NBA Lockout Unlocks Passion

Purposeful Parent Tip:  Nurture and support your child’s passion.

Christmas Day 2011. “This is the best day of my life,” said my teenaged son Christopher. Was it because he’d gotten his favorite video game? Was it the anticipation of the home-made ravioli my father had prepared? Was he simply embracing the season of joy and love? In a word, no. There was only one reason my son awoke early that day filled with joy. The NBA lockout was over and it was game day.

For those who know my son, they are well aware of his passion for basketball. He has played in the recreation leagues since he was about five or six. He has risen up from the Biddy Leagues to a place on the Juniors, getting better and better each season. He loves the game. He loves the players (ok, well, not ALL of them) and his favorite team is the L.A. Lakers, followed closely by the N.Y. Knicks.

To listen to my son speak of the game is no less than astonishing. Every stat, every play, every player. It truly is amazing to me. If ESPN would permit a 14-year old boy to be a commentator for a game, I’m certain that he would rival any of the seasoned faces around the SportsCenter desk. While there certainly are days that I truly feel like my head will explode if I hear one more fact about a particular game or player (I suspect his teachers feel the same way), I cannot help but marvel at how he has embraced this sport and the amount of information that he has grasped in such a short period of time.

His dream (like many boys his age) is to play in the NBA. Every time he watches a game and sees a cool move by one of his idols, he quickly hits the pause button on the remote, goes outside and tries it out for himself. Within a short time, he inevitably comes back into the house saying that he’s “mastered” the shot or he’s learned why his own shots weren’t working and has now fixed it.

This is amazing to me. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have an athletic bone in my body. I never played sports. I was a cheerleader for a short time (and not a good one either), but it is safe to say that my school teams did as well as they did because I wasn’t on the team!  I do enjoy watching sports despite knowing very little about “how they work”.  I
thoroughly enjoy watching my kids play however. (Probably a little too much the people sitting next to me might say!)

It is safe to say that in the past year, I have learned more about basketball than I ever thought possible. I know so much more about the players and the particular strategies that I can now have a conversation with my son about it. When he says “That was a travel”, I know what that means. When I say, “Wasn’t that a technical?” he explains why it was not.

My son lights up when he’s talking about the game. And he talks about it all the time. If there was a high school class on basketball stats or history, he’d ace it with his eyes closed.  Until then, he will have to muddle through freshman algebra and world history.

I don’t know if my son will make it to the NBA or even a college team for that matter, but I do know this. His love of the game will follow him through his whole life and he will pass this along to his own children one day. Until then, I will continue to be the sounding board on topics such as unfair trades, bad ref calls, and arguments about which team is
best.

Your child’s passion is going to come in ways you may not expect.  Be sure to nurture it. Who knows? You might very well be looking at the next Michael Jordan!

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