confessions of a former 6th grade girl’s basketball player…


Being a parent of a “sports” player takes patience and skill. My daughter really does not like the game of basketball…which is so disheartening to me. I love the sport…love the feel of the ball in my hands…love to spin the ball on my finger and take shots with perfect form–well try to anyway. The doll is a dabbler. “I got the plays mixed up…” she told me following one game. “That’s okay…its not like you were the only one having a bad game” I replied, trying to reassure her that basketball is a team sport. You win or lose as a team.

A few weeks back, I helped out at the girls practice. The coach and I did some nonverbal communication with head fakes and I scored a basked. Two girls immediately looked at me and said “Lucky shot” which made me a bit defensive. “Lucky nothing…its called being in-tune with the ball handler…” I replied. The girls had no clue what I meant…and the coach had to explain. In the meantime, the doll was embarrassed I even responded.  I realized later, my want to help the girls improve was mixed in with my own self importance as a former 6th grade girls basketball player.

When I played the game, I used to practice everyday on my layups and outside shots in our driveway. I even counted off ten feet from the backboard to the center of driveway and painted-yes painted (and got in trouble for later) a foul line so I could practice that shot. I dare say, if I had ever been aggressive enough to be fouled, I could have been the teams leading scorer. I had a beautiful outside shot. But like my doll…I was not an aggressive player-which I have to constantly remind myself of when watching her play on Saturdays.

“Doll you need to box that girl out…” I explain. “I know” she replies and thus ends the discussion on her play. Being the adult watching the girls play is so much more difficult than sitting on the bench and wishing you could play better than you do. My mom used to tell me all the time I needed to be more aggressive. Quite a difficult thing to do when you’re a nice, timid kind of girl–which my doll has inherited. One parent in the stands commented to me, how she wished she could take all the aggression her daughter has for her siblings and bottle it up…so she’d have some of it to use come game day. I chuckled and confessed I often thought the same thing. Two parents watching the two tallest girls, having trouble being aggressive on court.”I wish I could just get her to be more forward and willing to go after that ball…” I said to another parent. “But then she wouldn’t be the nice and sweet girl we know and love” I got in reply.

“You know if you showed just an inkling of wanting to get better at basketball, you and  I could practice together…” I said to her one afternoon. Stopping to consider what I was saying, she patted me on the head and said, “No thank you. I know its you’re favorite sport mom…but its not mine, sorry!” Shot down again. Yes…I cannot re-live my want for glory days on the basketball court with her. Instead I’ll just have to be happy watching her grow into a nice young lady…which in the grand scheme of things is more important.

Yet watching her take an outside shot would be cool too.


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