Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Basketball Diaries Featuring Josh

One of the top questions I get from strangers I meet is "you're tall, did you play basketball?" Sometimes I want to lie and say I played a few seasons at Syracuse but I always end up telling the story of how I can really only block shots and never was much of a force on the basketball court and that my freshman brother was the star of our team when I was a senior. Now my son Josh (who doctors say may get close to his dad in height) begins his basketball "career" at age 4. Josh is already a soccer wiz and we're trying to branch him out to other sports to see where his interest lie (he goes to the driving range with me also). We enrolled him in an introduction to basketball class for 4 and 5 year-olds at the Fairfax County Parks and Recreation program. Every Sunday at 4 I'll be taking him over to the Braddock Road facility. Our first class was this past Sunday. The class consisted of the following basic skills:
  • Bounce passing
  • Chest passing
  • Overhead passing
  • Dribbling around the edge of the court
  • Taking turns standing in line and shooting shots at a lowered basket
Josh did well overall especially in the passing department (although his "partner" during his drills was scared of the basketball and kept getting out of the way resulting in a long run and chase to get the ball and get back in position). Towards the shooting portion of the class he kept coming up to me and saying he was tired. I finally realized this was due to the fact that he had on a t shirt and a mini Gilbert Arenas jersey. After I took off his Agent Zero jersey (hey the real Gilbert isn't even wearing his jersey these days) he was good to go and finished up strong. Not surprisingly, the best player there was the only African American boy enrolled in the 20-kid class. I found the inner coach in me coming out during the class as I would try to tell Josh to step into his passes and to watch the ball into his hands while catching. I tried to hold back a lot though as to not be viewed as "THAT dad" that pushes his son too much. I definitely enjoy taking him to class and watching him develop though. This has always been one of the highlights I imagined 4 years ago when he was born.

(I apologize for the terrible lighting here)

The day before his first class, I took Josh with me to a George Mason University basketball game at the Patriot Center. This is the 3rd sporting event Josh has been to with me (we went to see Tiger Woods play in the AT&T National a few years ago and also saw a Nationals game at RFK Stadium). I wanted to expose him to the game and see how he enjoyed it before we step things up and attend a Wizards game in a few months. He definitely enjoyed it overall, but was a little leery of the loud noise at times (especially the PA announcer). He is very interested in the scoreboard and likes to follow how the score of the game progresses. If Mason (who won by the way) was up by 8 or more points he would claim that George Mason was "smoking" the other team. I believe he'll have more fun at the Wiz game in March as they have much more entertainment during the breaks in action.

Hopefully in a year or so we'll get Alex in the mix with these sporting events although I'm not sure if my wallet can handle buying three tickets to a game.

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