March 10, 2011

Coaches, Kids, Community & Cancer . . .


One of the boys in this picture has cancer for the second time in his life.  He is only thirteen.  When I look at him, I can’t help but think of my own thirteen year old son and how I would be handling it if he were the one with cancer.  It is a sobering thought.

You can’t tell which boy has cancer, and I’m not going to point him out because I think it shows how he’s handled the sickness in general – he’s trying to do all the things he normally would, to just be a normal kid.  He is not letting cancer beat him.

I love this picture for so many reasons.  It shows a bit of every emotion.  The thrill of victory is in some faces – victory across a season with zero losses.  A season dedicated to the player and friend with cancer. His fight against cancer is what lit the fire in each players heart to win. And there he is, enjoying it with his teammates.  That is victory. 

The agony of defeat from losing this one crucial final tournament game. Do you see my boy Big C at the very far right side of the picture. He is crestfallen.  Even with two large {tacky} trophies in hand, he is sad that they couldn’t pull off a perfect season.  I just can’t figure out where he gets his competitive nature from…HA!

The coach in this picture has a look on his face that says so much.  He is truly in awe of these boys and proud of them.  He and my Hubby {absent to be at his grandma’s funeral} decided very early on that this season was not going to be about basketball as much as it would be about building the character of these boys as they rallied around a teammate with cancer.

It has been so wonderful to see teenage boys – normally self-absorbed and awkward – become selfless and sacrificing in a way that has built confidence and allowed them to serve more willingly. In my book that makes them the most winning team around no matter whether they won a tournament game or not.

I’m happy to say it doesn’t end there. Other teams the league have caught on to this idea of helping for a greater good.  This Saturday, with my Hubby at the helm, a charity basketball game will be held in honor of our teammate with cancer.  The coaches of the Seventh Grade league will be playing each other in the game and the boys will be coaching, acting as referees, etc.  Each team in the league has donated a basket that will be raffled off. Restaurants in the community have donated gift certificates and food for concessions.  It is going to be an amazing evening!  All of the proceeds from the event will go to pay for medical expenses for our friend.

So, it has been quite a journey this season and I’m pleased to say that the boys who started out on our team in the beginning have ended the season as better young men.  I’m proud of my son and my Hubby.  And I can’t wait to watch my man hoop it up for hope on Saturday.

If you’d like to read a newspaper write up about the game, you can find it here.


christy said...

Thanks for sharing. It brought a few sweet tears to my eyes.

Apis Melliflora said...

Long after Big C accumulates shelves of trophies, he will remember this team this year. So many life lessons learned.

Hope there's lots of hoopla over the hoops and hoards of money raised!

The Queen Vee said...

It was a terrific season but with amazing lessons learned. Now on to the REALLY BIG game on Saturday, the team and the Hubby Coach will continue to make us proud.

Kernal Ken said...

This is one of my favorite posts, ever!

After the game was over and the boys had received their trophies, I thought, "Maybe it's a good thing that they weren't perfect this year. After all, their teammate still has cancer — and no one ever said that life is fair."

Nonetheless, there was much to celebrate in this group of young men this year. Pulling together for their buddy made them all better people...

And the Hubby Coach was the mentor of them all, even those of us in the stands.

Aiketa said...

Teary eyed... Like all the other commenters said, this group of young children have learned so many life lessons.