The photo above is of my first born and only son. He is the “spittin’ image” of me and this apple fell way too close to the tree. His passions (so far) in life have followed mine. He loves basketball and the Carolina Tar Heels. We rejoice and mourn with every win and loss. I am so proud of him for how hard he has worked to become quite good at the game he loves. He really is a student of the game. Even at the indoor water park, he can be found shooting a basketball in the pool for hours at a time. I know all parents tend to believe that their children are talented at sports, school, dance or whatever and I would be no exception. Just Saturday he scored well over 20 points (we honestly lost track) and had a ton of rebounds.

“The Boy” began his 2nd year of Upwards Basketball this year. While I think Upwards is a tremendous outreach opportunity and ministry, it has been tough on him. Due to his size and ability, we requested that he play in the level one year older. Our request was denied so “The Boy” has literally had to balance between dominating the other team and trying to give the ball to his teammates. He literally will pull down a rebound, drive to the other end of the court, stop and pass the ball back out to someone else rather than taking a wide open layup. That’s a lot to ask of an 8 year old that is still trying to put all of his teaching together. It really is.

The point of this post is not to brag on my son. While I could do that all day long, something happened in his game Saturday that brought me an even greater sense of pride. As we were lining the kids up for another period of play, a veteran referee of Upwards put his hand on “the boy’s” shoulder and said “I really appreciate how you have done your best to keep your teammates involved. You have shown great sportsmanship and are a good example to others“. It was such a blessing to be standing there when he said that. It literally made my day.

While I wish my son nothing but continued success on the court and that he achieves every goal and dream, “success” as a person and individual is much higher on my list. That he would learn early the pride of building up others and living his life by example makes him an all-star far beyond basketball. For that,  I am one proud dad!