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A small win for dad after a son’s tough defeat

January
11

I don’t remember the last time I saw my oldest son cry. I didn’t actually see him cry yesterday when his high school basketball team lost by two points.

After the small crowd had gone home and only the two teams and the score keepers remained, I looked across the court to see my son’s face buried in his hands. Then he pulled his jersey over his face as several of his team mates attempted to console him.

It had been a tough loss. His team had fought back after trailing by at least 13 points only to lose by by two. It hadn’t been his best game. He still hadn’t recovered from a torn rotator cuff suffered at the start of the season. He had scored and rebounded some, but it was his hustle yesterday that I really admired  - playing defense, wrestling for the ball while sprawled on the court, and  late in the game getting an opponents’ foul shot nullified when a player on the other team had stepped over the line too soon during a foul shot.

But with one second on the clock and his team down by two points, my son, who is 17,  was on the foul line to shoot two. If he hit both,  his team just might win its first game of the season.

The first shot bounced off the rim. So did the second.

I could guess how he felt. His teamates had named him team captain after he had led them last year in scoring, rebounding and foul shooting. But this day the shots did not go. He had let his team down and he had let himself down.

I walked across the court to him and rubbed his back and head. I told him it was OK, and that he had played a good tough game, but I don’t think he was buying it. Only after the coach had called him a second time for the post-game meeting did the jersey come down from his face.

Later I tried to figure out what I would say to him. I felt badly for him. The loss and his missed shots hurt. What could I say? But I had another feeling that I couldn’t quite place. Finally I knew what it was and what I would say – I was proud of him.

We talked after dinner last night, just the two of us, and it was the closest I had been to this stubbornly independent boy in a while. Maybe we did manage a win of sorts yesterday.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 11th, 2008 at 9:42 am by Len Maniace. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Basketball, Emotions, High schoolers, Playing, Sports

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2 Responses to “A small win for dad after a son’s tough defeat”

  1. Jorge Fitz-Gibbon

    Nice post, Len. As someone who worries about the onset of the teen years with my son, it’s heart-warming to hear about the tender and supportive moment you had with your boy.

  2. Len Maniace

    Thank you, Jorge. It was a brief moment, but I think it registered somewhere in his brain, and maybe, just maybe might form a memory.

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About this blog
Parents’ Place is a hangout for openly discussing the A’s to Z’s of raising a child in the Lower Hudson Valley. From deciding when to stop using a binky to when to let your teenager take driving lessons, Parents’ Place is here to let us all vent, share, and most of all, learn from each other.
Leading the conversation are Julie Moran Alterio, a business reporter and mom of a toddler, Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, a reporter and single father with joint custody of a 9-year-old son, and Len Maniace, a reporter and father of two sons.


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About the authors
Julie Moran AlterioJulie Moran AlterioJulie Moran Alterio, her husband and baby girl — “Pumpkin” — share their Northern Westchester home with three iPods and more colorful plastic toys than seems necessary to entertain one tiny human. READ MORE
Jorge Fitz-GibbonJorge Fitz-GibbonJorge Fitz-Gibbon has been a journalist for more than 20 years and a father for nine. READ MORE
Jane LernerJane LernerJane Lerner covers health and hospitals for The Journal News in Rockland, where she lives with her husband and two children. READ MORE
Len Maniace.jpgLen ManiaceLen Maniace is a reporter and father of two sons. READ MORE



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