Saturday Story Time: Bitter-Sweet

Saturday Story Time: Bitter-Sweet

The discussion has been on going for most of the year. The decision, though his to make was a family topic. While for Christian, basketball has always been a passion, Isaac’s take on it has been a bit more laid back. He loves the game, loves playing in games, enjoys the his teammates and is quite good. His height and natural talent lend him an ease of playing that is fun to watch.

It has been a frustrating journey for him at times. He has struggled with knee issues and this year he was diagnosed with Asthma. Isaac is willing to work hard, but he also needs lots of affirmation(who doesn’t.) He does not sit well, so sitting on the bench is more difficult for him just because of the way he is wired. This past season, his junior year was particularly difficult. Between being sick, figuring out the asthma thing, and his knee he had quite a bit of time on the bench.

I have written about my excitement about having two children on the same team. The fun of watching these boys who have been playing against each other in our back yard since they were five and seven. The pride I have in seeing them both succeed. I have also mentioned how hard it is for the younger brother to excel past the older and get more playing time, accolades, and respect. Their relationship has stayed strong and much to Isaac’s credit he has been nothing but supportive of Christian.

Isaac has always said he has no desire to play in college, he has no aspirations of NBA other than to get court side seats when he is rich. He plays for the love of the game. This year he lost most if not all of that joy. Playing became work, and he did not like it. He was frustrated with his lack of playing time, lack of energy, and what he felt was lack of respect for his abilities.

This became troublesome for all of us. It is never easy to see your child struggle, it is never easy to see both sides so clearly but no easy answer. It will be his senior year, do we need to make him play? Do we need to force him to finish what he started? Will he regret this decision later in life when he is looking back? Scotty and I have talked about it, worried about it, and argued both sides. We have tried to put our feelings aside, tried to not let our love of the game, and our joy at seeing him play taint our judgment. It has been much more painful than I thought it would be.

The three of us made the choice to have him play Summer ball and hold off on a final decision until the Fall. Go to camp, have fun, see if anything changes. Isaac was committed to this, and had every intention of following through. In a tournament with a pick-up team the weekend before Summer ball started he re-injured his knee. This was not the way we wanted to start. He went to the trainer and just started practicing and playing in games this week. On Wednesday he took himself out of the second half of the game, telling coach his knee was hurting and he wanted to be able to play in the tournament this weekend. I only came to the second half and was frustrated to see him riding the bench again.

It came to a head last night at nine o’clock when he said he had left his shoes and brace in the locker at school, so he would not be able to play this weekend. Scotty and I had been mentioning to each other that perhaps his sickness, his attitude, and his knee hurting, this might be a passive aggressive way to not make a decision. I was done with sitting on the fence. I forced the issue and called him on his crap. Isaac you need to make a choice, it is not fair to your team, yourself, or your family if you play this game any longer. Do you want to play or not, no more half way, no more complaining, you are in or you are out. Your dad and I are not investing any more time, energy or money into your something you clearly are done with.

To my great surprise he said, “Mom you are right, I want to quit. It is not fun, and I am done.” I looked at him, he was confident and sincere. Okay, well, you need to tell coach tomorrow. “What? Why? Can’t I call him? What if I text him or wait till Monday?” No Isaac, you need to step up and own your decision, this is a huge part of your growing up. More grumbling, whining and then finally a defeated “okay.”

Today Isaac stepped up to the plate, looked his coach in the eye and said he was done. I was so proud of him, and so sad at the same time. He made a choice, he did it the right way. Today we had the bitter-sweet joy of watching one of our sons play high school basketball, and one of our son’s take a giant step toward adulthood.


2 Comments so far
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Wow good job Isaac. But I am sad too.

Comment by Anonymous

It is definitely bittersweet and I remember feeling that when Jeff quit the team just before senior year at Linfield. But it truly is a big step towards adulthood. Something else wonderful will replace those basketball shoes.

Congratulations to Isaac for knowing who you are and for making the big decision.

Comment by Barb Stoefen

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