What a beautiful Thursday evening! Wife’s out of town with our daughter so son and I get to spend some quality father-son bonding time.
On the agenda tonight is a trip to basketball practice. You should know that I am about as athletic as an emu so for me it’s more of a “do the daddy thing and support your son” endeavor. Reality is it’s more of a “chauffeur your boy” night.
Considering he seems to have gotten some of my genes, I’m quite impressed with his tenacity and skill. True he has a harder time than other kids making the basket but he tries. His cousin, for instance, is a wiry waif of a thing who seems to enjoy running around the court like a rat in a maze; his gratification coming from mindlessly putting a ball in the net from half-court. Not bitter.
My son prefers to earn his distinction the old fashioned way through practice, grit, and sweat. So what if he’s presently staring at a point on the gym ceiling looking like he wonders whether he left the iron on? We’ll get this technique down together!
Come to think of it, emus are pretty athletic, right? I mean they do have nice personalities and generally good senses of humor developed over centuries to mask their insecurities and raw, naked shame.
We take our place in front of the net. “Daddy, I’m getting bored,” he says. “Very manly of you, son. Such athleticism!” I say with enthusiasm. We line up our shot. Or lay up our shot. I don’t know these terms. We are pumped and ready. This is how you do it.
And then a basketball flies over my head and swooshes right through the net. OK, that was a little disorienting. “Nice shot, Nephew,” I say. “Next time check that there’s no one else trying to shoot, OK buddy?”
“All right son, Daddy’s going to show you how to – Son, there’s nothing on that wall but paint. Look here’s the form.”
“Nephew, didn’t I just ask you to give us a little room? And Son pay attention!” OK here we g-
Swoosh, swoosh, and swoosh!
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Nephew! I will slap you. And how’d you get three baskets so fast? Never mind I don’t wanna know about it.”
I’ve got a better idea.
“Son, how ’bout some ice cream and an episode of Modern Marvels on the History Channel?”
Part of being a dad is being supportive.
The other part is recognizing there are more important things in life than basketball.
On our way out we hid Nephew’s balls on top of a bank of lockers. See, Son, you don’t have to be a jock. Sometimes it’s enough just to be tall.