The first toy my son held in his hand was a plastic guitar. It played “Achy breaks heart” and lit up when you touched it. My son loved that toy. He was probably around two years old when we purchased him a basketball hoop though. He would, I assume like most kids, try to fit all his toys into the circle just to see what they’d do. When he was five, we joined the ymca and thus, he became apart of the non-competitive summer league.
I watched my son change that summer. Despite the many activities I put him in such as dance, piano, soccer and art, basketball seemed to ignite a fire inside of him. His language changed. He wanted to talk about basketball all the time. Everything he held in his hand became a basketball. He wanted to watch it on tv, new and old games, professional, college and high school. Every time he blinked he was practicing his jump shot. And this passion and excitement has been consistent over the last two years.
I teach middle school. Last week, at our school-wide rally, staff and students faced off on the basketball court. Unlike many other rallies, there was Aton of interest with sign ups for students reaching over 50 people. When the teams were announced though, I noticed all of our student athletes were Black. Not only that, these boys were suited up Iike they were part of Duke’s starting five. It was clear that these came to play and win.
It occurred to me many of these boys were the same students often sent out of class, suspended, failing their classes and cutting class. It also occurred to me that if they could get serious about basketball they could be that focused about anything If they wanted to. But the question still lingered, “why basketball?
For little Black boys, competition is a necessary part of growing up. The need to show and prove is critical for boys at any age. I think also, that physical,kinetic relationship is important for developing as a young man. It gives them a sense of accomplishment that few other things can. So as teacher, I’m thinking, include more movement, games and competition in the classroom and our Black boys might be a little more successful in school. I’m not an expert or claim to be on any of this. I’m just saying….
Here’s an interesting article I found from Bleacher Report http://bleacherreport.com/articles/585049-white-fans-black-players-one-mans-view-of-race-in-college-basketball