Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Basketball and Memories

Both of my children have decided they want to play basketball through the Upwards program sponsored by our church.  Titus signed up months ago, and has been fired up about it.  Titus is a "natural" kid...almost everything he attempts comes naturally to him.  He is a great athlete.  This year he has played soccer, flag football, and now basketball, and every coach has been astonished by his abilities.  Cecely is not an athlete.  She is an artist.  With her Cerebral Palsy condition, I try to get her involved in physical activity, but she is well aware of her limitations, and she does not want to stand out in a negative way.  In school, she compensates very well and has learned wonderful skills to help her be a success.  I didn't offer basketball to her because she has shot down every physical suggestion I have thrown at her.  Last week, we went to Titus' basketball practice.  Afterwards she told me she wanted to give it a try.  So, this week, she practiced with a team...she LOVED it!  Her sweet face lit up, she smiled the entire time, she worked up a sweat, and she challenged herself.  Between my two awesome kiddos, I cannot help but be a proud Mom.

While Cecely was practicing with her team, I worked on the sidelines with Titus.  This may come as earth-shattering news to anyone who knows me, but I actually like basketball...I get it, and I understand most of the rules.  I really enjoy playing basketball.  It wasn't until we were at Upwards practice that I remembered how much I like that game.  Here's a mental picture for you...I was wearing a dress, sweater and boots because I had been at work all day.  But, I was on the court with my son passing and dribbling and having a blast.  I tried to explain to Titus about double dribbling and traveling.  I showed him how to do a bounce pass and a chest pass.  After I had shared a little information with him, Cecely's coach said the same things to the team.  Titus looked at me in complete shock and said, "Wow, Mom!  You actually know what you're talking about!".   I could not help but laugh.  My kiddos know athleticism is not one of my strengths.  When it was Titus' turn to practice with his team, I spent time going over the same basics with Cecely.  The look of determination on her face was inspiring.  Her willingness to listen to instruction was amazing.  She worked hard for a complete hour.  She was physically exhausted, but she was so happy.  Ah, what an amazing moment for me to share with her.

That night, after practice, I had about a million things running through my mind.  I felt gratitude for a church that provides a safe and encouraging place for my children to learn about Jesus through playing sports as well as learning how to play new-to-them games.  I felt blessed to meet coaches who are patient and encouraging while teaching wild groups of kiddos how to play.  But, what flooded my mind the most was wonderful memories.

My Daddy LOVED basketball.  UNC Tarheels were his team. My Daddy taught me how to dribble, shoot and pass.  He helped me find my sweet spot for my jump shot.  He taught me how to play defense...even though I was a terrible defensive player.  My Daddy would spend hours with my siblings and me in our driveway playing HORSE or a pick-up game.  My parents sent me to basketball camp several summers in a row.  I loved basketball camp.  The night I was practicing with Cecely and Titus, I couldn't believe all the things I remembered from camp and what my Daddy taught me.  It gave me jolt of perspective.  What are Titus and Cecely going to remember about me when I'm not around anymore?  What memories are they going to have when they pick up a basketball?  What I am investing in them for future generations? 

Here's the bottom line...children are sponges soaking up every experience, every word, every action we share with them.  It is my heart's desire to leave my kiddos with a legacy full of good memories.  I'm going to take advantage of every opportunity to do just that.  Whether it be playing basketball, volunteering together, watching movies on the couch, or riding down the road singing...when they are grown up, I want them to have sweet memories!

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