My son is playing basketball this year. Correction… My son is on a basketball team and LEARNING how to play basketball. I think most would say to play the game there has to be a fair amount of dribbling, passing, and shooting involved. My son is REALLY good at defense. 🙂 And that’s totally okay.
His team is a fair mix of kindergarteners thru 2nd graders. My boy is on the young end (possibly even the youngest despite his height). So, as expected, the older players are the ones making the points. The younger players are basically running defense… Even when they are supposed to be playing offense (don’t get me wrong, they continue to improve week after week. Today, even, my boy shot the ball for the first time.).
Unfortunately for him and his teammates, they are close to the worst in their league. They have won one game (thank you, God, for giving them that one amazing and rejoiceful win) and that will probably be it for the season. I hope that the kids feel as a-okay about it as the parents, because you can tell how we feel.
When the opposite team makes an excellent Hail Mary shot, you can’t help but clap. Likewise, when our tiniest player gets courage enough to dribble down the court, the opposing team’s section claps. Today, that same small dude helped an opposing team’s player off the ground and gave a hug to him when he was hurt. Today, my child came over and gave us a hug after he made a good pass, missing out on guarding his person and allowing a shot to be made. And guess what, there’s no heavy scolding about anything (correction yes, but not shaming/scolding. There IS a difference.). You don’t hear it from the other players’ families and you won’t hear it from us. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE IN KINDERGARTEN!
There’s no college scouts at these games, just in case people need to be reminded. The scouts won’t be there next year or even in 5. They MIGHT show up in 10 years but what are the odds they will be there for my child?
I don’t make that statement because I have no confidence in my son, but let’s be realistic and let me give you some backstory here.
I’ve been involved with sports all of my life. While my primary sport was spent racing people in the swimming pool, there were a few ball sports I played and “played.” One year in basketball and I knew it wasn’t for me. Maybe I needed to stick with it to learn some assertiveness but it just wasn’t my style. I didn’t like people getting in my space and I certainly didn’t like chasing after other people either. It wasn’t my thing (oddly, childhood soccer I liked better… Maybe I dribbled with my feet better than my hands). HOWEVER, there have been others in my life that had some natural talent. They were pretty awesome, in fact. But guess what, they aren’t playing in pro sports right now and they didn’t get a scholarship to a big named university. In fact, I don’t think ANY person in my high school class got a scholarship like that (I might be wrong but no one comes to mind). But guess what, some of those kids had to endure a tremendous amount of “coaching” from their parents from the sidelines (nerve wracking even for me the benchwarmer, or the bystander. I felt like my level of likeness by those players’ parents depended on how good I was. Given how bad I was, I assumed I wasn’t thought of very much.). Those kids had to not only deal with their coaching on the court but also their parent(s) on the drive home. They worked their best on their sports but it didn’t look like their best was good enough for their parent(s)… At least from my perspective and I KNOW good and well some of those adult children would vouch for my statement. Geez, one girl I swam with was so good and you could see the disappointment in her Dad’s eyes when she didn’t win AND make a new personal record. I’m talking about a junior high school aged kid here, folks.
Time heals many wounds, yes. Many of these adult children might say, “I know my parent loved me. They did the best they knew how to do.” Yet, I guarantee there are others who still haven’t healed. They are dealing with trying to please their parent in mid-life OR they are dealing with believing that their parent doesn’t genuinely like them now.
I am happy that I found a league for my son that spends as much time coaching the kids about good sportsmanship and character as they do the basic skills of basketball. My boy gets in the car and talks about the awesome “shoots” his older teammates made or the highlights of his own abilities. We ensure he had a great time as he hands me his star for the game (this time his star was for playing good offense).
Kids are only kids once and I pray that my children look back with fond memories, not memories of not measuring up. I pray we all get perspective on this and aren’t nervously sitting in the bleachers, feeling some level of pride/embarrassment for our children’s abilities/inabilities.