Alright — So the big gift our son received this year was a child-sized plastic basketball hoop (with inflatable mini-ball). He likes balls a lot and recently he’d been becoming quite adept at throwing them across the room and handling them with confidence. One of the sports I grew up playing (and truly loved) was basketball. This simple game has a deceptively simple premise (if we ignore many of the complex rules that have grown around it): put the ball in through the hoop. I realized that our son was already playing this game while picking up his toys: put them in the laundry basket. What a perfect fit, we thought, for him to be introduced to such a wonderful game.
One of the big highlights of the holiday for me was to show (via video chat) my father his grandson making a basket in his little hoop all the way in Texas. My Dad spent many years teaching his children how to play the game and even coached my winning grade school team. This was a wonderful thing to share with my own son. The game literally felt like it was being passed down at that moment. This isn’t the only connection to the game, though, as there was a much larger connection that happened a few days after the holiday.
My wife needed to go in and briefly prepare her classroom for the upcoming semester. Daddy and Baby tagged along as there was a playground we planned on visiting. While our time at the playground was great (it lacked swings but had plenty of slides), we made the largest connection while leaving. It turned out that the high school basketball teams were called in for a free shooting period over the holidays as a primer for the coming season. Now I can’t be sure that our son made the connection between what these big kids were doing with their basketballs and what he did at home — but I’m pretty sure he did. Some of the players came out with a ball and played catch with our son for a little while. He was proud and mesmerized and didn’t want to leave but previous plans forced this fortuitous moment to be cut short. Many more connections in the future I’m sure. For now he just enjoys the game.