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Shoot

February 1, 2009

Jon-David loved basketball until last Saturday.  The first few weeks of practice were great – he’d come home excitedly from evenings with his dad telling me that he learned to dribble.   Shoot.  Pass.

The first games were good, too.  My little son ran aimlessly up and down the court, mostly concerned with the scoreboard, cheering loudly when his teammates made a basket.  He’d ball both fists, raise them high in the air, and whisper, “yes” as the new score was calculated.

It didn’t really matter that Jon-David was never passed the ball.  His understanding of the game was still unformed; he was glad just to be on the court with his friend Nathan.

Last Saturday he came home and went immediately over to my desk, sitting down in my broken desk chair. “Jason says I stink at basketball.  He says I’ve never scored at basketball and I never will.”  The words “never will” were raised at the end – a testament to my son’s slight speech impediment.

“I don’t want to play anymore,” he said firmly, his head resting on the desk.

I wanted to kill Jason.  Or, at the very least, pin him on the floor and growl.  But Jasons will follow my son through his life –  how can I equip him to be confident when he feels like giving up?

My son is gifted in math (like his father) and spends hours drawing each day.  He is brilliant in ways that I don’t understand – but he is also awkward in a way I have never been.  This awkwardness shows up on the court each Saturday afternoon at the Methodist Church gym, and I can feel overwhelmed at the thought of knowing how to help my son.

So I think I will start small this week.  Hugh is buying a basketball goal (hopefully – babe, this is your reminder!) and we are going to spend some time teaching Jon-David some of the basics of the game.  Also, I will continue to remind my son of the ways in which he is already a success.

It’s not about the game, really.  It’s about Jon-David knowing he’s not defined by what Evil Jason says about him.  It’s about raising his fists and cheering even when he doesn’t score.  It’s about showing up for practice even when he feels defeated.

It’s life.  And we’re ready to teach him.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2009 9:35 pm

    What a great response. You’re not only affirming what his skills and abilities are already, but teaching him new ones to grow his confidence. You’re letting him know that it’s okay to be a bit behind and still be working to improve. You’re teaching coping skills. Amazing job, really. 🙂 And more productive than jumping on Jason (though tempting indeed. I’d sure want to!!!).

    Jon-David is very, very blessed.

  2. Amanda McEwen permalink
    February 2, 2009 2:01 pm

    Let Aunt Mander come to one of his cames. I’ll take care of the little twit.
    Jon-David is so blessed to have such a wonderful mommy and daddy who are working so hard to euip him to handle the heartbreaks of life.
    Love you and that boy.

  3. February 2, 2009 5:43 pm

    If you guys have time (and a goal) Wednesday afternoon, we can come over and let both Jon-David and Kathryn practice together. I think she’ll help him feel really good about his basketball skills, if you know what I mean. She hasn’t scored any points yet either.

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