Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hoop Dreams

Finally. The day is here. Big has been dreaming of being old enough to play basketball for years. Really. Those of you who follow my blog and know Big are aware that I'm not kidding. He has been obsessed with the sport for as long as I can remember, has been able to dribble since before he was two, and has pretended to be players from the NBA for ages. Heck, he even pretends that everyone in the family is in the NBA. I was Gordon Hayward today for a while and Edith actually answers when you call her Big Al. That should tell you how much a part of Big's life basketball is. 

This year Big was finally old enough to begin playing basketball through the city. It's a parent-child program at Big's age, meant to teach the kids the fundamentals of the game. At first Big was annoyed that they wouldn't be playing games, but once we explained how much the pros practice, he was excited to do what they do. 

Here they are doing a little warm up at the beginning. I had to laugh that Rophone positioned Big in a spot where he had a little room to maneuver and two little boys quickly scooched right close again. 

It kinda cramped Big's arm-circling style.

To my surprise, one of Big's favorite parts of his practice are all of the defensive drills they get to do. I think it's because it's all new to him. He loves to practice the defensive slide and how to run backwards. I think those are his favorites.

Big also loves the shooting, of course. He's working a lot on his layups. 

I think his favorite part of this shooting practice was when Rophone had him shooting high, trying to hit his raised hand. Since Big does so much shooting inside the house, we are always trying to do things to get him to maintain the arch in his shot. I mean, look at the kid's smile.

They also practice a lot of dribbling and passing which, for the most part, is pretty easy and unexciting for Big. But, he knows it's really important to practice so he does it with enjoyment. Maybe just not as much enjoyment as some of the other things. 

I think that my favorite parts of Big's practice were watching him listen intently to the coaches as they gave instruction...

....and just watching all of the expressions on Big's face as he played. His tongue is the most amazing part; I don't know if you noticed, but not only does he stick it out but he flips it completely over, too. Awesome. 

Big was absolutely exhausted that morning-- he was so excited to go play that he only ate half of a banana for breakfast. As a result, I captured a lot of shots of a very low energy Big, too. Poor kid.

I had the best time watching Big finally get to play and I know he's been having a great time playing. He loves that he gets to do it with his dad, too. This morning Big told me that he wants to be in the NBA when he grows up. He then said to me, "I want to be on the Utah Jazz and do you know what? They're going to want me because I practice so hard." 

It's true. I don't think I've ever met a kid with such focus. And tonight one of Big's coaches told Rophone that out of the over 100 kids in the program this year, Big is the best dribbler. Keep it up, Big. You're well on your way.


Laura said...

Awesome photos! LOVE the tongue action. Too cute.

patti's place said...

He's great! He'll be good, especially if he can maintain that focus and intensity.

jww said...

The first thing I noticed was the tongue. Hello, Michael Jordan!! Big is amazing. I love his focus and dedication. I'm so happy for him finally being able to play. I remember Ethan being just like that when he first started baseball after waiting his whole life to play. It was awesome. I'm very happy for Big. :)

carmar76 said...

heh - yeah, i noticed the tongue first, and also thought about jordan. but when i think bball, i always think jordan because the bulls are our local to-root-for team! : )

Sue said...

I kept wondering why you hadn't mentioned the tongue yet :)

What a cutie! I can see basketball definitely being a large part of his future.