As I walked into the gym tonight for H’s basketball game, I just had to smile. The echo of bouncing balls, the smell of popcorn from the concession stand, the music blaring for the pre-game warm-up…I love it! Of all the sports and activities my daughter has participated in through the years, soccer, softball, track, cross-country, tennis, basketball, dance, theatre-basketball is my favorite. I love the physicality of basketball; the speed, the strength, the coordination, the teamwork, and the game. Watching H play basketball through the years is one of my favorite things to do.
She started playing in First Grade. I remember the coach of her little WNSL team sat the parents down at the beginning of the season and said, “These girls might be our future high school basketball team!” That was a stretch I must say. We were lucky if those girls made a basket, much less a basket in our own goal. Half the time they went the wrong direction. Dribbling didn’t exist for them back then. There were 20 girls on the team that year. As the years went by, more and more girls dropped out, and by the time they were in high school there were four left. But through the years, for H, basketball was the one sport she stuck with. One by one the other activities and sports were dropped to make room for the time commitment of basketball.
H transferred to a new school in High School, so she started all over with a new group of girls. It was a great way to transition to a new school. She had four seniors who were great role models and took her under their wings which made the change much easier. She became very close with most of the team, and even wrote a blog post about her new family.
“My Second Family
Being a part of the Basketball team at school is possibly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I did not only improve as a player, but I also made a second family. 17 sisters and 3 moms to be exact. The girls on my team were not only so sweet to me when I was new to the team, but immediately included me in everything. I never felt left out because I was the newbie. I have found that I’ve made a personal bond with each of the players in a different way. They are all incredible athletes and incredible people too. It wasn’t hard to swoop in and be a part of the team since we are almost ALWAYS together. Literally, I’ve spent around 315 hours with them this year. This does not include nights and weekends or trips that we take or the summer team camps or tryouts, but just practices. We have only a few more weeks in the season, and though I may have some more free time after school, I will really miss all of my sisters.”
It was all good.
This year has been a little bit different. The seniors who were mentors for H have graduated and moved on, and she’s struggling with the academic pressures of 10th grade, and the time commitment of basketball. Unless you play a fall or spring sport, basketball is a year round commitment. Weight room, private coaching, AAU, and the team practices and games pretty much take up all H’s time. Dance, theatre, rock climbing, volunteering are all things she wants to do but has no time.
J complains about the long weekends we don’t get to take because of basketball games, the tournaments over the holidays, and the long hours away from us because of school and practices, but regardless, we love watching her play. And as I walked into the gym tonight, and I had that familiar happy feeling, I wonder if the reason H has played basketball all these years, more and more exclusively, was because she always wants to please us. Did she continue to play because we were so excited about her playing? Did she give up soccer, tennis, dancing, and track because we complained about the practices and games more for those activities than basketball? As parents, do we subconsciously lead our kids into the activities we wanted to do when we were young?
As far as the future goes, time will tell. I don’t think H regrets the years she spent playing basketball. She learned a lot about herself, her limits, her abilities, and her strengths. Whether she thinks it was all worth it, that remains to be seen. We will support her 100% no matter what she decides. But for now, we are going to enjoy every minute of every game.