Friday, March 20, 2015

Just a Second String Player.....Say What?

There are 10 of them, but you only hear about 5 of them.  It’s the way it goes. You know their time will come too.  It just requires patience and hardwork. They are on this awesome ride just flying low under the radar. They are younger; they are where every other player before them has been.  They work just has hard, give just as much commitment and their love for the game is just as great. There is always a next set of boys and the upcoming team lurking in the shadows but until they get there they go unnoticed. That’s sports and it’s just how it works.

They go unnoticed, are never even mentioned by the media or the newspapers and you can see some of the fans leaving the gym when they finally get in the game. Sometimes even family members don’t think they’ve made it until they have reached a Varsity Starting position. That’s sports and that’s just how it works.

So, What’s it like to be a second string Varsity Basketball Player? I can only tell you what it has been like for me as a Mom of a son who is a sophomore who went from being a starter on JV, playing the entire game to making Varsity, getting playing time at the end of game or none at all. I can also tell you I think it’s what you make it, it’s a stepping stone and it’s what they do with it as a player.

They are a team. They are a group of boys who ALL want the same thing, to WIN and to succeed whether they start or sit. They all put in the work and they couldn’t do what they do without each other. They need each other. The starters need the second string to practice and to do the dirty work that no one sees. The second string needs the starters to help them improve their skills and become stronger players.  They are a team on and off court which I think  is very important. Every year the dynamic of any team changes sometimes just a little and other times a lot. You gain and lose players as each year goes by and adjusting to that is essential as a player.  The word team is thrown around a lot, but it’s true that no one person can do it alone. As a second string player I think they sometimes get lost, people look at them differently, make assumptions like they are not good enough or as an  important part of the team which just isn’t always the case. I think they all have potential and strengths. It’s not that they aren’t good enough maybe they are just not ready, as experienced on the court, strong enough or big enough yet but they are all definitely important to the success of the team and deserve credit too. 

I think our team is amazing in so many ways beyond the wins. I am proud my son got to really know all of these Senior boys this year. I think my son has taken in a lot being with them, they pushed him hard, encouraged, critiqued, helped and supported him.  I think the starting five know they need the other five; they appreciate them, their hard work and dedication. I think the five second string boys really respect and are genuinely happy for the starting five and all their successes. I think they come together as a team and in the celebration of a win, put aside who’s done what; they are all just happy living in the moment enjoying the ride. At that moment it doesn’t matter if you start or if you sit you’re just proud, as a basketball player, as a team and as a Tartan.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Proud Mom, Did I Mention he’s NOT Even my Kid?

We watch him on the court. We see him in the paper and on the news. We read about him, his achievements, records, points and stories online. We follow the story, his success and we feel proud. We feel proud as a school district, as a community and proud that he’s a Tartan. The name is familiar in the Capital Region and beyond. If you follow High School Basketball you know him, well you think you know him. There is much more to this kid, more than what you can read in a paper or gather off a 60 second news segment. 

On the court we all know what he can do. Now, I am not writing this as a family member or a close family friend and I do not work for the school. I am just an acquaintance. I am in the stands at almost every game (for the last few years) as a fellow Basketball Mom and fan. I am a woman so I probably pay more attention to the small things that others may not notice or even care about, but as a mother I think these things are just as important and should be known too. I may not be able to recite his STATS or all his achievements but I can tell you what I have seen, noticed or witnessed over the last few years as a bystander in layman’s MOM terms. 

He never gives up. He plays hard all the time. He’s wants to win. He knows what to do every second of every game.  He’s tough. He’s a leader. He’s a good teammate. He’s not all about himself, he’s about the WIN. The first thing he does after a game is find a man who I believe is his Grandfather and then his parents to hug them. He then talks, hugs, shakes hands with anyone in the gym who approaches him. He says “Thank you” after every compliment. I see all the little kids running up to him because to them he’s a real life Super Star; they want to be like him. I see him smile. I’ve been witness to him making my son feel comfortable, feel more confident and make him feel like he’s part of something instead of just being the new guy on the team. I’ve watched him pick up my son in a car (him going in cars with teen drivers was new to me) yet somehow his reassuring friendly smile and wave to me as I stood there registered as “We will be fine”.  I’ve seen his feisty anger at times yet he always displays good sportsmanship.  I see him encourage and cheer on the second string when they get in the game. He has come up to my Husband and I just to offer his input, opinions or to compliment our son’s progress as a first year varsity player. I see how much the school and community rally around him yet he’s humble. He’s polite. I see his name on the High Honor Roll repeatedly. He’s a crowd pleaser.  He’s the kid that when you ask your own son “Are you upset that you aren’t going to get the playing time this year?” and his reply is “I knew this going into it and NO, it’s still all worth it to be able to work out , practice and learn everyday from the best player in the area”. He is the player I overhear people talking about. He’s a High School Basketball Star yet still just a kid; I take notice of that too, well because I’m a Mom and that’s what we do. He’s a kid that’s got more than game, he’s got heart, you can feel it, and you can see it without even really “knowing” him.  I see it every day because he’s the face hanging on my five year olds bedroom wall. 

You know who I'm talking about.......Right?
Joe Cremo #24 
Good Luck Kid! You make Mom's everywhere proud!