Tag Archives: basketball

When I Chose to be Productive Instead of Present

Family WalkYesterday, my son had his last basketball training day for this summer. Just like in the previous summer, my son joined Complete Basketball Camp with San Beda Alabang coach James Tolentino. Two months of thrice-a-week training had come and gone, and yesterday was the last day, the culmination of all that effort. My son was nervous and excited to play.

I needed to make a quick side trip to the bank. I had placed an online order to replenish some of our health supplements. I wanted to make the payment and send the confirmation that morning with the hope that my order will be shipped before the end of this week.

When my son and I arrived at the basketball court, I told him that I would go on a quick errand and be back as soon as possible. Training would take about two hours, so I figured I would have plenty of time to get back before it ended.

I went to the BPI Family Bank branch that was two minutes away, only to find out that their ATM was offline. I drove to the nearest BPI Bank branch which was about 15 minutes away. To my dismay, I discovered that their ATMs didn’t issue receipts at that time (and I needed the receipt to email my payment confirmation). I had no choice but to queue up for a deposit over the counter. I think I spent about 20 minutes in the bank, and I was so glad when I could finally head back to my son’s basketball training.

As soon as I sat in my usual spot in the bleachers, I was so happy to catch my son make a beautiful lay-up shot! I thought of my arrival, “Perfect timing!” When he approached me at the end of that quarter for a water break, my son said, “Mom, I really wish you were here during our first quarter. I played really well, the best I’ve ever played. I made several shots. The bigger boys were even cheering for me. I really wish you had seen me play so well.” Wow, turned out I had lousy timing.

After the game, I asked him to tell me what happened during that first quarter, how many shots did he make. He replied,  “Maybe four or five. Some were long twos, close to the three-point line….But it’s not the same, Mom. I can’t really tell you with words…I just wish you had seen me.”

I broke my son’s heart when I chose to be productive instead of being present. And I don’t want to make that mistake again. I don’t want to repeat that indelible heartache of years ago when I had to stay overnight in the office to finish a client presentation, and I learned that my husband had to explain to our then two-year-old daughter why Mommy wasn’t coming home that night.

Yesterday, I tried to make it up to my son. I promised that when training starts again, I will be there. I promised to ask his coach how well he did during that magical first quarter, to know more about how he played his best game ever. And I made a promise to myself that when there is a choice, instead of prioritizing being productive, I will choose to be present.



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Sports Mom Lesson No. 5: The Matter of All Heart

All Heart AwardLast weekend, we were back in Xavier School in San Juan, Metro Manila for the this school year’s 3rd semester Hoop Festival and graduation ceremony for Coach E Basketball School. As usual, the day started with the graduation ceremony: the opening speech to thank all the students, coaches and parents who participated in this semester’s module, an explanation of how the day’s tournament for the three divisions will go, and the giving of special awards – the All Heart and Excellence Awards.

The parents and the children don’t know beforehand who will receive these special awards. That morning, my son, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised when my son’s name was called for the All Heart Award for the rookies division of his team / venue (San Beda College Alabang). My son has received the Excellence Award a few times, and his team has won championships a few times too. But this All Heart Award is his first, and it’s special.

When we got home, my son asked me what the All Heart Award meant. We know he was very happy to have brought home a medal that day, but only after all the gameplay and all the exhaustion was he able to reflect on what this award really meant.  This is how the rest of our conversation went:

Me: “What do you think it means?”

Son: “I think it means you give it your all. Like you always do your best.”

Me: “Yep, I agree. Being all heart means you give it your all. You give all your effort, your attention, your energy when you practice and when you play. And as much as possible, you are there. You give your time too.”

Son: “Isn’t All Heart the easiest award to win?”

Me: “You think so? I’d say that All Heart isn’t that easy to get. Not everyone gives their all in basketball. Do you see everyone there giving their all, every time? Does everyone work hard? Does everyone always listen well to the coaches?”

Son: (after a brief pause) “Yeah, Mom. I guess the All Heart Award isn’t that easy to get.”

Then, it was time to shower off all the sweat and tiredness of that day. The next day, he mentioned the All Heart Award one more time, just remembering it and perhaps relishing it again for a little while.  I remember how his enjoyment in basketball and his determination to become a better player has grown over the last two years. His new basketball dream is to one day be awarded Most Outstanding Player in a tournament.  He may not be a natural in this sport, but I believe that his all-heart attitude will help make his dream come true someday.

Coach E Basketball School’s Hoop Festival

Rookies GameLast Sunday, we were back Xavier School in San Juan City for Coach E Basketball School‘s Hoop Festival for the first module of this school year. The last time my son joined the Hoop Festival was about eight months ago, so he was very excited to be back.

Since 2012, my son has attended six modules with Coach E. For him (and I’m guessing for many other Coach E students too), the highlight of training with Coach E is the Hoop Festival which comes after every eight-session module. At the Hoop Festival, all of the students from the various Coach E locations or campuses come together for graduation. The All Heart Awards (players with the best effort and best attendance during training) and Excellence Awards (players with overall excellence in skills and effort) are given, with nice medals to boot. Finally, the most awaited part of the day comes as the games begin!

In his first Hoop Festival in 2012, my son was 7 years old and he played in the Little Ones Division (youngest division, for kids 7 years old and younger). Watching the Little Ones play in the tournament was so much fun, as they were just having fun too.

In 2013, he moved up to the Rookies Division. Training has stepped up and become more intense. During Hoop Festival, the games in the Rookies Division are naturally more competitive than in the Little Ones. That is what my son looks forward to – the chance to play the game and to compete in a big venue. For him, it’s serious, it’s exhausting and it’s fun. Sometimes his team wins; other times they don’t. Of course, he is happy when he goes home with a medal. But even when he doesn’t, he still enjoys going to the Hoop Festival.  After all, at the end of all that practice and training, what he really wants to do is play basketball.

