Since my boys were small, I’ve often gleaned more information by overhearing them rather than through direct address. (One of the best reasons to volunteer for car pool.)
Last evening, I heard my youngest son talking about me on the phone. He was telling someone that I had a baking mix company but that really I was a trained as a writer and I took time off to raise him and his brothers. Hmm, I thought from my perch on the stairs, “this is interesting.” It turned out Alec was talking to a college basketball coach.
I found myself musing about how all this started.
My son plays for the AAU basketball team Common Bond. It is a perfect name for the basketball group, as close bonds are formed on the court and off. There’s nothing like years of carpooling or spending successive Mothers Days with other moms at budget hotels dining on “free hot breakfast” in less than exciting locales to bond you for life. Roses or stinky socks?
I’ll take the socks. (Though I would take a rain check on breakfast in bed.)
I distinctly remember the day the director of Common Bond, Tyrone, told me, “your son really has potential.”
Really, I thought at the time, he’s a gangly ten year old?! Though I had admittedly noticed at Alec’s rec and ed games he seemed to be one of two kids who understood that in basketball you don’t run down the court with the ball. You dribble–pass and shoot.
Lacking all the proper training for being a sports parent (just ask my husband), I looked up at the bespectacled 6’6” man who had traded his shirt and tie and his corporate job for a whistle, and said: “But I really need to believe in you, in you as a man and a model, because travel basketball equates with sacrifice in my mind. It means interrupted family dinners, weekends away, shortened vacations.” Nevermind the dirty socks.
We signed on, as it turned out, for the hilarity and the heartbreak of watching young boys grow up to be young men. The wins, the near wins, the losses. Those stories belong to the boys. But I have a few of my own.
I’m still catching crud about the time I tried to teach the boys some yoga at a tournament, or when I ordered green beans at Culvers, a hamburger and milk shake joint.
Or the time we reserved rooms at the “Comfortable Inn” with its green pool—and moldy bagels—or was it the moldy pool and green bagels? But as my buddy Kelly insisted, it did not have bed bugs. Who knew there was such a thing as a Bed Bug Registry? The ever vigilant Kelly always checked. It wasn’t her fault the hotel was not a Comfort Inn—it had been demoted.
Then there was the time I almost spent the night sleeping in a heart shaped bathtub when hotel space was short. That is a much longer story. But it is connected with two of our basketball parents finding love.
Or the time I got caught speeding, 5 miles over the limit, in downtown Belleville, MI with my car filled with tired, hungry, post-practice-boys. When the officer came to my window, and politely inquired whether I knew why I was pulled over, my response was genuine mystification: “Multitasking?”I guessed. The boys laughed as I had been throwing bags of cookies and Gatorade bottles behind me as I drove through what is an apparently KNOWN speed trap. The darned officer still gave me at ticket. I wanted to tell him that I was a basketball mom and we live 10 miles over the speed limit.
Well at least the cookies were healthy. Batches and batches of them.