Especially When It’s Over

For some reason I have had some strange dreams the last few nights.  I have been dreaming about watching my boy’s play sports back in the day.  Now why that is so strange is that it has been 8 or 10 years since my boy’s played sports. I have no idea why but I just had one dream right after another.

These dreams seemed so real… it was if I was right back to where I was all those years ago when I watched so many games and baseballcheered them on.  I always loved to watch them play.  Countless hours traveling to games and practices flood my memory.  During the winter months, being a gym rat made up most of my time in the early 2000’s.  In the summer, staying late hours at Roger Young Park watching baseball games took up much of my time.  I remember so vividly having to run between innings to see them play because their games would be going on at the same time. They were crazy times.

When you are in the middle of the journey of your children’s athletic careers…it seems like it will never end.  I have to admit that there was more than one time I would tell myself that I couldn’t wait until it was over.  But to be honest…  I miss those days.  If I had the chance to go back, I would tell myself to savour the time… it goes by so fast and then suddenly it is over.

Makes me remember a quote I read somewhere.

“We are here to be there for our kid’s when they score the game winning goal…and especially when they don’t.  We are to be there for them during the long seasons… and especially that day when it’s over.”

The quote always stuck with me.  I remember thinking “get ready for that day when it’s over” and wondering how I would handle it… “that day” came and went and apparently all these years later I still haven’t forgot to be there for my kids.

Back to my dreams I had the last few nights … 

In one of my dreams, both of my boys were asked to play in a basketball tournament with some of the other kids from the area.  I was asked to coach. It was a good team and collection of players.  In my dream, we only had one Natepractice so we were learning on the fly in the first game of the tournament. As expected, the results were a little rough the first half of the game.  Mostly because of my lack of expertise in coaching and the players were trying to figure one another out and run a brand new offensive set. By the second half of the game we had figured most of it out and were making a furious comeback.

In my dream, the final minute of the game was in full motion. We were playing with so much intensity that we came back and we’re only down by two points with 15 seconds to play.  The other team had the ball when suddenly my son, Nathan stole the ball and passed it to my other son, Adam and he was driving to the basket.  Just as the clock ran down to 11 seconds of time left, Adam took the shot. The ball was in the air and I heard the whistle.  As the ball rotated in slow motion it bounced off the rim.  I saw that Adam was fouled with our team down by two.  He was in the act of shooting so he would step to the free throw line with a chance to tie the game.

Both of my boy’s have always been a pretty good free throw shooters.  If there’s one thing they would tell you I’ve always told them since the day they picked up a basketball, it is this…”you gotta make your free throws”. 

Back to the game and my dream…

 With 10 seconds left in the game, Adam calmly Basketball Hoop 2stepped to the line and drained the first one.  Our team is now down by one point with one more free throw to go.  For reasons I’m still not sure of, maybe insanity, HIS coach…me, called a timeout.  Every one of the other players said “what are you doing? You’re going make him nervous!”.  I was “icing” my own son.

Sure enough, after the time out, Adam stepped to the line, shot the ball and it bounced out.

The other team rebounded it and we fouled them right away. With six seconds left in the game we headed down the court, only down by one.  They made their first free throw (we’re down 2 now) and missed the second.  Nathan jumped and grabbed the rebound and… get this.. was FOULED by the other team!!!  Back we go to the other end with mere seconds left on the clock and the opportunity to tie the game for overtime.

First shot…swish.  Even though I had one time out remaining, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again.  Nathan’s second shot rimmed out.  The other team gets the rebound, the horn sounds, the game is over and my team is crushed.

After shaking hands, I can see that my boy’s are not taking the loss well.  They both blame themselves and say that it’s all their fault.  After the team huddle, the quote that I read years ago came thundering back to my mind. We took a walk and I put my arm around my boys. I reminded them that our team missed about 15 free throws (literally) during that game.  Their free throws just happened to come at the end of the game. I reminded them that this was a tournament and there would be more chances, Adam & Natemore free throws and more opportunities to win the game. My heart was breaking for them… it was then that I woke up from my dream.

In the first few seconds of waking up I wished so much that it was real.  I wished the there would be more games and more free throws to be made in their life. The reality is that it was over and it has been over for many years.

Over the many years that I was involved with my kids athletic career, I can honestly say that Pam and I have been there for our kids.  I know of parents who never came to any of their children’s games and I know of parents who took it way too seriously.  They would embarrass their children and embarrass themselves by the way they acted on the sidelines.

I think that the dreams I had this week were just  reminders that I will never stop being a parent to my kids.  I will be there for them in life until the day I die.  I may not always agree with the choices they make but I will always be there for them.

To be clear, I am proud of all four of my children.  All of them have given me great memories that I will always cherish.  Since my dream was about sports… I will also say that they all have given me great memories of their athletic careers.  I don’t know if they read this blog, but if they ever do… I’m so proud of them.  One for giving me great memories.  Two for playing with such passion and heart.  Three for caring about playing and not just about winning the game.  As adults, the character and the core of who they are far outweighs anything that they could ever accomplish on an athletic field.

So as you raise your child and as they get involved in sports always remember…  “We are here to be there for our kid’s when they score the game winning goal…and especially when they don’t.  We are to be there for them during the long seasons… and especially that day when it’s over.”

 

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