Tag Archives: basketball

Losing Hurts and that is Good

A last second basketball shot

The photo above is a last second game winning 3-pointer in the championship game… for the other team. My second son is number 15 in the red uniform. He has never lost a game like that before.

Teen performing a speech

The picture above is my oldest son, performing serious prose for Speech. At districts he got third in one round, but got sixth in another. He didn’t qualify for finals.

As a dad it was hard to lessen the pain my sons felt after each of these moments. Even harder to explain the benefit of losing (blog post from 2011). I want them to know that character is built on both sides of the coin, winning and losing. I want them to know that it is important to feel the pain of defeat because it means that their heart was in it.  And honestly, I think that is the most important aspect to success.

Anyone can participate in a sport or activity. Some are even successful without ever putting their heart into it. I mean that they can win on talent alone, but that isn’t the only reason to be involved in an activity. Finding out who you are and expressing yourself through that activity is the greatest achievement.

No matter if we win or lose we have moments that reveal who we really are in our pursuit of our goals. Putting our heart into an activity allows us to become ourselves, to understand who we are. To be great as a person. I know I am their dad, but I am proud of the men my sons are becoming.

My oldest son got his first main role as a third grader. He was Charlie in Willy Wonka Jr.

Boy performing as Charlie

This year he choose to perform Sweeney Todd, one of his favorite plays, during Speech season. Next year he hopes to perform an original piece, plus compete in Poetry. I am proud of his strength to perform pieces that are true to his heart and not sell out in hopes of winning.

My second son started playing basketball in first grade.

boy dribbling ball

He has worked hard, from that first game when he would not move from his spot on the court when he was on defense, to playing with the NBDA Bison Green team. I am proud of his work ethic and focus on achieving his goals.

I am most proud of both of them for feeling the sting of defeat, because it means their hearts are in it, win or lose. And if they keep pursuing their goals with their heart, I know they will succeed, especially in life.

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An Open Letter to My Children About Talent

Dear Sons and Daughter,

I am amazed by your talents. Each of you have unique gifts that make being a parent awesome. You are lucky to have discovered your talents at such a young age. Each day I see how your talent continues to improve. It is an honor to be a part of that process. As you stand on on stage, make a no-look pass, or draw a new animal, I see a glimpse of your heart. This letter is meant to help you grow and work with your talents in the future. Yes, it is parental advice, but that is a benefit of being your dad.

 

Work

First, it is your talent. You are responsible for developing it. You are responsible for how you use your talent. You decide if you continue to work hard at being an actor, a basketball player, and an artist. No one else has that responsibility (we will talk about other people in a minute). And that responsibility means you can let your talent slide. My fatherly advice is don’t. I know the regret of letting a talent go… of not focusing on the development of a gift. You know that I quit football after my freshman year in college. I still wonder what I could have done on the football field. You know that I write now, but in a way I let writing slide for too long. As a senior in high school I received a Young Author’s award. I let too many years go… I will never get them back. I never got to put on a uniform again… It seems like life is forever at your age, but it is not. Opportunities to use your talent are limited. Don’t waste them. I believe there is a reason for everyone’s talent. Yes, I am about to go deep.

Our talents gives us depth to our lives. It is not the only thing that makes life meaningful.  There is love, family, friendship, but our talents add to that mix. Your talent will enrich your everyday experience. Your talent gives you direction in this life, if you have the courage to use your talent as a life compass. When faced with hard choices, ask yourself which options best benefit your talent. Yes, I am talking about things like alcohol or drugs or any other peer pressure situations. But also about situations life hands you, like friends, job opportunities, situations you have not encountered yet. Of course there are other factors in major decisions, but your talent is an important factor. If you make choices that help you develop your talent, you will find the right direction. I didn’t say easy… just that you will not regret a choice that is centered on strengthening your talent.

Here’s why: other people. Let’s deal with the positive aspect first. I also believe that there is another aspect to the responsibility of our talents. By developing our talents we can help other people see what they are capable of in this life. In a simple, everyday way, our talents make this a better world. You are a role model through displaying your talent. I was reminded of this through a few situations where my writing had an impact for people that I did not know were influenced by something I have written. Your talent shows others what can be. It shows others the beauty of this life, the richness of living. And you never know who that might be.

