Matt has stolen the ball, a skill at which he had proven to be exceptional. Knowing every player on the court, he knew there was only one that could match his speed. Only one person could get between him and the goal Ė his brother, Andrew. As he looked down the court, he noticed Andrew was already standing under the basket waiting for him. A slight hesitation, then Ö
I held my breath. There was no real need for the dramatic thumping in my heart. It was just a basketball game. It wasnít even an important game. There was no championship on the line. It wasnít even a competitive league game. The teams were made up of my sonís middle school basketball team and some parents. We had all met for a post season fun game with the players and families.
Stealing the ball was Mattís specialty. His coach had once said that the teamís best offense was Mattís ability to steal the ball and make a fast break-a-way to score. Speed Ė that was his other talent. If he was able to break away from the pack, it was rare that there would be an opposing player able to catch him.
Andrew is a year and a half older than Matthew. He was in high school, so he hadnít played the last year with this middle school team, but he had played with them the year before. His skill was shooting. He was a strong aggressive player.
Both boys played with heart. They gave 100% of their attention and energy to any game they played. When they played together, Andrew was the natural leader. Matthew took his queues from his older brother. When Matt had the ball, he instinctively passed to Andrew. Matt played with heart, but when he shared the court with his brother, he lacked confidence, believing his brother to be a better all around athlete.
It wasnít until Andrew moved on to high school, that Matt realized that he also was a good basketball player. He didnít have the option, any more, of being the kid that just played hard and took direction well. With his brother gone from the middle school team, it was time to step up and show his own basketball skills, as well as his newly developing leadership ability.
Andrew was dominating and, at times, very critical of his younger brother. In spite of his seemingly arrogant attitude toward his brother, though, he was also Mattís protector and biggest fan. He had the typical brotherly attitude of ďI can do what I want to him, but nobody else is allowed to mess with himĒ. Matt, in turn, conceded to what he believed to be his brotherís superior athletic skills.
Neither was really a basketball player. They enjoyed all sports and they played hard regardless of what they played, but basketball had its place. It was just the sport that they played when the sports that they really loved were out of season.
So here I was sitting in the stands. Unfortunately, I did not share my sonsí athletic skills so I was one of the family members that just watched. I was watching as my boys faced off with each other.
My mind raced with possibilities of how this would play out. Would Matt really be able to make a strong play for the score with his brother standing there waiting for him. After all, he knew how his brother hated to lose. He also knew that his brother could be a very physical player, especially with him. How far would Andrew go to stop his brother. I could hear the other parents around me take a deep breath. They had all seen the aggressiveness of both players. I saw the referee put move his whistle toward his mouth as if he was getting ready to call a foul. He had been their coach. He knew their abilities and personalities well.
Would there be a score? Would there be a foul? Would someone hit the ground? Would someone be grounded (by Mom)?
Oh well, Iím sure that all of this is just the ramblings of a mother reading too much into a single play of a basketball game Ė a play that, in its entirety, lasted less than a minute. There was no real need for the dramatic thumping in my heart. It was just a basketball game. It wasnít even an important game.
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