmously helpful, and we’ve tried, successfully so far, to keep things in perspective and not get carried away by the action and uncertainty of life in Uganda. It’s been really nice, these last couple of weeks, to enjoy the relative calm and growing foundation of love in our little family.
Thanks for checking in. Happy New Year!