The First Memory
Basketball has always held a special place in my heart. It has helped me through a lot of tough times in my life. Going to the gym to shoot the leather has always been a great stress reliever for times I really needed it: college finals, death of family members or the breakup of a past love.
These days I use the game as a getaway from talk of the coronavirus, divisions in the country and stress of what returning to my classroom may look like in August.
In the apartment complex where I reside, there is a full size basketball court. The goals are good, the rims hang a little lower than they should but it’s a great getaway.
I have recently been taking my 5 year old daughter down there and she has seemed to have caught the fever.
On a recent trip to the court, I put some music on the big Bluetooth speaker I have and lowered the goal to six and a half feet. It took quite a few tries but this sweetheart of mine was determined to get the ball in the hoop. When she did, her smiles caused my brain to flood of all the memories I had of shooting in the backyard and using my imagination of being Kentucky playing Duke or being Larry Bird facing off against Magic. Another day I would be the Tar Heels facing Virginia.
It is during these kind of days that I wish all of the young boys and girls growing up in America in today’s times could experience the fun of just playing and using a great weapon that they all have…… their imagination.
We have really got caught up in life and everything going on in it because of either quarantines or just not being able to live life as we have been blessed to do normally in the past.
It is tough on the human mind to try and change to a certain lifestyle. This is why I have been thankful for YouTube.
I am a sports junkie especially college basketball. To me, there is not a sport greater than this. Maybe college football but they are both really close.
Some of my first and best memories of basketball were watching some of the first games to be televised by ESPN on television. But for me, my first best memory by far is listening to Dick Enberg of NBC Sports call a game between DePaul and Marquette I think it was. I know it was DePaul as one of the teams for sure because I remember Mr. Enberg interviewing Ray Meyer… the head coach of the Blue Demons. In all the interviews I ever saw of Coach Meyer, I cant remember of one time I ever saw the guy talk down of his team, his players or the opponents. Even in a losing effort. And yes, coaches do that as well today but he did it with a smile on his face. His passion was so real for the game. Not to mention listening to Dick Enberg call a game was a class in passion all its own.
When I went outside to shoot later, I would try to recreate these things I witnessed on tv. When I take my 5 year old girl out to play, we imagine being in a game. I want her to have that imagination I did. Why? Because basketball is definitely more mental that anything. It is so much like life. You shoot… you miss. Do you give up or keep trying? You shoot… you make it. Are you done and have you settled for one or do you want to see exactly how challenged you can be and shoot to see exactly how many you can make? Do you work the required hours for practice or do you show up early and work late? Yes basketball is life.
Back to this life though.
She will watch some of the classic March Madness games with me on YouTube. And ask why I watch them. I tell her because these are games daddy would watch as a kid and now they help him coach. By watching other people coach, daddy can learn and get better just like you learn in school listening and watching your teacher.
Oh…. and by the way….. give your passions away no matter what they are. If they are sports, dance, whatever…. give your passion away to others. It’s fun to see others take away from what you love and use it for themselves.
My girl made two shots in a row on that six and a half foot goal. It was the only two shots she made out of probably 20. But she looked at me and was so ecstatic!
She said,”Daddy!!! Now I know how you feel when your players score!”
I’m glad that her first memories are becoming a lot like mine.
If you ever want a reason to know why the country and our kids need sports today during this pandemic, there is your reason.
Sports develop determination, courage, strength and mental toughness that some other things in life just can’t provide.
This is what basketball has been for me and if she keeps the fever, I hope it’s something that will develop even more in my amazing daughter.
In a time like today, we all need some great first memories in our life.
If you liked this article, I would love to read comments about your first memories of the game of basketball.
Best wishes on a great week to you all!