I was never into sport, I was uncoordinated and not competitive. I was always picked last for rounders at school and found P.E. lessons an exercise in humiliation. To be forced to do something you feel rubbish at, while wearing the shortest skirt imaginable and no such thing as a sports bra, in front of all those lithe sporty types sniggering at my poor efforts. – The memory makes me go hot and prickly with the shame even now.
So marrying someone who was really sporty was a total eye opener – I discovered that sport was not just about crushing humiliation and body shame but it was about team spirit, camaraderie, overcoming, determination, positive mental attitude and lots of other great things. My husband told me that playing sport was some of the best moments of his life and I could see the positive influence that it had on his life. He had formed life long friendships and developed strong personal values while playing basketball.
I remember being stunned when at a very young age – having just learned to walk, Charlie watched his aunty throwing a ball in the air and catching it, he took the ball from her and threw it up in the air and caught it. I was surprised enough that people actually do that for fun! but then to see my own flesh and blood not only interested but good at it was quite a shock! Charlie’s first word was ‘ball’. He’s not put one down for very long ever since that first throw and catch.
Being a basketball Mum mainly involves lots of driving to practice and sitting in dark, cold carparks during training sessions several times a week. But it’s worth it. To see Charlie develop a good work ethic (at the things he wants to succeed in!). To watch as he forms friendships and enjoys team spirit is so rewarding. Last season we watched his team lose over and over again and take it on the chin with good grace every time. I was so proud to see them shake hands with their opponents and their coaches, thanking the officials, conducting themselves with dignity. What amazing life skills. His team definitely learned a lot about how to be the underdog with style! But that first win!! The joy and triumph on their faces made it all worth while. I found myself shedding a tear with the other Mums on the sidelines – me crying over sport! Who’d have thought?!
My inner child (who is still scared of performing in any way) was amazed at how they could be so determined, so enthusiastic still after all those losses, to keep turning up and trying so hard. Inspiring stuff.
Sport has not only given Charlie so much, it’s taught me a lot too.
He’s really missing it at the moment (for future readers this is 2020 Corona Lockdown). He’s not able to play with his team mates but the sound of the bounce and swish in the garden has become the soundtrack to our lives. I know that even while he can’t play, his passion and drive is still there waiting for the day that the basketball courts reopen and his team can play together again.