Game On! – A brief lesson in growing

“I am better than you, dad! Just admit it!” 
I grinned at my middle child with a chuckle. “Prove it! Let’s see how good you are.”
Nico had been anxious to prove himself to me all week and how much he had improved his jump shot in basketball while practicing after school.
All throughout the previous week I had received menacing voice mails and threatening text messages of how I would get crushed on the court. According to one such message, he apparently had even learned to dunk in the short time since last I saw him! Saturday came at last to some fanfare and my son and I took to the court at the local park. 
“Are you sure you’re ready for this, old man?” Nico taunted. 
“You break, kiddo.”
Nico took the ball and with just a single dribble, hoisted it high over my head even before I had time to react. I turned to see the ball had fallen through the net effortlessly. I turned back to my snickering child, his smile was exuberant.
“Swish!”
Okay, so maybe he really had been practicing this time. But he’s still just a kid, right? And my son, no less. I can’t shoot a basketball to save my life! But…what if my ability to suck at basketball wasn’t hereditary after all? What if practice and perseverance really could improve Nico’s game the way it never did my own?
In the past I had been able to best my son on size alone. But now he was a 13 year old boy and greater than half of my height. If he had developed any skills at all on the basketball court, our entire father son dynamic was in ruins! I mean– fathers don’t lose to sons–do they?
Nico pulled up from nearly five feet away from me, 10 feet from the basket itself. 
“Swish!”
This was really happening. This kid really did improve his shot!
The next 12 minutes or so were a blur. Nico would shoot and I would watch the basketball fall into the hoop seemlessly. It was nearly poetic. When I managed to get onto offense, I would back him under the basket and score–if I were lucky. In the end, as the ball sailed through the hole for the winning point, I stood akimbo as my son celebrated ala Can Newton! 
“I told you, dad!” He smiled at me.
He was right. All of my doubts and fears about his preparation and preparedness for the basketball summer league he wanted to join were obviously unnecessary. Nico had taken the time to walk the walk to back up all of his talk. I could not have been any prouder of my boy.
As we went on to play again and again that day, I realized that I was the one learning the lesson here. And that’s alright by me. Because as we get older in this life, we are duty bound to improve and grow. My son with his jump shot, myself with the knowledge that he will best me at several more things before its all said and done. And why not? He’s my son. I taught him everything he knows. 
But next time we play, I’m gonna tie his shoe laces together…..

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4 thoughts on “Game On! – A brief lesson in growing

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, kathryneann. Yes! I entirely agree with you on that one. I’ve always felt my primary task as a parent was to ensure that my children reach a level greater than my own. Its my duty.

      Liked by 1 person

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