Basketball season just ended at my school. You don’t think of basketball as being a contact sport, but there was a moment at the last game where one of our players bumped one of their players, and that guy as well as the guy on the other side flipped in opposite directions away from our player. This resulted in two sets of free throws with nobody guarding (don’t know what that’s called). I don’t think I’ve ever found basketball so funny.
Later in the game, one of the other Eagles had to get walked off the court by his teammates, and it made me remember something that happened last season. Our coach has three sons who had been on the team at various times. There was a moment last year when something happened, and the youngest one hit the court hard. The moment that followed was one of the quietest I’ve ever experienced. Our arena holds a couple thousand people, and every single one of them watched in total silence—not “oh, they’re shushing us” silence, but “if I breathe, the universe will be vaporized” silence—as Coach crossed the court to check on his son. There’s something uniquely frightening about that many people being that silent.
I remember watching Coach’s face as he walked across the court, focused on his supine son. Coach is an inscrutable man, with a warm but rare smile. His face as he walked toward his son will always be etched in my mind.
His son was fine. He got up after a couple minutes and walked back to the bench, laughing it off like he always does. A bit of chin tape and he was back in the game. But it made me appreciate the love of a father, and I will always be thankful that my father is a good man.