Keep Moving Forward
Ethan was very excited to attend a competitive basketball camp. He had been practicing for weeks because this particular camp brought in very talented players. Every night I would hear the basketball being dribbled outside. Ethan would put on headphones, turn on the music and spend the next two hours dribbling and shooting. I was amazed at his dedication and love for the game. It all led up to this camp. The night before we sat and he asked how I thought he would do with the other players. Several of his friends were also attending so I told him to listen, learn and have fun. A smile came across his face. It was clear that he was excited and eager to go. It is hard for Ethan to hide his excitement and he always has a smile on his face.
The next day I was eager to greet him when he arrived home from his first day of camp. I was upstairs when I heard the door shut but I did not want to appear too eager, so I stayed upstairs in my bedroom. In reality I was very excited to talk with him. After about five minutes I knew something was not right. Ethan would usually run upstairs to tell me about his day, and now, nothing. I was tempted to go downstairs but decided to wait.
Finally I heard his soft steps on the stairs and got my first look at him. He glanced up at me but instead of coming in to see me he took a right and went to his room. Uh Oh! Many thoughts raced through my head. Was he bullied? Did he play poorly? Was the camp too hard? After a few minutes he came out of his room and slowly made his way into my room. There was no smile on his face which was rare.
“How was camp?” I asked.
He paused and his first words were a long, “well.” He went on to tell me that he was on a team that would not pass to him. In two twenty minute games he only got passed to twice. The players on his team were all friends and a year older. His friends were on other teams.
After all the work he put in this was the result; disappointment and frustration. He had a dejected look on his face so I decided that we should take a walk. Ethan and I walk together a lot and during those walks we just talk. For the next hour we walked and discussed the fact that not everything goes as planned. I told him that this was a learning experience for him and he needed to keep playing hard and keep a good attitude. He could not understand why his team would not pass to him and he was upset. We kept walking and talking. Then he stopped in the middle of our walk, scrunched up his face, and said,” Dad, I will just do my best.” I am not sure how much better he felt, but it made me feel better.
The next day when he arrived home he ran upstairs to talk to me. When he got to the top of the stairs and saw me he slowed down and a smile stretched across his face.
Smiling back I said, “You must have had a better day.”
His smile exploded. Ethan ran into the room and very excitedly told me about his day. He had been traded to another team which had one of his friends on it. He got passed to and scored points and played good defense. He had a blast. Everything turned around that day.
Life is not always what we expect. It can be hard and disappointing, but it will pass and the hope for a new day can bring joy and happiness. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Keep moving forward and find your happiness.