My Daughter's Homework: "He Loved Basketball"
I've mentioned before that my wife and I took our daughter Sa-Rah out of her Korean middle school and enrolled her in an online American school. We're fairly satisfied that she's getting a good education. She's 13 and in the 7th grade, but the school already has the students doing research and writing, which is more than I did in my middle school days. One of her recent writing assignments was "Turning Telling into Showing," and she wrote this little vignette on one of the topics offered:
That's a good deal better than I could write at 13 . . . if I recall correctly. I actually don't remember having many writing assignments at that age. I do recall doing a lot of grammar lessons, which I was quite good at, for a hillbilly, anyway.I could see immediately how good he was at playing basketball, and how much he loved it. His eyes shining with passion, hair wet with sweat, muscular arms and legs bruised various places, dribbling, shooting, running and jumping . . ."He Loved Basketball"
"He used to come here every day after school, and practiced until sunset," Jamie said. "And now that summer vacation’s started, he comes here every morning and practices all day. He seems to never get tired of it."
I turned my head toward Jamie and listened more to him talking about the boy who was nearly 6 feet tall, and how much he enjoyed playing basketball.
"The first day I saw him," Jamie continued, "he couldn't make a single goal. The ball wouldn't even reach the net. I guess one of the reasons was him being only 5 feet 6 inches. He's grown 5 inches since then, and is still growing, but anyway, he was very short for a 16-year-old boy to start playing basketball."
I nodded, and waited for Jamie to go on. Jamie looked briefly at the boy, shooting and making goals with the ball, and continued.
"He picked up one of the balls sitting at the end of the court, and started to practice one skill after another, from dribbling to shooting. He didn't have anyone to practice passing the ball with, so I decided to be his partner. Every time I got tired of practicing, and wanted to rest, he would keep on dribbling and shooting. He always looked like he wanted to practice more and more until he was better. After a week or so, he made his first goal and came running to me saying, 'Coach, coach! I've done it, I've made a goal!' and that's when he started calling me coach. I can still remember the big proud smile that spread across his face."
Jamie paused, looking away with a warm smile, as if remembering the whole thing.
"Well," Jamie said in a lighter tone, "now that he's better than any other kid in the neighborhood, and is still improving, I feel very proud." Jamie suddenly stood up and shouted to the boy drinking a cup of water, "Hey, Jackson! Let's practice!" And he tossed him a basketball.
The boy called Jackson replied, "Sure, coach! I think I could score more than you now!"
Sa-Rah doesn't have a lot of experience with basketball, and probably overestimates the difficulty of making a goal. I doubt that even a newbie would need a whole week to make a goal.
But there it is . . .