Sports Goggles for Basketball, Finally

Sports GogglesFinally, my son is using sports goggles when playing basketball.  It took over a year and two broken eyeglass frames for me to make this choice. We’ve been lucky so far that he wasn’t injured during those times when his eyeglasses broke during basketball, but I don’t want to take that risk again.

I delayed this decision because special eyewear is expensive. When I brought my son to an opthalmologist after his glasses broke during basketball for the first time in 2013, I asked for the doctor’s advise on buying sports goggles.  At that time, my son was 8 years old and just starting to learn basketball, and his interest in playing the game was on and off. The doctor suggested that new plastic frames with his existing polycarbonate (shatterproof) lenses would be good enough. In her opinion, we didn’t need to invest in expensive sports goggles for as long as my son wasn’t playing competitive (rough) basketball. A year ago, sports goggles with special-order polycarbonate lenses would have cost us around PhP12,000! (My son needs special-order lenses because of his high astigmatism.)

Thankfully, during our Singapore vacation soon after that, we found a new pair of semi-flexible plastic frames that could hold my son’s old polycarbonate lenses. I just needed to pay for new frames which weren’t expensive (maybe about SGD 50/PhP1,750), and viola, new glasses for my son!

Broken Eyeglass FramesTen months later, my son is still playing basketball (after a few months hiatus). Lately, he is really enjoying basketball and he wants to get better at it. Which is all great.  Until last week, when during training, a basketball hit him in the face and broke his eyeglass frames. Luckily, his lenses stayed true to their claim of being shatterproof and he wasn’t injured.

That was my wake-up call.  Twice we’ve been lucky. Who knows what could happen a third time?

I brought my son to an opthalmologist again, to confirm the grade of his astigmatism and to ask again for advice. This time, with a different doctor, I was advised to buy sports goggles for my son, but not necessarily with the expensive special order polycarbonate lenses. He said that in his many years of eye care, he has never actually seen or heard of plastic lenses shattering during sports play, so plastic lenses would be good enough. Besides, in maybe two years, my son will need a bigger sized pair of sports goggles, which would mean another investment then. Perhaps a bigger investment can be made for eyewear that’s meant to last him for several years.

I figured that while my son needs safer eyewear when playing sports, he still needs safe daily eyewear, perhaps more so because it’s what he will be wearing most of the time. Possibly while horsing around with his friends, throwing a frisbee or biking to the park. For daily wear, he uses eyeglasses with a plastic frame (with metal wire inside) and polycarbonate lenses. And now, whenever he’s playing basketball, we both feel better knowing that he’s using sports goggles to help keep his eyes and face safe from injury.



Lessons from Pick-Up Basketball

Over the last two months, my nine-year-old son has been showing a renewed and greater interest in playing basketball. (Having watched Linsanity ago played a part, I’m pretty sure!) After a three-month break, he’s back in basketball training. When he goes to the neighborhood park to play with his friends, he wears his basketball shoes and brings along his ball so he’s ready to play anytime.

Pick-Up Basketball GameI was recently surprised when, one afternoon, he chose to join a pick-up basketball game with some boys in the park instead of playing tag or just hanging out with his usual playground friends. Although some of his friends also play basketball, they didn’t want to join this pick-up game because most of the boys who were going to play were older, taller and more intense players. Perhaps because my son was as tall as some of those boys and he has built up his confidence, he was okay with joining their pick-up game.

As I watched their game from a few meters away (on my usual park bench, sitting with our dog), I started to see how this pick-up basketball game was a glimpse into the bigger world out there.

  1. You don’t always get to choose who you work with. Sometimes, you just have to learn to manage around or beyond personalities to get the work done.
  2. You have to know how to work around language barriers (some of the boys spoke in Tagalog, which my son barely understands and doesn’t speak).
  3. If people around you play rough and you don’t (like my son), you have to learn to play your own way without getting pushed around.
  4. If people around you use foul language and you don’t (like my son), just let it in one ear then out the other.
  5. Even if you’re the only player on the court who is homeschooled, wears eyeglasses and looks like a foreigner (my son is fair-skinned and his facial features can look more Japanese, Korean or Chinese than Filipino), it doesn’t matter for as long as everyone is focused on the game.
  6. Parents can let their children play and watch them from a safe distance. Just have a water jug, towel, or a hug ready if needed.

A year ago, I would be worried about letting my son play a pick-up game of basketball. I’d be worried about letting him play with boys who were bigger than him, who cursed and played rough. I’d be worried about him being pushed around or bullied. Now, I’m glad I saw him play that pick-up game, hold his own and have fun. (On a bittersweet note, this affirms that my little boy is growing up 😉 )



Complete Basketball Camp with James Tolentino


After a few days break, my son asked to watch Linsanity again today. The fever is back because today, after a three-month break, he is back to basketball training. Today, my son joined the May module of James Tolentino’s Complete Basketball Camp in BF Homes Parañaque City.

I learned about this summer basketball camp through a friend’s Facebook post. The price was affordable; the schedule and the location were convenient. So I decided to let my son give it a try.

It’s only been one session, and it’s been good so far. I can hardly say I know the technicalities of basketball training, but I was happy to see that for two hours, they did a good balance of warm-up (plyometrics), basketball drills and games. A nice touch at the end was when everyone, coaches and students, played basketball tag. I heard my son and some other boys laughing while dribbling and running 🙂

I asked my son how he found his first training day with Complete Basketball Camp. “It was fun. I like it,” he said. Then when we got home, he asked to watch Linsanity again. And later today in the village park, he hopes to play basketball with his friends.

Looks like today is a good basketball day.