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The Joys of Five Year Old Basketball

So I went to my niece’s co-ed, five- and six-year old basketball game today, with few if any expectations, and came away swimming (or better said, dribbling) with emotion. For one hour, I watched these young children run around a gym having as much fun as can probably be had by a five year old. Here’s a few observations: As I watched these children, ALL grinning and laughing, run up and down a full court (sometimes dribbling, sometimes not – even though they had the ball of course) I thought about the kids sitting in front of their TVs and computers playing video games. One could argue they’re stimulating their brains, but I’d argue their brains get stimulus at school and their bodies need more ‘stimulus’ on the weekends. I watched a little five year old boy ‘head’ the basketball. I’m pretty sure he thought he was on the soccer field there for just a minute.  I watched a very small little girl do a bounce pass to the wall. Oops.  I watched the tallest child on the court shoot probably, oh, 25 shots in a row as he continued to rebound, shoot, rebound, shoot, rebound, shoot – I’m sure you can visualize this. He did score eventually – BIG cheers from the crowd. For a while I thought the game had morphed into a game of keep away as one player ran around the key and behind the basket expecting someone to tag him I think. The coach finally intervened encouraging him to ‘stop and shoot the ball’. I watched little guys and girls get boo boos and run off the court to their waiting moms and dads. Quick to return to their spot on the court once the foreheads were kissed and the tears were wiped away. I watched girls and boys on the ‘bench’ play patty cake and make their folding chair fold, with them inside naturally. I watched one little guy, playing on the court at the time, see if he could play with his arms inside his shirt – rather than in their sleeves. I think he learned that doesn’t work so well, although it’s pretty darn fun. I watched another little guy who seemed to think HE was the ball as he actually bounced himself around the court, holding the ball all the while. I could read the mind of one, tallish girl who, while possessing the ball was thinking, “eeny, meeny, miney, mo...”  Yes, she took that long, if not much longer to scan each child on both teams and make a decision. I think her best girlfriend won, on the other team. I watched parents and friends and grandparents and teachers laugh and cheer and conduct themselves like the supportive adults they should be. Not a one adult or coach was loud, obnoxious, out of turn or embarrassing. I was amazed, as there’s usually one in the group, and hope they continue to be so respectful as spectators when their children grow older and play more competitive sports. In all, I spent one of the most joyous hours I’ve spent in a very long time watching 18 preschoolers run around with smiles on their faces, cheering their teammates, hugging their families, drinking from their waterbottles and just generally having a grand ‘ol time. What a great day. I love sports.