K’s parents make it to an away game nearly two hours from home. I’m glad to see them, glad for K, glad my son isn’t the only one, once again, whose parents show up. Driving nearly two hours one way for a basketball game is a commitment. But then, so is parenting.
It’s a tournament, and K’s parents show up late—well into the second game. But they show up. There are seven eighth-grade boys on the team, and we are the only parents who have come to every game. Three boys have never had a parent show up for any game, not even the home games.
K’s mom calls out to him in the middle of the game.
“K! Look alive on defense! Wake up!”
K doesn’t hear her. He cups his hand over his ear and shakes his head.
She repeats the words, a little louder. He still doesn’t hear, so he trots over to the sideline.
My heart sinks as she opens her mouth, leans towards him, says the words again.
I watch his face fall.
There is one thing that is always right to say before, during, and after a game. This is what I want my son to remember about his mother at sporting events.
“I love watching you play.”
When he sinks five three’s in the game, it’s “I love watching you play.”
When he can’t make a shot, dribbles the ball off his toe and turns it over twice, it’s still “I love watching you play.”