This week, Drew successfully completed his very first basketball experience with an organization called Upward, which is hosted by our local private school. We were first introduced to it by friends from church, who have a daughter, Grace, that both attends the private school and has played basketball with Upward since she was in 1st grade. Drew, who absolutely loves Grace, was interested (most likely because he absolutely loves Grace), and Brad, being the sports nut he is, checked it out.
It’s a pretty unique sports organization, I think. You can click on the above link, if you’re interested in learning more, but the jist is that they’ve created an avenue for students to learn about the fundamentals of the game in an atmosphere that promotes good sportsmanship, teamwork, and, above all, Christ. It’s non-competitive (points aren’t recorded) and the referees (usually older students) provide guidance during the game. There are mini-sermons during half-time, and each student athlete is given memory verses each week. At the end of each game, each player is awarded a star by his coach to recognize how he stood out that particular day. For example, Drew was awarded stars for Christ-likeness, effort (twice), sportsmanship, offense, and defense.
Along with non-competitive game play, the organization tries to keep each team at the same level of abilities. Drew, along with every other student athlete, was evaluated on his skills, and then placed on teams in an effort to keep them equal. Then, during each game, players were given a specific color wristband that matched someone on the other team, to 1) help each player identify who they were defending, and 2) to match players on each team with those of the same playing ability (so the big guy that can hit three-pointers isn’t defending the little guy that can’t dribble).
I really felt like this was the perfect scenario for Drew to be introduced to sports/basketball/competitive play, for several reasons. One, Drew is competitive, and is easily hard on himself when he doesn’t perform well. Two, Drew isn’t a naturally gifted athlete, so to be able to learn in an atmosphere where there are others on his level, as well as others he can learn from in a non-threatening manner, is a plus. Third, Brad gets to be his coach. And that goes far for Drew in terms of his comfortability and willingness to try.
After six weeks of practices and games, I’d say this was a win/win for Drew (and Brad). So fun to watch him want to play. So fun to see him grow in both confidence and ability. So fun to see him cheer on his teammates and care about the people he’s with. So fun to see him and his dad do these things together.
I took my big camera on a couple different Saturdays (but good golly I have to learn how to use this thing correctly!). Drew is #13. Brad is the good-looking one in the background. ;)
So love spending my Saturdays like this.