A lot of kids that I talk to didn’t start playing basketball until they were in elementary school. I think this is perfectly normal. But it’s crazy to me to think that I have been shooting and dribbling since I was in diapers. I was introduced to my first basket when my dad started bending wire hangers to be round and hanging them on doorknobs. My passion for basketball started with my dad. My brother and I would follow him to gyms where he would play in city league games. My favorite times were going to watch him in Latino basketball tournaments. Those were my first experiences with an event that was all basketball, all day.
From our youngest days, my dad taught us the fundamentals of the game. He would put us through drills on occasion, but his big thing was making sure we enjoyed the game. His two main points of enforcement were shooting the ball with correct form and dribbling well with both hands.
My dad was huge on providing opportunities for us to play. He built a concrete court whenever we moved into a new house. He would often rent an elementary school gym for us to use as well. Most importantly, my dad taught me that if someone doesn’t kick you out, it’s ok to use the gym. This was from my young days when we would go to Chemeketa’s gym and start to use it until we were told to leave. I took this with me when I went to play in college, finding multiple ways to enter my school’s gym (all legal!).
Overall, the most important thing my dad has showed me through basketball is that being there can mean all the difference. To this day, even though I am no longer playing, my dad does all he can to come to every game, clinic, and event that he can make it to. He still passionately supports the teams I have been a part of as a coach. Sometimes I don’t tell him enough, but I truly appreciate it and it is a huge motivation for me. It’s amazing how much a loved one’s support can indirectly provide endurance.
This is one of the reasons I enjoy coaching. Through sports, we can learn a ton about ourselves, others, and life in general. My dad has obviously done more than put a ball in my hands throughout my life, but through the game many lessons have been displayed. It will never get old when I hear someone say, “your dad must really love you.” He does, and it’s part of the fuel the gives me the desire to do my best work.