It's hard to believe this is our final weekend of basketball. It's also hard to quantify the immense growth our little guy has experienced in just a few short months.
A zillion, times infinity.
Youth athletics are a tricky minefield to maneuver. I'm sure all of my similarly situated friends could attest. They are political - way more than one would assume a youth program would be. Not only can coaches and organizations be ruthless when it comes to scouting, requesting and placing kiddos, parents can be equally maniacal. They scream at the coach when we are winning because we didn't have enough challenge. They scream at them when we lose because we were unfairly matched.
And don't even get me started on the officiating.
For our little guy though, sports life continues to just be pretty easy for him. He was invited to try out for a team and he made it. It turned out to be a perfect fit, both in coaching and in organization. We were challenged, sometimes significantly, but the cost was definitely worth the price. I have literally NEVER seen this much growth in this short of time in the little guy in any sport his entire life. It makes me so proud to have witnessed it.
This has been his 6th year of basketball. He has always been the tallest kid on his team... every single year. Mind you not necessarily the "biggest" kid, but definitely the tallest. As such, he has been thrown to Center with minimal instruction. I've stood next to his coaches as they shouted "Put your hands straight in the air, Cooper. Catch the ball, pivot and throw it out."
A seemingly easy job for a kid that was always 2 to 3 inches taller than everyone else. Oh, with a massive wingspan, I might add.
As a result, he never learned any true skill to the position. He didn't learn to box out because his hands reached the ball before anyone else. He didn't need to learn to post up because he could catch the ball over everyone's heads. He didn't learn much footwork or really ball handling other than the basics.
And now? It's night and day. I can't even believe he is the same kid. Granted he isn't signing in the NBA anytime soon but the improvement is significant. Both of our Coaches took a dedicated interest in catching Coop up to the rest of the team, pushing him to perfect the fundamentals of his position. And then they did the best thing ever for him: they played us up. The majority of our games were against 6th graders. Some of these tweens resembled 27 year olds. It was the perfect challenge for little guy since he could no longer just put his hands in the air.
Although we have averaged 8 games or so each basketball season for the past 5 years, I now see what 50+ games will give a kid. Sure, it sounds like a lot. But it's amazing what our kid's can endure when they LOVE something.
And LOVE it he does. I've even heard him murmur that he now loves basketball more than football. Shhhhh... we didn't tell Hubs.
I'm sure it will change in about two months when we start baseball, the next love of his life.
Better than girls!
Have a great Saturday, friends!