I am pretty sure that my parenting goal came to fruition this week. OK, maybe that is a little extreme. I mean, my girls graduating from college, getting meaningful careers, and being kind, Godly people is actually my goal. But, this week, I experienced a more personal parenting win.
We purchased and had installed a brand new, in ground basketball hoop.
For years, I had imagined doing this. In fact, when we were pregnant with our oldest and were house hunting, buying a house with an ideal basketball driveway was one of my secret selection points. When we found our current home, complete with an ancient basketball hoop already installed, I knew it was perfect.
At first, I was content with the older hoop. Sure, it didn’t adjust down, but I learned from day one on a regular sized hoop and my kids could as well. But, this basketball hoop was ancient. Heck, the square, used to perfect the bank shot, was barely visible. And, despite my previous beliefs that my girls would just have to learn to muscle the ball all the way up there, I soon realized how far 10 feet in the air is to a 4 year old.
Plus, after coaching 4-6 year olds last winter, I saw the advantage of a lower hoop; it is much better to teach a kid correct form at a young age with a basketball hoop at an appropriate height and just adjust the height and their power as they grow. If they learn the side arm or two-handed shot, they have to adjust their entire form later.
So, we decided — OK, I decided — that we needed a new, adjustable hoop. After finding a great deal on a really nice hoop and lining up my amazing, handyman cousin to install it, I was full of excitement. However, my balloon burst just a little when I realized that he would have to set the concrete and wait a few days to actually set up the rest of it.
Finally, the day came that it would be up and ready to use. While anticipation was seeping out of my skin as my cousin and Paul worked on it into the evening, I knew baths still had to be drawn and homework still had to be finished, so I had to pretend like it was just an ordinary night.
But it was not an ordinary night. Oh no, not for this Mama. Once I got the all clear, I hurriedly rinsed shampoo out of my girls’ hair and attempted to quickly shove not-quite-dry arms and legs (getting stuck every inch) into pajamas.
In that moment, it didn’t matter to me that Maylie’s unfinished homework sat on the counter, that tangled wet hair had yet to be combed through, or even that our first night of shooting on the new hoop would be in Reagan-requested Christmas footie jammies. All that mattered was that we — my girls and I — would be shooting hoops.
And that night did not disappoint. In fact, I figured Reagan, my sports-loving girl, would be the most excited. While she loved it, Maylie couldn’t get enough of it, either. Hey, I just may be able to turn that cheerleader into a ball player. You know, of course, if she really wants to.
As I watched my girls filled with excitement over the one thing that always excited me growing up, my mind went back to my childhood. From pickup games with kids from all around the area, to shooting around late in evenings with my dad rebounding, there were very few summer days that our hoop was idle.
When I was really little, I had to sit out and watch my big sisters school the boys. But as I practiced and grew, I got my chance. Even when most of my girlfriends would rather sit out and watch, I was always out there with the guys. The street game taught me toughness; my dad taught me precision. The full experience taught me discipline, passion and love of the game.
And this week, I was right back there. Watching my baby girls chase after a missed shot and eagerly try again, showing them how to bend their knees, use the glass and follow through completely paid for the price of the hoop.
Oh, we have some work to do on their shooting form, but that will come with time. For now, I am completely taking in this new view of the sport that stole my heart at an early age with the girls that stole my heart more recently.
Oh hey, basketball — old friend, old passion — meet my newest passions, my sweet baby girls.
And just like that, one of my parenting goals was checked off.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.