From April 2006 – Steve has been playing basketball with a church league the past several Sundays. They basically assigned people to teams to try to even the skill level out, so Steve plays with people that he doesn’t really know. One of the guys on his team is a bit younger — either in high school or just out of high school — and his dad shows up to every single game. Now, remember that this is a church league… 4 on 4 full-court games, and let’s just say that the skill levels really vary. But this dad acts as if each and every game is the NCAA Championship. Every shot that his son makes… for that matter, every shot that Steve’s team makes… every pass, every lay-up, evokes a loud cheer, hurrah, and series of claps from this guy. He is really spirited.
Let me set up the scene a little bit more. We’re in the church’s multi-purpose room. Number-One-Fan-Dad is usually sitting in a chair on the “fan side” of the court, which is essentially the church’s stage (a few steps up, carpeted, with netting to protect the piano and drum set). I’m usually sitting on the floor of the stage or on the steps of the stage. There’s maybe one or two other people watching. On the other side of the court is a small table where the scorekeepers sit with their laptops and clipboards. My point is that it’s not exactly the most spirited atmosphere, and that during the slow times, it could just be me and Number-One-Fan-Dad watching. (Sometimes it’s a little more lively when people come to wait for their games.)
The gym is relatively quiet, apart from shoes squeaking and the basketball pounding and usual team-work calls. So these seem much louder than they might actually be: “All right!!” “Oh!! Great pass!!!” “YEAHHHHHH!!!!!!!” “WHAT a SHOT!!!!!!!” Even though I should expect it by now, each exclamation makes me start a little, and I look over at him to see both hands in the air in jubilation.
The funniest instance of this was when Steve’s team was playing the other team, which only had three people. So, it was 4 against 3. Naturally, Steve’s team “looked like the Harlem globetrotters” out there (his words) since they were able to make easy passes with the uneven defense and even get some fancy lay-ups now and then. But each pass, each shot, each lay-up, was accompanied with whoops and cheers from Number-One-Fan-Dad. I must admit that I kept thinking, “Of course that was a great pass!! The other team is outnumbered!!!” I could see this thought on the faces of the 3-player team, as well, as they looked over in amazement at each supportive exclamation.