I’ve been taking my son Tom to his basketball practices. My wife Staci used to do it, but she got bored just sitting there for an hour.
I can see how it would be boring. The kids learn how to play zone defense. They learn how to set screens. They learn how to rebound.
This requires the average parent to sit on the half-open bleachers and fill an hour.
Some talk to each other. Some read. One knits.
I fill the hour in a different way.
I boo my son.
Tom makes a lay-up.
Tom hits a jump shot.
Tom gets a rebound.
It is as though I am rooting for another team. An invisible one. And Tom is the enemy.
If nothing else, it is a novel approach to parenting.
So far, the other kids’ parents haven’t said anything. Mostly because they think I’m an unstable vagrant who’s wandered into the gym.
And Tom handles it well. When the practice is over, he lets me walk about twenty yards ahead of him all the way to the car. As though I’m not his father. As though he too believes I’m an unstable vagrant who’s wandered into the gym.
But I don’t mind. I just get in the car and wait for him to open the door and sit in the passenger seat.
And as he does, I don’t start the car. I don’t do anything. Because I know it will make him turn his head toward me.
And when he does:
I boo the way he sat down.