There is a sign in my house that reads, "We interrupt this marriage to bring you basketball season," and that is a statement that could not be truer in my family. After all, anyone who knows my dad knows that his first and one true love is basketball.
My dad made absolutely certain that a basketball was in my hand as soon as physically possible. He had me playing in a little church league as soon as I was old enough and always made sure to never miss a game, even though the part I enjoyed the most about that league were the snacks that we got after the games.
At my elementary school, sports started in fourth-grade, and my dad decided to step up to coach my grade's team. If you know anything about watching or coaching fourth-grade girls basketball, well, let's just say you don't want to, it's pretty painful.
He stuck with it though, all the way through 8th grade.
During this time, I also began to play off-season AAU basketball and my dad always got a team together and made sure that both myself and the girls in my area, that would become my future high school teammates, had a ball in our hands all year round because he knew how important that was.
When I got to high school, my dad finally took the parent role for my first two years, but he didn't last long on the bleachers.
My junior and senior years of high school, he was able to take an assistant coaching role and just like that we were back in the gym together, player and coach.
Over the years, there were many, MANY times that my dad and I got into it over basketball. He could be too hard on me and I could be stubborn and un-coachable. There were even times where I expressed that I wished he wasn't my coach, but now, it is something that I am so thankful for.
Even though we were at each other's throats at times, the fact that my dad was my coach made my accomplishments even better because he could be proud of me as both a coach and a parent.
From scoring my first basket at 5 years old to go on to eventually win a high school regional championship, my dad was there through it all and my successes were also his.
Having my dad as my coach allowed us to spend a lot of time together, and without me even realizing it, in time, the thing that he loved became the thing that I loved.
Even though my time on the court has come to an end, we may never be able to drag my dad away. Now, I get to come home from college and watch him coach my two younger siblings. Even though they may not appreciate him screaming at them from the sidelines for not getting back on defense fast enough or not going up strong with their shots at the moment, I know that just like me, someday, they will appreciate these special memories just as much as I do.
Looking back now, the memories that basketball has given me is something that I will cherish forever.
Without my dad's encouragement, support, and presence, I am not confident that I would have stuck with playing sports at all, and we wouldn't have built this special part of our relationship. People express their love in many different ways and for my family, one of those ways is definitely through the game.