I have tried for years to get Hunter to love basketball. He’s played a few seasons of rec ball with his friends, but he’s never been one to go outside to shoot some hoops, despite my best efforts and despite his natural ability. So I was a little surprised at the beginning of the school year when he said he was going to try-out for the school team, considering he hadn’t picked up a ball for two years (since the last rec season he played).
In all reality, I didn’t think it was a good idea with his already busy schedule: Junior high with all honors classed and trying to figure out how to manage that load, on top of multiple days of soccer and tennis once a week. I shared my concerns with Hunter and Steve made it pretty clear that he wouldn’t make the team because there were boys that have been working hard to make this team.
He didn’t even have basketball shoes – but wouldn’t you know it, Hallie’s shoes from last year fit him like a glove. As he was rushing out the door to his first day of try-outs, I told him to take her shoes and she was a little bugged because they were her shoes. I reminded her that she made the decision to not wear them again and as such it would be great if she would pass them on to Hunter. She reluctantly agreed.
Steve told me not to worry – he wouldn’t be making the team. After the first day of tryouts, Hunter came home and told us that there were over 60 kids trying out and he was pretty sure he’d make the team. Steve chuckled at his naivety. The next day after tryouts, they cut it down to 30 and Hunter was still there. My concern started to grow as I couldn’t fathom managing a schedule as busy as he was going to be.
The last day I picked him up, he was beaming when he told me he made the team and there was a small pit in my stomach. I admired his drive, athleticism and confidence but I was a little bugged that Steve thought it was a good idea for him to try-out to teach him a lesson in humility and it backfired.
Although it started on shaky ground, I’m happy to report he had a great, successful season. Just as I suspected, it was a rough go with managing his school work on top of being gone every night of the week. There were moments of frustration when he realized there were just weren’t enough hours in the day. He learned to be efficient in his school work, taking advantage of each opportunity of free time at school. He had to give up time with friends.
Just a week into the season, I picked him up from practice and he casually stated that he was going to go hang out with friends. He had a small window of time in between activities and he was going to fill it with friends. I had to remind him that he had scheduled himself to the point of not having time for friends – he needed to go home and work on school before having to leave again. As you can imagine that went over real well (Originally, he thought he would be playing basketball with all his friends, but unfortunately, most of them didn’t make the team.)
Luckily, he found his groove. He focused on his school work, carved out time for multiple sports and then spent weekend nights with friends when he could. Not to mention he was fun to watch. He’s a fast player and was quick to intercept the ball or make a steal and race down the court. Both Steve and I were a little disappointed at the end when he stated he still didn’t love the sport (We thought it might light a fire within him. We figured given his natural ability, with some effort he could be great – but it turns out he doesn’t love it. It also doesn’t help that in high school, basketball and soccer are the same season and he’s already made it clear he loves soccer.) It was a great learning experience for him. I feel a little guilty that I almost pushed him away from it. He learned real quick how to manage a heavy load and he did it better than expected.
Just when we thought Hallie’s shoes had been retired, they saw another life!