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    Starting a new AAU season

    By Katie Peterson
    Ithaca, NY

    Starting a new season of AAU can be an exciting, nerve-wracking, scary and enjoyable experience. Your teammates can be old, new, or you might have a mixed team. We always talk about how our first practice makes us all a little nervous, since we haven't seen each other for a long time. On my AAU team there are girls who have played on the same team for two years, one year, or are just starting this season. Nevertheless, we have already become a team that has gone 10-3 in our last three tournaments.

    I love AAU because of all the experiences on and off the court. Some of the experiences my team has had are going to Times Square in New York City in between games and going to the top of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. We also just like to hang out at the hotel where we play kickball in the parking lot (posts versus guards-posts won) swim in the pool, go shopping or just watch movies in someone's hotel room on a projector. We have played on many different courts in college campuses including Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, VCU, Villanova, University of Richmond, Siena and NC State. Coming home from a tiring day is always nice, but what I enjoy most are the games when you never know who is going to win until the last few seconds.

    That's one big difference between the AAU season and the school team. In AAU the competition is harder, faster and stronger, whereas the school leagues you usually know who your opponents are and how they play. Our last tournament was in Richmond, Virginia, where college coaches surrounded the courts during the NCAA recruiting season, and watched players adjust from one league to another. Some of the girls on my team who are sophomores like I am think that having the coaches there puts a lot of pressure on us, but then we realize that as long as we don't give up, and have fun, it will be okay.

    No matter what happens in AAU, a team always has to work together. As long as you have fun and play your hardest, AAU is a successful season.

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