Try your best
Ryan is really into basketball and I was surprised when he showed less enthusiasm than I expected on the night that I signed him up for the Spring League. I thought being placed in a team outside our community was the reason. Another one is practice once every week on a school night. I assured him that if we had to travel really far that we’d take the cab. This is one disadvantage of not having our own car. But hey, taking the cab is still a lot cheaper than buying and maintaining a vehicle.
The games were held at different schools all over the city. I was amazed that Ryan didn’t complain, the whiner that he is, when we had to travel for sometimes over an hour to get to his practice or game. Most of the time we took the bus. We had taken the cab only twice.
Ryan’s enthusiasm picked up when he put on that jersey on the first night of practice. There are nine players in his team. Only two have played in the league before. The rest, including him, are new. Ryan played right wing on the first few games. And on those first few games, they played against experienced teams.
Before their second game, Amanda, the team’s coach, warned them, “Their players are Ryan’s size (Ryan is the smallest in his team), but they are good. So we are playing a defensive game.”
Ryan did a good job at defense. At one point, I heard a mom say, “Look at that little guy, he’s good.” I was gonna say, “That’s my son,” but I was busy shouting, “Shoot Ryan! Nice try! Good shot!”
The team did their best at defense. But the other team was really good. It was funny when the frustrated Amanda shouted, “Don’t let them shoot!” The team lost but the good thing about this is that even though they lost by many points, the parents, including me, still gave each kid a pat on the back. “You were good.” “Nice try.”
Ryan has learned that playing in the league involves some sacrifice. One night, he was starting to panic before we had to leave for his practice because he had a difficult Math homework and he had to study for two tests for the following day. He was quite upset so I told him that it’s okay to miss one night of practice. School is more important. There were also a few times when his basketball game coincided with his catechism class. I helped him decide when to pick one in favour of the other.
After losing three games in a row, Amanda had to change the team’s game plan. She made Ryan the point guard. He was quite good. He showed them his moves. Although at first, Amanda noticed that he was a bit shy. “We have to give him some aggressiveness,” she told R and me. The assistant coach told Ryan, “You don’t have to feel like you’re carrying the team. The right and left wings will help you.” It is a team effort after all. Amanda told the kids, “It doesn’t matter if you lose. What’s important is that you always try your best. And you shouldn’t be telling yourselves that you are losers. If you work hard, you are going to win. I promise you that.” I found that very encouraging.
The sixth game came. Ryan did a good job at bringing the ball up to the team. He was fast. He was very slick on the court. The scores were very close throughout the game. It was tight. Ryan’s team was leading by one point towards the last five minutes. I held my breath, so did the other parents. And finally it happened. They won that game. And the game after that. Way to go team!