I was never good enough to play on my high school basketball team. I never even played any sport in any kind of league. That may have been due to a lack of opportunity, but I might not have been good enough anyway. Now, as a father of three sons, I play sports vicariously through my sons. I have always encouraged them to try out for every team sport at their school. I enjoy watching them play because they enjoy playing sports so much. They have played little league baseball and basketball and football for their teams at Most Holy Redeemer School.
One of the main reasons that I encourage them to play team sports is that if they didn’t, they would be playing video games in their free time. This way they get some exercise while they’re having fun. Their basketball team usually loses most games. I don’t really mind because they’re getting plenty of exercises whether or not they win. They enjoy playing despite losing. I always tell them that we’ll play more basketball over the summer vacation so they get some practice in. But they never want to. Perhaps that’s why they lose so many games. In fact, whenever I drive around in the summer, I see kids playing basketball in the driveway all over the south side and the neighboring suburbs. In Evergreen Park where my sons live, no one plays basketball in the driveway during the summer! They must all be inside playing video games. Well, that explains why the other teams are so much better.
When I was a boy, we played sports, too, but not as part of any organized league. We literally played baseball all year-round. It’s a great feeling to slide into second base with snow on the ground! In the winter, I loved playing ice hockey. I was a fearless goalie! I was usually picked first or second. We played basketball, but my friends were so lazy! Even when we had five players per team, they stilled wanted to play half court so they wouldn’t have to run as much. Yet they claimed to be great athletes!
My father always want to play soccer with us whenever we went on a picnic or paseo. Actually, he called it fútbol. None of my friends played soccer, so I never wanted to play soccer with my father. Sometimes we would play basketball together, but I didn’t know the rules very well the first time we played. I didn’t know that once you stopped dribbling, you couldn’t dribble again. I would dribble. Stop dribbling. Start dribbling again. In fact, I would do it several times. My father told me that was double dribble. I didn’t believe him because I didn’t know the rules. I remember telling him, “We’re not playing by Mexican rules. Let’s play the American way.” “That is the American way!” he told me. But I didn’t believe him until I asked some of my friends who confirmed that my father was, in fact, right. Imagine that! I was stunned.
Sometimes when I watch my sons play basketball, I remember how I played sports as a boy. I remember how fun my friends and I had playing sports even though we didn’t play in any leagues. I feel as I made up for that by watching my sons play.