Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rescued from Life's Storms; Jaden's Moment.

Have you ever had a moment that made time stop swirling around you and essentially rescued you?

Last night Jaden and I had that happen, at a High School basketball game. Much of you know that Jaden loves basketball. At age 2 he was saying "Hoop" and practicing it night and day. His love of the game leads us to practices, collecting cans and shoveling sidewalks to afford shoes and leagues, and me occassionally taking stats for the local HS. Why do I take stats? Well, it lets us get into the game free. And I, like Jaden, love the game, too.

Despite life flying with school, homework, extracurricular activities and adding my health to the equation, it can make a flurry of activity, snowball into a blizzard. Life just passes by so fast sometimes blinding you to what really matters. One minute Jaden is fitting the hard earned shoes and the next I am pushing my finger next to his toe up against the end of them.

And then something happens that makes you stop, all those moments, of hard earned time, come to a halt.

At the last minute last night, I had been asked by the head coach of Skyline to do the Varsity's away game stats. I wondered if it would be smart to go, but did it because like I said, that team brings me to my feet- even when I am supposed to be neutral as a stat keeper. (tough for fans) And because their last game against our town rival was so amazing and Jaden has played the game footage over and over and over. Along with annoying everyone by playing his indoor game in the hallway cause the hard wood floors are better than his bedroom carpet. (Down there no one can see his awesomeness either, and like any team he enjoys an audience.)

So we drove clear out to Ammon on close to an empty tank of gas.

Arriving at the HS before the needle pointed to E, we rushed inside and I sat down and readied the stat book. There weren't a lot of kids at the away game so Jaden sat by me, next to the stat table. So he could "help" tell me who made what shots.

The national anthem was played and the audience honored it then, the announcer for Hillcrest, boomed over the mic. Calling out players' names who would stand up from their chair, run down a tunnel of team mates, shake hands with the refs, and finally shake hands with the visiting coach.

Eventually, Skyline's #10, Boston Murdoch, was called out. I didn't really notice, as I was making sure I had names straight with numbers, etc. But suddenly, there was #10 standing in front of Jaden. He had gone through the teammate tunnel, and now had his Fist outstretched toward Jaden.

For a split second we both sat there in confusion. I thought maybe he needed to get something straight for the books. But then I saw his dead focus on Jaden.

And that's when time stopped. I turned to my son and took him in. Jaden, who was still stumped, sat there paralyzed.

"Go ahead, give him knuckles." I encouraged and made a fist, to show him what to do. (he's done it a million times.)

Jaden returned the gesture. The guy to my left, who was MCing and the refs smiled. Like I said, I don't know if Boston had gone through the refs or coaches yet, and the MC guy was waiting on us to get on with it so he could announce the next player, but they all took in the moment with us.

The next few seconds continued slow motion, emotion started to well up in me and I had to fight back tears.

Later that night when Jaden recounted what happened, I asked why he didn't respond sooner. "Mom, I was stunned, that was my player."

Again, I had to fight back tears. #10 is my player now, too.

Boston isn't just anyone. Before my divorce during a time that I was struggling through a toxic case of E. Coli, his mother babysat Jaden who was two, and me.

Jaden would play 'Hoop' with Boston and his younger brother, Stockton, out on the driveway of their home. I would either be on the couch, talking to their mom or resting on their daughter's bed.

WE moved from that neighborhood and into my paren'ts house. Jaden grew and so did those boys. His memory of times playing with his hero were lost, except to me.

After Skyline's rival game with Idaho Falls High School, (see for game footage.) Jaden asked me a lot of questions about, Boston, #10. Jaden needed to know more about this kid with the sweet shot sinking young man.

'What does he sound like when he talks?' I couldn't answer that interesting question, because #10 is a quiet, humble, good kid. I could only tell him that he smiled in the halls at school when I subbed, and was respectful of teachers and others. That I'd never heard him swear. And he was a good student. That's all I really knew.

"We should invite him over, Mom!" he suggested next in a a sincere, believing manner that only a child possesses.

So #10 coming over to him at the stat table was as magical and pure as Christmas morning. And we sat there in awe for a moment, I soaked it in so I could capture it later on paper. But you can't capture some things. There just isn't a way to communicate the accumulation of so many events that led up to that moment.

Maybe Padre's pics in this post can relate some of the feeling...

Jaden's belief in the team winning, led him to leave my side in the 4th quarter and by himself go in the hallway, dribbling and shooting at the wall within my view through the opened double doors.

I had to gather him up at the ending of the game, he begged to stay and asked why we had to leave "so early". Never mind that the basketball hoops had been drawn up. The kids didn't care, they were tossing it up at the wall.

Once I coaxed him out into the dark night and sub temperatures and were heading for home he made a comment to the effect that we'd won. "Actually, we lost." I told him. "We did??" He asked once again stunned.

But that fact didn't shake his excitement. Win, lose. Didn't matter. His player had singled him out and he was on cloud nine the whole way home.

"I want to do something for him." he said.

"Like what?"

"I dunno. Buy him a car or something."

"I think he has one already. I bet he'd like a note or you could draw something for him. Definitely put this down in your journal."

"Maybe I could send him a note and a sucker or something."

He wrestled me around at bedtime to get the excited jitters out and finally clonked out.

We were home, safe. And all was well.

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