Trophies or Life-Lessons.
by Risa Green
Both of my kids had their last basketball games of the season yesterday. As much as I hemmed and hawed about the weekday practices and the games on the weekends, I’m really glad that they both played. For my daughter, basketball has toughened her up a bit – when she first started playing, if she would get bonked on the nose or the head with a ball, she’d burst into tears and come running off the court. But after discovering that running off the court means she can’t go back into the game until the next time they call subs, she’s learned to shake it off and keep playing. And my son…well, when he started this season, he was totally oblivious. On defense, he would stand in his “box” with one hand up and his other hand in his mouth, facing the wrong way and not even noticing that there was an entire game going on behind him. I won’t pretend that he transformed into an aggressive, dominant player, but at least now when he runs down the court he’s paying attention, and not whispering pyooh-pyooh as he shoots at imaginary bad guys on the side lines.
So yes, basketball has been a positive experience for my kids, and I believe that doing drills and learning to pass and understanding the dynamics of a team are great lessons for both sports and life in general. And that, I think, is a reward in and of itself. But because we live in an age where children must always be made to feel special and important and where having something tangible is always better than having something intangible, simply feeling good about your season is not enough. No, yesterday, after their team parties, my children were both presented with trophies. And not little trophies, mind you. I measured. These trophies are fifteen inches high, and depict golden players dunking in mid-air atop silver and black pillars, with my kids’ names and the names of their teams inscribed into the bases. I mean, if you walked into my son’s bedroom and saw this trophy on his bookshelf, you would think I had a sixteen year-old state champion who was being recruited by Division 1 hoops programs; not a five year-old in the Cheviot Hills Recreational Center’s Little Dribbler’s Division.