Yesterday was my elder daughter's first time to play basketball. She is seven, and we signed her up to play on her school's 2nd/3rd Grade team. She went to practice after school, and I showed up 20 minutes before practice was scheduled to end so I could watch a bit and meet her coach.
When I came in, I was upset. I was having a crappy day (see previous post). I had just heard a mom yell at her little boy in the hallway, and that made me even more upset because it reminded me of some childhood stuff. So, I was not a happy camper.
As I stepped into the gym, my daughter's (E--) back was to me. She was shooting at the basket, with a young lady (I rightly presumed it to be her coach) beside her. The other girls were dribbling around. E--'s shots were not even hitting the backboard.
It reminded me of my own experience in . . . well, all team sports. And I had this heart-pain and the urge to grab her and remove her from this miserable situation. But, I didn't. I watched, and prayed.
As I prayed, she hit the backboard. She started jumping up and down, and gave the coach a high-five. Then she hit it again, and then again. I prayed "God, please just let her make the basket, just once."
And she did. As soon as it happened, I started to applaud and she turned and saw me for the first time. She ran over to me and jumped into my arms, saying "I made it! I made a basket, I made a basket!" I gave her a big hug, and sent her back to the coach. And then I went into the hall, because I didn't want to distract her.
After practice, I asked her how it was. "Great, I love basketball, its my favorite sport, and I'm really good at it. I make a basket. Can we go buy a basketball right now? I have to practice. I am awesome at offence-defense . . ." etc.
And, all at once, my life was back in perspective. This is what is important. Not that she made a basket or didn't (even though that was awesome), or that she's "good" or "bad" at this sport. But that I get to be her father, and I can encourage and support her. She does not have to live my life, or share my story. She can have positive athletic experiences, and I can celebrate those with her. I can get outside of myself, and that helps me to make it.