"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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Sam's First Basketball game and on Loyalty Part 3


posted by Susan Dominikovich on , ,

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Our Sam played his first game of basketball on Friday night.  In actual fact it is his first experience of a team sport.  When he was little he had some issues with others coming into his personal space and making him play a team sport would have amounted to torture.  We never pushed it but gave him other opportunities such as Cubs and swimming.  

Sam has always enjoyed basketball and with his height he's become quite good at shooting hoops.  So when the opportunity came to join an Inglewood league in a combined St. Patrick's/Waitoriki school team, he was surprisingly enthusiastic.  We've done everything we can to make sure it's a good experience for him but I must admit to some nerves on Friday night.  Our biggest worry was that he would get muddled in the game environment and anxious about what he was supposed to do.  Worse, that he might get upset with the physicality of the game, especially when things went against him.  We arrived at the court in time for warm up and I was supposed to tell the coach to let Sam sit on the bench for the starting line-up, so he would get used to the game environment first.  But I was ushered upstairs to the bleachers and didn't get a chance, so just prayed in my head that the coach would work that one out for himself.

The whistle blew to start the game and the first five  players walked out onto the court...including our Sam.  With a huge grin on his face.  Ear to ear grin.  And he played without drama until the first substitutions.  Off he went to the bench, encouraging the rest of the team.  And so it went, all the players enjoying a regime of regular rotations so they all had a chance to play.  He never got a chance to shoot as their team was almost constantly in defence; he looked flustered at times but he never lost his cool.  Afterwards he said he enjoyed it and is looking forward to the next game.  

Half Time Team Talk

I am extremely proud of our Sam for his attitude but most importantly, I am so pleased that he has this experience.  He is now part of a team.  Team talks, team chants, team cooperation, team build up, team game plan, team contribution, team losses and hopefully team victories.  It is essential for his growth and confidence.  Even if he doesn't contribute successfully all of the time, the team should make him feel valued and affirmed.  The coach should let him know that if he had to quit the team because of an injury or for any other reason, he would be greatly missed.  Because he is a part of the team.  He is part of them and they are part of him.  Being part of a team both demands and promises loyalty.

Team.  Loyalty.   

The other team was quite physical and fast plus they had been playing together for two years so our wee first-timers were outplayed and dominated.  I watched Sam's coach from the sidelines as he disagreed rather vocally with the ref for some of his calls.  I had no problem with that.  In fact, I silently cheered in my heart.  He was going to bat for his team, for his kids.  Even if he was wrong and the ref was right, he was standing up for them and letting everyone know, you don't go against My Team and get away with it.  I will stand up for them.  They are my team and I promise them loyalty.

Team.  Loyalty.

Another word for team of course is "community."  So all my musings of late on community and loyalty are in fact intrinsically linked.  If we don't have a community around us, people who would stand up for us against others, then of course we cannot expect loyalty.   If we don't feel part of a team, why should we be loyal to anyone else?  Why should we expect anyone to be loyal to us?  

I am thankful Sam will have this small experience of loyalty from his coach and basketball team.  And he will learn the importance of being loyal to them.  Life lessons.

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