It was a cold day in December and on a whim I decided to bring my video camera along. The battery was low so I had to keep turning it off until it was his turn to shoot the ball. He has been working so hard at basketball drills and sometimes feels weird because he is the only kid on the team who is left handed. That means when he takes a shot he has to come at the hoop from a different angle than all of the others. When it is his turn to give it a go everyone else has to stop and wait.
This day was different. There were two coaches and an instructor from the Minnesota Basketball School. At one point all three of them were circled around him to show him arm and hand positioning, how the knees should be bent and the best way to take the jump and shoot. First attempt, a miss. Then the instructor said, "He's just about there, let's give him another shot at it." I flipped on my camera and aimed, not sure if I would get it or not. He SCORES! It was his first basket ever and I was jumping up and down screaming, "Yeah! Nice work, that's my guy, woooo hoooo!" I checked the camera and sure enough, I got the shot! He couldn't wipe the smile off of his face, but was kind of trying to "be cool and play it down."
He was so proud about getting that basket, but couldn?t give me the words. After practice I asked him, "How did it feel to make that shot and have it go through the hoop??" With a huge smile he said "Good." Then I said with excitement in my voice, "Were you so excited you just wanted to explode inside with happiness?" Suddenly, I was a genius. His eyes got really big and he yelled "YES, oh my gosh, I didn't know how to explain it!"
Move forward to a week and a half later, game day. I was watching the coaches who have been really amazing with him. As a mom sitting in the sidelines, it is so easy to want to protect their little egos. Especially when notice the awkward disappointment on their little faces. Or you see the look in their eyes of missing the shot, or not catching a pass. They are wondering if they measure up. What they don't understand yet is that no matter what, we are so proud of them.
I saw one of the coaches running down the court by his side, patting him on the back and encouraging him. "Nice job buddy, you are really doing great tonight." It really moved me. It was shortly after that moment he made his first 2 points ever in a basketball game.
That night, he got a trophy, a physical representation of his accomplishments for the year. As soon as we got home, he pulled out all of his trophies and we took a picture. This is the real reward. It comes in those victories when he can't wipe the smile off his face because the sense of accomplishment is so authentic. It was an early Christmas gift for both of us and another milestone in his growth as a boy and mine as a mom. I can't think of a better way to start the New Year.
These milestones are why we created Farmer?s Hat Productions and began developing the Bur Bur and Friends brand. We wanted to motivate children from all walks of life to learn about sports and outdoor exploration. When we plant healthy seeds in children so they can grow and accomplish, we are helping to shape future generations. These things often have more of an impact than we realize.
[Originally posted on http://burburandfriendsblog.com ]
By Kakie Fitzsimmons, Vice President and Founding Partner, Farmer's Hat Productions, Co-author of Bur Bur and Friends, an award winning children's book series that uses a cast of young multicultural characters to teach kids about sports.
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