My six-year-old son Gabriel played on a basketball team made up of players ages 6 to 7. He was the youngest and smallest player on his team and he had a hard time staying focused. It was interesting to watch him during practices or games because he was a different player than when he played with his brother, I guess he was more of a street basketball player than an organized basketball player when he played with his brother. With his brother, he was aggressive, but on his team he was very passive.
However, it didn’t matter if he was not the best player, because he had great sportsmanship spirit.
During every game, Gabriel was happy just to be there. He played every game and never scored a basket (he had a hard time understanding when he was on offense and when he was on defense; he often lost track of the person he was covering; he danced between shots; and once he pulled the side of his pants out without realizing he was flashing his Cars or Spiderman underwear). Gabriel added humor but he taught everyone how to really give your best and not worry about impressing others.
During the game, every time a teammate made a shot he jump for joy and give my husband and I a thumbs up, when he almost made a shot, he gave us a thumps up; when he was able to dribble the ball he gave us a thumps up. The crowd became his fans. Parents often came after a game and said he is so cute, the referee would often say, this kid has true sportsmanship. It got to the point that people really got exited when he got the ball. Everyone, including our family, really wanted Gabriel to make a shot.
Game after game, he will be there giving and sharing. Until one game, his team was winning by 15 points, the coach decided told the other players to pass the ball to Gabriel every time so he could try to get a shot because everyone had made a shot except him. Not one shot the whole season so far and they only had two games left.
Gabriel was OK at first. However, every time he turned around, someone was throwing the ball to him. This made him not so exited, he was not giving us a thumb up anymore, and he now felt the pressure of making a basket. Not only that, but after every basket he missed there was a unanimous “Ohhh” from the crowed. Can you imagine my little son hearing that “Ohhh” over and over again.