What talents are your kids hiding?


As a father, I long for the days when I could just hold my young son and didn’t have to worry about him running off in search of something better to do than hang out with his dad. There are, however, some advantages to kids growing up – you learn new things about them all the time.

For instance, this year I learned my son might just be a natural when it comes to playing basketball. When he was a toddler, we bought him a Little Tikes basketball hoop that we set up in our living room so he could get out some energy and just be a young boy. Of course, he enjoyed dunking the basketball and chucking it across the living room towards the hoop as if he was throwing a football instead of shooting a basketball. It brought him and us a lot of enjoyment, but he wasn’t really learning the game.

When he got a little older, we moved the hoop outside to our patio. He would play from time to time, but he never really got involved with the game of basketball like he did with baseball. To avoid him getting burned out on baseball, we decided to sign him up for a coed basketball league. To our surprise, he was actually pretty good. His shooting form was spot on, and he was hustling and diving all over the place. He told me he had been practicing at school with his buddies.

Being that my wife and I played basketball growing up, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. When I say I played basketball, it was mostly pickup and intramural basketball. In fact, I did have a nice little run in what I like to refer to as the LBA or Lunchtime Basketball Association.

Before I explain the LBA, let me explain my love of the game of basketball, which started at an early age. Almost every night after my homework was done, I would head outside to shoot hoops and pretend I was Michael Jordan. After playing organized basketball at the elementary level, I decided to try out for the junior high team. Despite giving it my all, I was cut from the team, which surprised a number of the kids on the team. I guess the coaches had their reasons, whatever they might have been. After that, I decided not to try out again, even though I showed up to some high school conditioning and shootarounds my freshman year. If I could do it all over again, I would have tried out for the high school team.

I did get to enjoy some success playing the game at The Ohio State University. My freshman year, a few of my roommates and I put together an intramural team. We played four to five times a week, after studying, of course. I was in the best shape of my life at that age, and it translated on the court. Our team that year went on to win the intramural championship, which is a college memory I will never forget.

For those still wondering about the Lunchtime Basketball Association, it was kind of a big deal to those of us who just loved playing the game. Every day I would scarf down the cafeteria food in order to give myself as much time as possible to hit the court in the gym. Looking back, rushing through my lunch was probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but you only live once.

A typical day in the LBA consisted of warming up with a game or two of 21 (a popular variation of street basketball) before we broke up into teams. Once the games got going it was simple – win and keep playing. For me, being picked by older students was a great feeling as it meant someone recognized my skills, unlike the coaches back in junior high.

By the time my senior year came around, everyone knew where to find me during our lunch period. That year, the gym monitor happened to be the gym teacher, who was a former football and baseball coach. One day out of the blue, he called me over to his office. He asked why I never tried out for the basketball team. At that point in my life, academics was my top priority, so I told him I decided to concentrate on my schooling. Again, I wish I would have tried out and not spent so much time studying.

At least I will always have the memories from my time in the LBA, and I’m still hoping for a phone call one day saying I’ve been elected to the LBA Hall of Fame. Until that day, which will obviously never happen since such a HOF doesn’t exist, I’ll continue to tell the story to my son in hopes of inspiring him to reach for something higher than settling for memories of pickup games at lunchtime and an intramural championship in college.


By Joshua Keeran

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Joshua Keeran is managing editor of The Delaware Gazette. Reach him by email at [email protected] or by phone at 740-413-0900.

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