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Learning to play on a team...

When my brother was young, he ended up on a fantastic community basketball team. The coach was wise and caring, and he not only taught them how to play the various positions and shoot baskets, but he taught they how to be part of a team.

I've been hoping that D would have a similar experience, and last night was his first basketball game. Wow -- I'm so impressed and grateful! His coach is a wonderful man, the dad to one of the boys on the team, and his goals are simply to help those kids become a team. They're definitely learning how to play the game, but more than that, he's teaching them compassion and awareness of the rest of the boys on the team.

One of the boys on the team has had a tough time of things. His mom teaches at D's school (in fact, she's a third grade teacher -- these are all third grade boys). The summer before J started Kindergarten, his father was killed in a car accident. The mom couldn't afford to take time off to grieve, so both she and J had to continue on with their lives. J retreated into a shell, barely speaking, never making eye contact. D had Kindergarten with him, and the students were told to treat him with kindness. They did, for the most part. In fact, D and two others on the team now had Kindergarten with J.

J doesn't have a dad to help him with 'boy' stuff. His mom (who's a wonderful woman) does everything she can, but there's still a huge hole in his life. You can see it on the court, and it's hard to watch. But the flip side comes when the boys -- all 8 or 9 -- banded together to make sure that J got the ball at every opportunity. He had a chance to shoot and even to try for a couple of free throws. Even though he struggles as an athlete, I'm hoping that feeling the support of these other boys will buoy him and help him build confidence. He may never be a great athlete, but he can still be part of the team.

I'm so proud of D -- he's a strong team player. He passes, he gets open, he hustles, he sticks with his man. He's doing everything I hoped. Plus, he scored a number of times, including his two free throws. He's one of the smaller boys on the team, so that was good to see.

Even more, I'm so happy to see his compassion, along with the compassion of the other boys. J isn't the only player who struggles, of course. He's the weakest athlete, but there are a couple of other boys who clearly have confidence issues. With their coach, I have a good feeling about how they'll all grow and learn to support each other. Truly, I'm delighted.

Happy Thursday :D



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 2nd, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this. It's so encouraging to hear about people who are Doing it Right and creating a community of compassion like this -- especially when we're bombarded with bad stories all the time.

Also, thank you for SEEING this. That says a lot about who you are.
Dec. 3rd, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
It's really nice to have a coach who knows what's truly important :)
Dec. 2nd, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
It's great to see that out there are still people trying to teach boys to be a team, to support each other even if they don't win. Over here we don't have anything like that or at least I didn't found it.
Congratulations to D for being compassionate and for being a good player!:)
Dec. 3rd, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
It was interesting to watch, because the other coach clearly was a nice guy, but he didn't know enough about basketball -- or even team sports -- to foster a very good team spirit.
Dec. 2nd, 2010 07:57 pm (UTC)
It's refreshing to encounter a coach for young children who realizes that "winning is everything" doesn't apply to ones so young.
Dec. 3rd, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
Amen :) We're very pleased!
Dec. 2nd, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
Aw, sounds like a great group of boys - and coach! I hope they have a great season!
Dec. 3rd, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
I think it'll be fun and enlightening!
Dec. 3rd, 2010 01:40 am (UTC)
You do know there's a story in this, for sometime down the road. A story about sports that is about far more important things than winning and losing. How great to see all that compassion from such young people.
Dec. 3rd, 2010 03:24 am (UTC)
I totally agree with wordsrmylife.
Dec. 3rd, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
I wish I was better at middle grade...not that I couldn't do something like that for YA, I suppose.
Dec. 3rd, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
Maybe you should write it ;) (I'm not very good at middle grade, sadly.)
Dec. 3rd, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
This sounds like one of those things that will stick with him for the rest of his life. What great lessons for him to learn.
Dec. 3rd, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, I hope so! I'm so thankful we ended up with this coach :)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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