Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hoop Dreams

The kiddo isn’t a great athlete, but he’s not horrible either. He has a zest for life and an enthusiasm to everything he throws himself into. Currently, he’s playing in the school’s youth basketball league. There are five third grade teams. They practice on Tuesday nights and play two games Saturday mornings through all of November and most of December. Games are played at the two middle school gymnasiums – they play half court games, but the full width of the court.

Each team in the league (third grade through sixth) is given the opportunity to scrimmage on the high school gym floor during halftime of a varsity boys basketball game. The kiddo’s team’s turn was Friday night.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been traveling a lot for work the last couple of months, but I’ve made it home every weekend for the kiddo’s games. I was in Pittsburgh again this past week, and I knew I needed to get home in time for his big moment on the court.

Because nothing goes as planned, I had actually padded my calendar to accommodate my leaving Pittsburgh late, and I’m glad I did. I ended up leaving an hour-and-a-half later than originally planned, and got stuck in rush hour traffic downtown. But I caught a break when I called Tracy from the road and realized the varsity game was starting at 7:30 instead of 7:00.

I ended up walking into the high school gym with two minutes left in the first half! Prefect timing. And the first person I saw was the kiddo, who was lined up with his team, waiting for their big moment. After I got a giant I-missed-you-all-week hug, I found my way over to Tracy and the other youth parents we’re friends with who were all sitting together.

Halftime wasn’t very long, but sandwiched between the dance squad’s routine at the beginning of it and the varsity teams warming back up at the end, the kiddo and his mates had their five or so minutes in the sun! Playing full court ball, running hard end-to-end, hustling, and trying their best.

Before their scrimmage started, I told Tracy, “You watch, he won’t touch the ball once tonight, but will still have the greatest time ever.” And I was right. He didn’t get his hands on the ball, but he had fun. He hustled on defense, ran the length of the court hard, and was clearly having a blast out there with his friends. I was so proud of him.

Leaving the school later, there were a couple of high school girls at the entrance. They saw the kiddo – still in his basketball jersey, shorts, and sports goggles – and told him he did a nice job. The kiddo said “Thank you” in that awkward eight-year-old-getting-a-compliment-from-a-high-school-girl kind of way, and I know he was proud of himself, too.

No comments: