We have all read the articles that tell us, as parents, the best thing (and only thing we should say) to our children about sports is “I just love to watch you play…”. Well, now I REALLY love watching my son Conor play basketball. Period. And this is why:
A few weeks ago, we began the new basketball season evaluation process, which we go through every year with our travel basketball club. Jim, who is a die hard basketball fan (and natural athlete) wanted to give Conor a “motivational” talk to get him in the right “mindset” for the evaluations. In short, the “pep talk” was about taking his game to the next level, making a commitment to hone his skills, investing the time to reach his potential, etc., etc., etc. After “the talk”, I asked my husband how it went. Jim felt good about the conversation and let me know that he asked Conor to make a decision as to whether or not he was going to make a commitment to all the things he discussed with him. Conor said he wanted to think about it and that he would give him an answer tomorrow, which was Monday.
Monday night, after Conor finished all of his homework he asked Jim if he had time to talk. About 20 minutes later Jim came back down and I asked him how it went, and this is what happened. Conor said that, he knows he is not going to the NBA and that it is unlikely he will play basketball in college so he really needs to focus on school. He then went to say that there are too many nights when he gets home at 9:30pm at night and is up until 10:30 and 11:00pm at night finishing his homework when he is tired so he gets frustrated and isn’t giving his schoolwork enough focus. In addition, he feels like he has a list of things that he has told himself he wants to do to improve his basketball skills but he can’t seem to follow through on them. And finally, he thought it might be a good idea to explore some other sports that his dad has suggested to him, like water polo (keep in mind that Conor is a junior lifeguard, a blackbelt in Taekwondo, plays tennis and golf in addition to basketball). So, after thinking about Jim’s question, he thinks he should quit basketball.
For those of you who don’t know my husband, at this point he is shitting his pants – QUIT BASKETBALL, OMG! This is the exact opposite response Jim was expecting to hear! So he back-pedals as quickly as he can and asks Conor, “Do you like to play basketball”? And Conor says that he loves to play basketball. At the end of the conversation Jim persuaded Conor not to make a rash decision and to go through the evaluation process, and then see how he feels at the end of the week. It worked out well for everyone that Jim left for a business trip to China the next day 🙂 Note to Self- Don’t ask what you think is a rhetorical question, if you aren’t 100% sure of the answer!
Tuesday night I went to the gym to pick Conor up from his basketball practice and the coach asks me if I have a few minutes. The coach then proceeds to tell me that they would like Conor to play on the Premier team with the 7th and 8th graders. On the drive home I let Conor know how proud I am of him and that his commitment and focus is the reason why this is happening; his effort and hard work was paying off. The best part of this conversation was that I got to play the “good mom” role, which is not the norm; refer to the Tiger Mom section 🙂
Later that week Conor tells me that he has changed his mind and he wants to continue playing basketball. Now, both Jim and I JUST REALLY love watching our son Conor play basketball!
Whether this was coincidence, serendipity, or happenstance, the timing of how things played out was simply impeccable! If it’s not basketball, perhaps Conor has a future as a Psychologist because this was the most effective use of reverse psychology ever!!