It begins. The first basketball game of the Senior year, for two of the Santana Sultans. These two warriors,Jesse and Matt more “linebacker” stature for their hard bodies, are playing together for the first time in quite a while. Coming back off season-ending injuries, each young man is playing to win this year, for team reputation and to cap a seven-year career. The team is a fluid work of athletic ability in the paint, with each man responding as a unit, passing the ball,laying up, and putting away foul shots. A blowout result for the first game.
Success in this high school sport, the teamwork, the camaraderie, and the absolute single-minded determination to be the best is undiluted by money or fame or influence.
What a pity that the professional athlete, just a few years or more beyond these men, has too often forgotten the joy of the game, but loves his place in the lights, the roar of the crowd, the collecting of trophies, whether houses, women, pandering assistants and public relations teams.
Basketball moms – the mothers of these high school players have attended each game, tournament, have fed them and driven still others all over the county for the last several years. They have funded through their volunteer efforts for the school, the team meets, travel, or uniforms and accessories.
While moms still have a control over high school students, they obviously have little influence over the professional athlete. Sometimes I would like to think were a team mom still on call for these athletes, we would have much less infidelities, DUIs, brawls, or other unprofessional behavior.
Let’s all thank the basketball moms at schools everywhere who keep their children on the path set by team discipline, athleticism, and focus, and for just a little while, help all of us feel so awed by the uncomplicated drive and accomplishment of high school athletes.