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February 24, 2014

My Nephew, the Champion

You know those screaming, wild, ridiculous parents that shout at kid’s sports games? That’s my family. I used to think it took a special kind of adult to go ape at children’s events but now that special kind of adult stares back at me in the mirror. In fact, it’s actually very easy to be the person that yells, “block him, block him, go get your ball,” like we did yesterday at my nephew Enrique’s championship basketball game. AKA the game of all games. 

I’ve watched Enrique work his butt off in the name of basketball this entire season. Though he’s only 10, he understands that it takes a lot of time and practice to perform at the highest level and he’s spent countless hours shooting hoops, running drills, and honing his skills. The proof is in the pudding; his team lost only 1 season game. But on the day of a championship, season performance doesn’t matter. Its either teams’ for the taking and anything can happen. 

There were issues before the boys even began playing. Their main coach and his son (one of the stand out players) got in a car accident on their way to the gym and weren’t able to make it. The game went on as scheduled and the two teams battled it out for 40 nail biting minutes of neck and neck baskets, Enrique’s team with the lead the entire time. Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends were all on the edge of their seats when the teams tied scores in the last minute of the game. 2 minutes of overtime were added to the board and in the final thirty seconds, a foul was called and the opposing team made the game-winning free throw shot. Just like that, it was all over. 

But my nephew is die-hard. He played every second of the 42 minute game and having made it so far only to lose the championship title by 1 point in overtime, he cried because “his hand hurt.” But I knew better, even I wanted to cry! But again, I knew better. His team may have lost but they’re still winners. Enrique didn’t get the title he wanted so badly but his dedication and focus to basketball earned him a lot of respect, and no one can fight to take that away. 

So the next time you see those wild and loud people screaming at a 10 year old’s sports game, know that we’re not fanatical ballers. We’re into the game because the kids are into the game. It’s the kids’ commitment that brings us to our knees and is the root of our enthusiasm. Our cheers are merely a reflection of the hard work we’ve seen when the clock isn’t running, when the bleachers aren’t down, and when no one’s tracking points. Because win or lose, it’s so much more than just a game.