March 17, 2008

Boys and Basketball and Heart

I have a small mountain of posts I could put up today, but this video, sent along by Steve S., so warmed my heart, I chose it immediately.

As a writer, I'm ususally trying to make a point. With this post, I'm not at all sure about the point the video makes . . . or that it even needs to make a point. When I talk about being involved in boys and men activities, I say that my heart is regularly melted and reformed. That's the feeling I get when watching this clip.

If you don't see the image, go to this link:

What's your response?


  1. I've had a rough day and all, but I'm sitting here crying like a baby after watching that. Thanks for sharing.

    brian - playful hawk

  2. Hey Earl, Thank you for posting the video. Sending it on to you I had no thought it would find its way on to the web site. When I first viewed it I experienced chills and just knew you would love it.

    I am the father of a learning/behavioral-disabled son (a birth injury we believe) who repeatedly tried to participate in many sports. I was forced to witness/share the high emotional price he paid as teammates and coaches did so many hurtful things to him in spite of his continued efforts to achieve, stay positive and more importantly, fit in. Oh the stories I could tell.

    In Texas club sports the athletes are drafted by coaches in a rotation selection process. The rest is “remaindered”. My son was always “remaindered” because of his behavioral problems. He had strength and talent but was out of control most of the time. But he wanted to play.

    Watching the video over and again I wept in envy over the love his basketball teammates had for the kid who that on one special night was “hot as a pistol.” Then there is this; his dad’s hopes and fears mirrored my own from my son’s days of competing. The coach suiting him up in reward and recognition, though having no intention to put him in, cut two ways in my mind.

    It hurt me as an act of pity. But it gratified me as a reward for the boy’s longstanding effort and fidelity to the team. Then, when he got his chance to play, play he did to his own surprise and joy, and that of everyone in the gym. Looking closely I didn’t see the opposing team giving him any easy shots. He was challenged on every effort. Terrific! That he missed the first two tries did not deter him from trying again and yet again. Where did that come from? And his teammates passed the ball to him to try and try again. And did you notice? He was hitting from everywhere; feeling the flow, seeing the court, making the pass, handling the ball with confidence, throwing the head/body fake, taking the shots. Terrific! The little guy, making six out of eight threes in four minutes…take that Scottie Pippin! Sweet!

    And of my son you may wonder? After losing the state of Texas 9th grade soccer championship in Austin’s Zilker Park, the coach awarded him the “keeper’s” jersey for allowing only one goal and one of five shots-on-goal in the tie breaker shoot-out. This after nearly pulling him for repeatedly coming out of goal to challenge mid-field breakaways with slide tackles which were inadvisable though successful. The meds weren’t working too well that day…but the fury and the joy were. He was in the “zone” he later told me. For the first time ever he said he was deaf (much to the coach’s chagrin) and only saw the field. Wow! He allowed only two goals the entire afternoon!

    My son asked me to keep the jersey for him as he knows he would certainly lose it. That’s part of the disability and part of his progress. We take it out every once in a while to remind us of the day an easily distracted boy maintained his focus (somewhat) and became the hero, instead of the goat, for the first but not last time in his life. Maybe that’s why I liked this video and sent it on.

    -Peace, Steve S

  3. Dave B.6:03 PM


    This is awesome. I have a 13 year old Little Brother as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. He was labeled ADHD at age 5 and put on drugs. The fact that his mom was critically ill and his dad was in jail didn’t seem to be taken into consideration. I tell him that he is a gift and I want to help him harness those gifts.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Earl,

    This is a great story! Not long after this happened in February 2006, Jason and his parents received an offer from Hollywood to do a movie about him.

    I've followed a few blogs looking for updates to the movie story about J-Mac, but haven't seen any news on a possible movie.

    I think sports are an excellent medium for men to help boys on their journey to manhood. Playing a game of HORSE, or playing catch in the back yard were things my father did with me all the time. He taught me a great deal in those times we spent together.

    I'm a sports junkie and absolutely love stories like this. I'll let you know if I get any updates.

    Thanks for the post.


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