By Rob Ficiur
This weekend my wife and I were Junior High basketball parents for the first time in ten years. A decade ago (and more) we followed two of our sons throughout Southeast Alberta for basketball; finally we had a chance to be basketball parents again.
Our son is an been assistant coach for a Grade 7-8 basketball team in Lethbridge. This week his team had a tournament in Medicine Hat. As I watched the 2014 basketball games, my mind often replayed memories from 10 or 12 years ago when we were the parents watching our kids play basketball.
1. Hat High North Gym – The first game we played was in the north gym at Hat High.
Memory: When son was in Grade 9 we had played a game in this gym. The other team was from north of Calgary. Half of that Grade 9 team was over six-feet tall with full grown beards. I remember (silently) mocking the other team “Grade 9 must be the best five years of their lives.”
Present Day: “Our team” had some great players. (Again I never did know the name of any of them, but since my son coached them they were our team.) The shortest player on the team was in my (slightly biased) opinion the best player. He could dribble the ball in a crowd of opposition players and find an open man and pass it on.
Memory: Playing in that north gym, there was one game when the referee did not like the advice our team was giving him. My fading memory recalled my son getting a technical foul for talking back to the ref. Even though it was ten years ago, I still remembered being surprised that my son got a technical. What? You gave him a technical for that? (not exactly sure what that was…but it seemed mild).
Present Day: Opposition coach was mouthing off. In the second half Other Coach was yelling at the ref for all the things that my new favorite player was doing? What? There were no fouls over here, I was sure. While I might be cheering for my sons’ team, I honestly saw no fouls. Coach kept mouthing off. “Keep playing team, even if the ref doesn’t make the calls he should.” Coach, you should worry about your players execution, or lack thereof, and leave the ref alone. We were tied 23-23 at half time; and we won 61-35. Your team did worse than we did ten years ago, and you should have got a technical foul. No problem, you lost. (See my sportsmanship is still at the right level.)
2. “We are in the finals.” Saturday we got a phone call (a text message to be precise) saying that our team was in the final game at 6:00.
Memory: One Saturday after attending a funeral in Bow Island, we got a message from our son. Their ball team was in the final in the Claresholm tournament. We drove two hours to watch a one hour ball game. Before we left one long time basketball dad said “That is what we do for our kids.”
Present Day: Saturday was planned with the expectation / hope that our team would be in the final. The job jar was tackled first thing in the morning, so that when the call came, we had the time to go watch our son’s team play in the final.
3. Hat High Main Gym –
Memory: Twelve years ago, when we had two boys playing Junior High basketball, we played Hat High in the Main Gym. We lost that game 85-15; the worst loss I can remember for any ball games we had been a part of. I know it is a game, but losing that bad stings. David , someone we know from Medicine Hat, was the coach for Hat High back then. Thankfully he had the dignity not to rub in the win. (for an opposing coach he was a decent fellow).
Present Day: When we arrived two minutes late for the final, our team was losing by seven points. That was as close as it ever got. The Grade 9 team from Medicine Hat more than doubled the point total for our Grade 7-8 team from Lethbridge.
4. Parents cheering for the coach
At half time, David, the coach from 12 years ago, walks by. He doesn’t work at this school, but he is here again. He looked at my wife and I and asked, “Who are you here cheering for?” When we told him our son was coaching the Lethbridge team, he looked over and recognized our son. “You are the only parents here cheering for a coach,” he said.
Time flies by. One minute our children are in Junior High, the next minute (10 years later) they are helping coach Junior High. One minute they are babies, then quick as anything our children grow up and start lives and families of their own. Parents find their own way to cheer on and encourage their children in different ways through the game of life.