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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Breakfast With The Boy

9:00am on a Saturday morning, Spicy Food Guy and his only son (hereafter referred to affectionately as "the boy", with the keen knowledge that the label is only appropriate for maybe another year or two) are eating a couple of egg combos at the Dor-Stop, one of our favorite restaurants.

SFG and the boy are here following an early morning recreation 7th/8th grade boys basketball game.  SFG coaches.  The boy rebounds so well SFG is thinking of giving him the title "Chairman of the Boards".

It's been a great morning.  The boy's team was losing by 12 at half to a team that had no weapons except one future NBA star.  SFG made a half time adjustment on defense; switched from man-to-man to a three man triangle zone with the 4th kid following the ball and the boy following future NBA star wherever he went.  The boy, whose true sport is wrestling and looking at a 18 to 20 win season, was able to muscle the future star around, get him frustrated, and the boy's team went on a 18-4 run to win the game.  SFG envisions himself the Bill Belichick of the boy's hoops rec league.

But basketball is not the primary topic here at the Dor-Stop.  The boy is in 8th grade, and the topic is high school.  The start is 7 short months away, and the boy is assessing his options.

But first, some background about the boy.  Two things, actually.

First, the boy is blessed by what is best called natural gracefulness.  In athletics, the boy is liquid smooth.  Pure jump shot, sweet golf swing, a natural bowling throw; he is a quick, strong, balanced wrestler.  This natural athleticism both delights and pisses off the Boy's Sister and yours truly.  SFG, who received no athletic genes, has a golf swing that looks like an angry person trying to behead a groundhog who has just stuck his head out of a hole.  The boy's natural gracefulness goes beyond athletics.  He is a natural comedian with a sharp mind and quick wit.  He learns effortlessly.  Until he got braces, he was first chair trumpet.  He is beloved by his peers and teachers.  In short, he is popular and athletic like his Grandfather, intelligent and entertaining like his Sister.  SFG's job, apparently, was to serve as a gene carrier from one talented generation to another.  There are worse jobs, SFG supposes.

Point two about the boy; until very recently when he shot up out of nowhere, he was always in the 10th to 20th percentile for height and weight.  And he has a late August birthday, one of the youngest in his class.  The net of this was from grades 1 to 6 he was a head shorter than anyone else in his class.  Because of this circumstance, the boy learned the tough lessons of realistic expectations.  He got cut from a school basketball team because of his size (a move the middle school coach now profoundly regrets), and the boy turned to wrestling where he could compete against kids his own size.  Because of realistic expectations, the boy understands his role on any team he is on.  Someday he will come to understand just how valued that skill is.

But today we are talking about high school, and he is talking about his options.  Right now he is signed up for all Honor's classes.  Should he stick with that?  Or maybe back out of Honors English?  In wrestling, he can try out for varsity, where he will learn a lot but get his ass kicked, or he can wrestle JV or even down at the middle school team, where he will dominate his opponents but limit his development.  He is thinking about the Marching Band, but if his putting gets better he may have a shot on the 9th grade golf team.  The Theater Instructors are practically drooling for him to get involved with school plays.  His Sister had her share of lead roles when she was in high school and the boy is equally talented.  So many options.  Hard to choose.  He is being thoughtful.  A recurring statement is that high school team commitments take a lot of time and effort.  SFG, who occasionally does the right parenting thing, shuts up and listens.

On the inside, SFG is abundantly proud of the boy, but he is also jealous of the boy's powerful youth and limitless potential.  The boy is entering a time in his life when the horizon grows wide, the forks in the road become more delineated, the decisions are his to make, and his choices will lead to great adventure, ripping heartbreak, and fabulous victories that are beyond measure.  

SFG twirls the eggs on his fork and wryly wonders why his two biological children seem to have so much more class, maturity, and character than SFG ever had at their respective ages.  They are better and more interesting people than he was.  SFG is not quite certain whether this is an indictment against his own character, a case of first class parenting success, or this is just the way of things.  Maybe a combination of all three, sort of like SFG's egg combo.

And a word to Mt Lebanon High School.  Watch out and button down the hatches; the boy is almost upon you. 


1 comment:

  1. 你可以從外表的美來評論一朵花或一隻蝴蝶,但你不能這樣來評論一個人 ..................................................


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