Hoop Dreams

Cecilia Garcia-Velez essays

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Someone once called my daughter “A rose among thorns,” the only girl sandwiched between two boys. We are surrounded by football-loving, stinky-feet and constant rough-housing testosterone. So needless to say, we carve out some mother/daughter time every so often.

I am lucky enough to have an awesome relationship with my own mother, despite how desperately obnoxious I was during my teenaged years. During my childhood and teens, my mother sewed constantly, beautiful items, dresses, jumpers, you name it. She and my grandmother made my sister’s wedding dress—filled with beautiful details and handmade with love. My mom even made one of my prom dresses. Me? I had zero interest when I was a kid—despite my mother’s exceptional skill and talent.

So I am not sure why it was such a shock to me that my daughter is not a mini-me. She loves sports, yes I did too. But I loved basketball and she loves soccer. I convinced her to try basketball this year. To give it shot—no pun intended. I promised I would coach and that the fun would be off the charts. When she plays soccer, she is fluid. She understands the game and possesses some of those intangibles that some people are just born with. And she plays with a smile on her face. Always. No matter the score, the weather or the opponent. She truly loves the game.

I thought if she loves soccer that much, imagine how much she will love basketball. I pictured her fast breaks and pull-up three pointers; shooting hoops in the alley until it was too dark to see and never-ending games of Lightning. I imagined weekend long tournaments and that basketball smell—if you played you know—that smell of leather, stale gym and old sweat. I thought of all the teams my parents could not afford to sign me up for, the shoes I never wore and oh, all those basketball camps I used to dream about. I thought about how we are lucky enough to be able to give all that to her.

As I watch her play basketball, I can tell she likes it well enough. While we have yet to win a game, the team is bonding in a way that losing 38-0 can only do. They are learning and as their coach I love watching the progression of not just my daughter but the whole team.

But as many parents before me, I realized she is not me. Just as my mother did not write my script, I cannot write hers. So what if she is not in love with basketball. I cannot and will not be that mother that forces a sport onto a child. She is who she is. I sadly put my hoop dreams to rest. I know we will still have a fun basketball season and I will cherish the time we spend together.

Because in the end, that is all that matters.

About the Author

Cecilia Garcia-Velez

Cecilia Garcia-Velez lives in St. Paul with her husband Pat where they can be found on numerous sidelines coaching and cheering on their three kids or chasing their golden retriever. She works as a writer and editor and enjoys spending time outdoors with her family.

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