My 10-year-old, Ethan, loves basketball. In fact, I’ve written here several times about him and basketball. It’s amazing to see how much he’s improved as a player over the past year. This time last year, he was new to competitive basketball and didn’t seem to know what to do on the basketball court. Now, I see his confidence in what he’s doing.

This story is about something he did off the basketball court.

First, let me give you a little context about his rec league works. Each team starts five players that play the entire first quarter and then the first half of the third quarter. A second team comes in during the second quarter and plays the second half of the third quarter. Teams can then sub freely in the fourth quarter. These rules are in place to make sure that playing time is more equally distributed among the players. I really like it because it keeps coaches from playing only their best players and leaving less experienced players on the bench. The only issue is that you don’t have much flexibility once the game starts.

Fast forward to this past Sunday. Right before the game started, the coach brought the team together to tell them who was starting the game. The coach was in a bit of a bind because our starting point guard didn’t have his basketball shoes with him. (Don’t ask me how a kid forgets his basketball shoes when he’s going to play basketball. It sounds like something one of my kids would do. His dad ran home to get them for him.) Anyway, in most leagues, this wouldn’t be a big deal. You put the kid on the bench and then sub him in as soon as he has his shoes. That wouldn’t work in this league because if he didn’t start, he’d have to wait until the second quarter to play. We really needed our starting point guard because we knew the other team would be pressing us and we needed to have a reliable dribbler.

So the coach had everyone huddled and was trying to decide what to do and then asked the kid what his shoe size was hoping that we would somehow be able to locate some shoes for him. The teams were getting ready to take the floor to start the game. The kid said his shoe size and to my surprise, Ethan said “You can wear my shoes.” Ethan kicked his shoes off and the game started with our point guard wearing Ethan’s shoes.

I was instantly proud of my boy. He was hoping to start the game but sacrificed his chance by giving up his prized “KD’s” (Kevin Durant) that he paid for with his own money (different story).

This year, I’ve really tried to emphasize playing hard, good fundamentals, and most importantly, being a team player. As parents, we sometimes wonder if we’re actually getting through to our kids. We do the best job we can and hope they turn out right on the flip side.

Moments like this make me feel like maybe I’m doing something right and it’s all worth it.

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