Reflections on My Son’s Final Basketball Game

On Saturday night, my second son’s basketball team lost in district play and their season came to an end. Somewhere in the third quarter when I realized we were not going to win without a miracle, I took out a sheet of paper, and I wrote down a few thoughts about my son and his senior year of basketball.

I share these with you for two reasons. First, I want everyone to know how proud I am of my son. He is a great athlete and a great young man. Second, I want people to know you can still be good at sports without compromising anything. Now, I am not saying my son is perfect, far from it, but he is a great kid who represents our family and his faith well.

1. Good Sportsmanship – I am proud to say that over the years he has never received a single technical foul or even a flagrant foul. He had pushed the limits on this a couple of times when he was getting hit, and no calls were made by the refs, but he never crossed that line. He has not thrown any temper tantrums on the sidelines and got into any heated conflicts with teammates. He has proven to me that you can be intense at sports without being a jerk.

2. Not Selfish – One thing I have seen this year is that my son would pass to anyone. He was often reminded to “know who you are passing to” but that did not stop him from passing. If someone was open, he threw the ball to them no matter what. Even in the final two minutes of his last game, he shared the ball with a couple other seniors in hopes that they would score. You do not have to be selfish to be a great ball player.

3. A Friend to All – Even though we have only been in Adrian for a little less than three years my son made some great friends. Over the last few months, my wife and I have enjoyed having a group of 3-5 boys over to our house before a game. In fact, over the last month, we just came to plan on having a meal for them before they left. My son has some great friends on the team.
On top of that, my wife and I have collected pictures and stories of my son talking to the other team’s players. Quite often during the game, especially free throws, he would stop and talk to the boys on the other team. Several of them he has then followed on Instagram and Snapchat and went on to become friends. Being competitive does not mean you have to hate other people, they are all just high school boys trying to have fun.

4. Brotherly Love – It is always a great joy to have my boys on the same team. Last year my two oldest played together. This year my middle two played together. My wife and I both cherish those moments when they give each other high-fives and celebrate together. My boys are not only teammates, but they are also friends.

5. Christian Faith – I know my son is not perfect as a player or as a person and I do not want to elevate him as a perfect model of faith. I do want people to know that since he started playing basketball in the 3rd or 4th grade, he has missed only one Sunday because of basketball. One time we let him travel to a tourney in Alaska over a weekend. Otherwise, he has never played on a travel team or spent weekends on the road to get better. Nope, faith and Church are a priority in our family, and I want parents to know that you can be good at a sport without compromising your values.

I will be honest it was hard to watch his walk off the court on Saturday night. I hugged him, and I didn’t want to let him go. Later that night as I lied in bed I was reminded that one of the biggest goals of sports is to prepare kids for real life. I know without a doubt that as my son goes off to college this fall, he will make me proud. He already has.

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