But here’s the flip side of other people, the haters. I wish I had an answer to this issue, but I don’t. And I know how powerful negative people can have on developing or showing your talent. Their comments and attitudes can make you feel like hiding your talents. Can you image what our world would be like if we lifted people up instead of trying to destroy someone simply because they are good at something? It would be amazing. I can’t stop the haters. But be strong, be courageous, at the end of the day you know mom and I will be here for you. Draw all the lions you want. Sing your heart out. Take the 3 or drive to the basket. Embrace your talents. Work hard. Prepare for the hard spots in life, they will come. But most of all enjoy where your talent takes you, it’s going to be a beautiful life.
Love, Dad.

 

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Abundance

Reading the book Too Big To Know, by David Weinberger, was one of those moments that helped me see something I already knew in a slightly different light and that sparked a whole new train of thought.  I love these moments.

The book is a look at how the Internet is changing the view of knowledge.  I highly recommend the book, but I want to discuss the most obvious point from the book.  Abundance.

Courtesy of Cornell University Library from Flickr

As David Weinberger points out, we have had an abundance of information for a long time.  Have you read every book in your local library?  Have you read every book you have bought or downloaded?  Neither have I.  What the Internet does is make that abundance faster and in different forms: articles, videos, apps, music, and opinions.

School is out for the summer, so I’m going to approach this idea from a dad perspective.  Through this example I hope to express how abundance can be a great thing for learning.

Question, what does “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, Yoda, and a Tom Brady rookie card have in common?  Answer: My sons and how they come to find interest in things.

My two sons are 11 and 9 right now. And because of the abundance of the Internet and technology, I have been having a blast sharing my interest with them. One example is music.  Right now my oldest son is into Harry Connick Jr. and 80’s music, while my other son is listening to the songs “Good Life” (One Republic) and “Believe” (Cher).   They use Grooveshark to create playlists to dance to, or to have as background music as they play animal tag with their sisters.

My oldest son’s interest in 80’s music comes from the video game series, Just Dance.  His interest in Harry Connick Jr. comes from the movie, Dolphin Tale, which Harry Connick Jr. has a role in.  I have some of his CDs, but my son has been checking out other CDs from the library.

When my second son bought his iPod, I put some music on it he might like.  The music on his iPod has grown from his own interest and suggestions from me.  One of our favorite songs is “Closer To the Edge” by 30 Seconds to Mars.

We cheered on the Celtics (I am a Kevin Garnett fan) in the Eastern Conference Finals together because of trading cards and the NBA 2K11 video game.  My second son’s favorite basketball player is Shawn Kemp, who he has only seen play on YouTube videos and the video game.  He does have a few of Shawn Kemp’s trading cards.

We watched the Super Bowl because they have a Tom Brady rookie card.  I’m a Minnesota Vikings Fan, last season was a tough one.

Both sons like Star Wars; that started because of the Lego Star Wars games.

The boys have also seen the movies / shows, Hoosiers, Clue (thanks to my wife on this one), Searching for Bobby Fisher, and the original The Muppet Show just to name a few.

They don’t like everything I share with them, but what is incredible is the ability to share aspects of my life with them.  And to share the original content, not just a story.  My music collection is not unpacked yet, so I use Grooveshark to share a song they might like.  Then if my second son wants the song we can buy it from iTunes.  When my oldest son got the part of Winthrop in The Music Man last September he used YouTube to study the role.

The abundance we have can be a powerful aspect to our lives.  Yes, there are some negatives, but that is for another blog post.  My sons’ and I are building strong connections because we can share and experience life in a completely different way than before.  History is important and powerful.  Shawn Kemp is my son’s favorite player.  He has never seen him “play.”  But he knows a lot about him, plus he understands the history of the Oklahoma City Thunder (who he is cheering for in the finals because they use to be the Super Sonics) because of his interest.

When embraced, this abundance we have can allow us to naturally learn anything that interest us.  It can build connections; between people, between today and yesterday, and even between who we were and who we can be, because it allows us to explore and investigate life in ways we couldn’t before.  It gives me an opportunity to be a better dad, to be able to enrich my children’s life with more than just stories. I can share my history sometimes in its true form today.

I remember when “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” was a hit in 1984 and have shared stories from that time in my life with my boys.  Today, the song is just as important because it makes us excited when it is one of the songs for the dance battle on Just Dance 2 (yes, I have won on that song a couple of times).

A Pic Collage of Interest

P.S. My second son made the collage this morning at home while I am at work.  Connectedness, but that benefit of technology is another blog post.

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