He was having déjà vu, although instead of thinking it had happened before, he knew it had.
We were watching the oldest grandson play in a basketball tournament. We cheered for his baskets and defense moves, but the true observations seemed to be on the coach. This was a three-generation affair – a father watching his son coach his grandson, just like he did decades ago.
It seemed as though every game he’d inevitably make his way to the bleachers right behind the bench. It didn’t click as to why these were the chosen seats until the first timeout was called. From this vantage point he could hear his son’s words of encouragement to the team, see the dry erase board and then, ever so slightly, he’d nod his head in approval to the play his son had just called.
This went on throughout the day and even though the grandson’s team didn’t win the championship, the second-place trophy and medals helped dry the tears and before long the third graders were back to their usual silly selves.
Besides his son, another coach on the team was also a player under his watch when they were kids just learning how to play the game. It truly is a magical time when it comes back around full circle, when a parent can watch his son and grandson share the same passion so many great memories were made from.
I’ve always been an advocate for staying in place while your kids are growing up. Sometimes it’s just not feasible, because of careers or military service, but if someone were to ask me for my opinion, I would always opt for a childhood full of memories in the same town, with the same people.
I know I’m biased since I’m still living in the same town I was born in, but even after nearly 60 years I have no regrets. I love going anywhere in town and seeing someone I know, sharing grandkids pictures with my lifelong friends and being able to relive the people and places with my grandkids, I once enjoyed with my kids.
We’ve become groupies of the grandsons’ teams, from basketball to soccer to baseball, we’re typically one of the first ones to arrive, just like his dad, the sons’ grandpa and the grandsons’ great-grandpa did back in the day. We know the kids, reminisce about the parents when they were kids and share the memories with the grandparents.
After the championship game I was sure he’d give his “two cents worth” about what went wrong or what could have been done better. After being a coach for so many years I’m sure it’s hard to hand over the reins to his son.
Instead of offering an opinion he offered his hand and congratulated his son on a job well done. I was watching the life cycle in motion and wish I could have snapped a picture of this magical moment. As the father and son were shaking hands the grandson looked up at both of them in admiration and in that very moment, there was no doubt in my mind, someday he too would become a coach.
Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.