Just Play and the Lessons Learned

Over the past eight years, I’ve been involved coaching and taking my son to minor sports, mainly soccer.  I’ve watched him play for club teams and various school teams over the years.  I’ve written about some of my thoughts on what I’ve seen in minor sports in this blog and in other newsletters at KCS over the years:  treatment of referees by spectators as well as the behaviour of some coaches are topics that I’ve observed and commented on. Upon reflection, I realized that I’ve never written about the players.  And this brings me to a story of watching my son play basketball with five guys he never knew before he stepped on the floor with them on Easter weekend.

My thirteen year old son, Brandon, and I went to work out at the fitness facility our family joined.  We started off together doing various exercises and then he went off to shoot baskets in the gym.  Earlier this year he decided that he was going to play on the school basketball team for the first time.  The playoffs were starting the next week so he wanted to go and practice dribbling and shooting for a while.  After an hour or so I finished what I was doing, and with the help of an oxygen tank, made my way up to the gym.  When I arrived, I noticed Brandon was involved in a 3-on-3 game with some other boys, who ranged in age from 12-15.  I sat and watched for twenty minutes.

To me, this was sports at its essence:  a group of children getting together to play a game.  It reminded me of my childhood when a bunch of us would congregate after school or on the weekend to play road hockey, soccer, football or baseball.  We’d set a time to meet and then we “figured it out” from there.  So many times, other kids we didn’t know would wander by and get invited to play in whatever game we were playing.  Brandon and these five other boys ended up together on the court not knowing each other when they arrived.  They picked teams, changed them when necessary, and called their own fouls.  They congratulated each other on great plays and shots; they competed, disagreed, laughed and poked fun at each other for over an hour.  Amazingly this was all done without listening to the input of others on the sidelines.  They just played.

I think for my son, he likely took away other memories than I did from that Saturday; as a thirteen year old, he’s likely forgotten about the game in the same way he forgets about the things I ask him to do around the house!  But for me that game allowed me to witness something about Brandon’s personality: it showed me that he has the willingness to get together with others he doesn’t know for a brief moment in time, and because they shared a common interest, have a good time.  It also  reminded me what my role is as a parent of an athlete: to get Brandon to his games and training on time, let his coach do the coaching, and let Brandon tell me about the training or the game afterwards.  The rest is really up to him.

Derek Logan
Head of School

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