Thursday, September 26, 2013

My kid sucks at basketball

There. I said it.

I know you're shaking your head in disappointment at my lack of kindness, empathy or basic decorum but I have no other way to say it. 

I promise I'm a good parent. My son doesn't know that I think he sucks at basketball. But he does. He's not just catching up or a little behind, he's in the needs a miracle to make it zone. 

There's a million justifications and reasons. He's 7. It's his first sport. He's never played basketball before. He's small for his age. Blah blah blah. Excuses.

In reality, I spend the majority of practice trying to think of kind ways to tell him to keep his shirt out of his mouth. Every time he goes through the warmups I bite my lip to refrain from laughing as his does half of them backwards and chooses to skip along daintily as everyone else runs their hardest. When it's time to catch a pass he can often be found examining a butterfly or poking the kid behind him in the ribs. He gets hit by the ball a lot.

I hate going to his practices and his games are even more embarrassing. I don't need a superstar or anything but what we have is just simply an exercise In futility. I know you're supposed to make them stick it out and encourage them to practice and praise the small successes. I've read a parenting book or two. But have you tried to do that in a situation like this? I keep hoping he'll want to quit so I'll be off the hook.

The part that amazes me through all this is my sons attitude. During practices etc... He looks frustrated or like he doesn't care most of the time. But after every practice and game he tells me "basketball is awesome!" We practice at home and he shows incredible perseverance. No one wants to be his partner and he often messes up the whole team but he lives in a world of rainbows and sunshine where nothing bad exists.

As his mom, I watch and I teeter between embarrassment and sadness. Today is his birthday and he has practice tonite. I've been dreading it.

Well I was dreading. It until I saw a friends post on Facebook:

"Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast is not given to us. We have to build it, piece by piece - by thought, choice, courage, and determination." John Luther

My little guy isn't delusional in his rainbow world. He sees that he's not on the same level (or the same planet!) as the other players (he's not stupid) but he is filled to overflowing with good character. He tries, he's kind, he includes everyone, he perseveres and he ends his practices with a smile for everyone. Today I am going to watch his practice and try to focus on that and cringe less at all the other stuff.

As shocking as it is that my tiny, slow,uncoordinated child won't be making it to the NBA ( or will he? Michael Jordan didn't make his high school team!) I know he will be a good person filled with good character. Maybe that is where his true talent lies. 

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