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Little Man

Today's piece is a little different. In fact, it is actually busy writing itself. I wasn't going to put this down on the proverbial paper today, but something came up and I thought, maybe I should. As you may or may not know, I have never had children of my own. My brother, on the other hand, has had the privilege of bringing two amazing little people into the world. His youngest, my nephew, is now in his early teens and starting to get interested in something which I share a passion for – sports. In particular, it turns out, he loves basketball.

When little man was, well, very little, it was easier. He went through all the usual phases that one might expect – dinosaurs, superheroes, et cetera – now that he's a teenager, I don't get to see that much of him any more. I guess I am not cool enough to compete with all his little friends at this point in his life. It's normal and I totally get it but I do miss our movie dates. And, thus, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that he had discovered something new that we could share.

At the time of writing this, it is in fact 11:30 PM on a Saturday night. I had gone to bed at 8:30 PM already in order to be awake tomorrow morning at – yes, you guessed it! – Stupid o'clock. I have invited little man to join me as I take in an NBA game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors, the latter being the team he follows. This is definitely a first for me. I remember waking up early to watch boxing with my father, as a boy. I have always believed that, in order to build a relationship with a child, you have to reach them where they live and breath.

This is me, doing just that. I am now going back to sleep again. It's going to be an early morning …

Fast forward to lunchtime today, that is to say, Sunday after the Saturday before. We woke up this morning to watch what turned out to be little man's first NBA basketball experience. The game turned out to be a bit one-sided but, all in all, it was quite enjoyable with a little rally by the trailing team at the very end in an attempt to steal the result in the dying moments. Golden State ended up winning by four points and little man, it seems, has been bitten by the bug. Already, we are talking about doing it all again next weekend, his bleary eyed condition notwithstanding.

There are things about the little man that remind me of myself when I was his age. I always said, if I was ever in a position to be a role model to a young boy, I would try to be the kind of role model that I never had. While my father did do a few things with me, growing up, it was usually things that he enjoyed primarily where I was just expected to fit into his schedule. Fortunately, there were a few things that I did enjoy doing with him, but I always thought that it would be cool if he had tried a bit harder, made a bit more of an effort.

I am going to try and do that with my nephew. Obviously, I am not his father and I would not presume to be, but it would be nice if watching sports could become a thing. Perhaps, I will introduce him to all the other sports that I enjoy, and maybe, he can introduce me to a few that I might have missed. I am excited for this opportunity. Time is precious and, before long, he would have turned 18 and left home already. I'm going to try and make the most of the next few years and see. Perhaps he will have a better memory of me that I have of my old man. That, at least, is the plan.

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