Jason McElwain was discussed on Killer Crossover a couple weeks back but I wanted to dedicate some space on my Blog to talk about this kid and what his accomplishment means to me. For those of you that aren’t familiar with “J-Mac” he’s an autistic boy who was the team manager for his high school team. As a way of saying thanks for all his hard work his high school coach put him in for the last four minutes of the teams final game of the season and he exploded for 20 points and a school record six three pointers.
I love J-Mac’s story because it reminds me why I decided to coach kids. As a teacher in Canada there aren’t any financial rewards for coaching and sometimes I wonder if I’m making a difference in these kids lives or of if I’m just putting in time. Don’t get me wrong, I love basketball and coaching but there are days when I question why I spend 10 hours a week trying to mold these stubborn kids. When a story like J-Mac comes my way and I’m reminded of all the cool things that I can accomplish as a coach. I’m reminded that I can be the coach who makes a kids year by taking him because he has potential instead of one of the more athletic kids who’s not willing to learn about the game. I can make a kid grin ear-to-ear just by telling him how much his jump shot has improved. Instead of ranting and raving like some of my peers I can crank tunes during practice and watch my kids break out into fits of hysterics as Mr. McNeill tries to dance.
I didn’t fall in love with the game because of a coach yelling at me, I fell in love with the game of basketball on a summer afternoon playing in the park with music blasting and talk about girls in-between games.
Basketball isn’t about x’s and o’s, it’s not about whether you can create the perfect play for your team to run and it’s not about wins and losses (regardless of how thrilling those wins are or painful those losses may be).
Basketball is about those exciting plays that bring you out of your seat, it’s about sweating with your teammates over grueling practices and that bond that forms with your teammates and it’s about shooting hoops on a summer afternoon under the blistering soon because there’s no place else you’d rather be.
Basketball isn’t always about fundamentals or winning, it’s more than that.
Basketball is about emotion and passion.