The best basketball play ever (A Dad's perspective)

March 3, 2012

Best basketball play ever

I’m not talking about Pro or even college hoops, I’m talking about the 3rd/4th grade semifinals in a small gym in New England.

You see, I didn’t pass on the greatest basketball skills to my kids, didn’t have them to pass on to be exact! But my oldest son Ryan (9) is very much interested in bball and he should be, all his classmates and friends play, it’s fun and basketball is very popular up here. During the regular season the ball was passed freely to everyone with no one very worried about the playoffs. Everyone got to touch the ball as much as they needed. But now in the semi-final game, the pressure has risen, we are behind and we need baskets. The better ball handlers are taking control of the game and my guy is not seeing the ball at all. And he’s starting to realize this might be on purpose.

Ryan comes off the court in the 3rd quarter in tears saying that no one is passing the ball to him, that they are just giving it to their friend from out of bounds. You see, I’m the asst coach, which means I don’t do much except that I can keep a close eye on Ryan during games. And a free license to scream at other parents kids for an hour a week, jk, but the games are fun and now there is pressure. I can see he is emotional and I think maybe a little more then I expected which makes me think he is either low or high bg. He is diabetic. His forehead is hot and red and he is sweating hard. So I test him as he continues to talk to me about the unfairness of it all. He is high, over 400, oh man!, he has been running high the last few days. I give him almost 3 units of insulin but it won’t be immediate and I tell him that if he’s not feeling up to it I can tell Coach to keep you out for the last switch. He says no, he’s going in. But he’s high and he will be in 5 minutes but I know that running around would be the best thing for him anyway. He slugs down some water and gets back in the game for his final stint, still wiping the final tear from his eye. I give him encouragement that if he wants to handle the ball more, he’s going to have to grab rebounds himself to get it. But I know all he really wants is to take the ball upcourt from out of bounds.

He goes back in the game and after some back and forth we take the ball out from the far side of the court. I see him standing in front of his teammate with his hands extending asking for the pass, his teammate does and now I’m happy. I see Ryan dribbling the ball up, smiling, just like he wanted to do all game and I’m glad he asserted himself to make sure he got the ball. This was all I needed to feel that Ryan had a complete game, enough at least to say he was definitely part of the game and his teammates listened to him when he needed it. But this wasn’t enough for Ryan, he apparently had bigger plans. I expected him to bring it up court and pass to one of his teammates and they would take a shot. But as he got closer to us he went to his right and took the ball to our side of the court. Then he got blocked so he went left to the other side of the court, not really interested in going to the basket, just a lot of dribbling, a LOT of dribbling. And his teammates were asking for the ball, coach was yelling to him to pass, I started yelling for him to pass. Then he came back to our side of the court, defenders were swiping at the ball to no avail, they couldn’t get it away. The crowd at this point started to really scream Ryan’s name ‘Go Ryan’, ‘That’s the way’, I mean he had the ball for a long time at this point. It was almost comical because he wasn’t trying to go for the net, just dribbling around the court. The ref’s were smiling hard, it was just a fun moment. And now he dribbled back in front of our bench and I’m screaming ‘Go to the hoop, Ryan!’ ‘shoot!’, thinking to myself, jeez, do something! And then something clicked inside him and a lane opened up to the basket and he drove for it. I haven’t seen him that determined in a while but he had it in his mind that he wasn’t giving that ball up until he felt like it! He still had a high BG, I know that for a fact and even with the distraction that all that excess sugar can give you, which must feel like nausea coupled with a headache (I can only imagine!), he saw the basket and went for it. He took a few dribbles to the basket with defenders on each side of him and he put the ball up and it went right in the basket! He spun around with that grin that only Ryan can flash and a huge fistpump. Pure happiness wrapped in satisfaction. The crowd went wild and he bolted towards our bench and I missed him but Coach gave him a big high five and he went upcourt to be on defense. He didn’t stop talking about it all night Nicole said. It doesn’t matter that it was only his second score of the season, or that we lost by 20, he had the resolve to trust himself and take it as far as he could. At that point, he didn’t listen to his teammates or his coach, only to his inner voice. I couldn’t be more proud as a parent.



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