Wednesday, March 19, 2014
While it’s nice to imagine that they might turn out to be college-scholarship athletes, I’m not overly concerned that they excel at the sports they play. As hokey as it sounds, I really just want them to learn how to be a good teammate, engage in healthy exercise, develop a few leadership skills, and have a lot of fun.
It’s more important to me that they learn how to be good sports than to be good at sports.
In his most recent basketball season, Junius and his team had a perfect record – they managed to go eight straight games without winning a single one. Coming off an undefeated season with his hockey team, I worried that he might lose interest in basketball – or at least in his teammates – given their apparent lack of success.
During the final game last month, Junius scored a personal best 14 points. But the game highlight occurred when the ball wasn’t even in play.
As he followed his team back into the gym after halftime, Junius ran in front of his team’s bench, launched into a halfway decent cartwheel and burst out laughing as he bounced down next to the other boys.
When I asked him after the game why he did the cartwheel – an unusually showy move for him – he replied simply, “I wanted to rally my team, mom!”
That cartwheel rally didn’t affect the game’s outcome, but it made an otherwise losing season worth every butt-numbing minute in the stands.