Au Contraire Mon Ami (December 2, 2015)

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Updated: December 2, 2015

Zaly turns five today. And as has been the case virtually her entire life, I have a basketball game I am broadcasting. As the only of my three girls born during the school year, she’ll likely experience that her entire life.  Along with going to school on her birthday.  But it’s her birthday that brings me to one of the most memorable moments of my broadcasting career.

This year will mark the first time in a decade I won’t be broadcasting the Carlile Classic in Peetz. Usually, I’m there to cover part of the tournament, if not the whole thing.  But due to the scheduling of this season, I won’t be doing it. I did do it in 2010, less than 48 hours after Zaly was born.

She was born on a Thursday.  Because I had help, I took the Friday off to help make sure everyone was settled at home.  And to rest.  Much like her entire life has been, Zaly does things on her own time. She was born in the early hours of the morning because she’s Zaly and she’ll come along when she wants!

I did, however, have to broadcast in Peetz that Saturday.  And that’s where I found the true power of spending so much time in gyms. It was at halftime of the girls championship game between Caliche and Fleming.  Peetz had played in the 3rd place game earlier in the day. They’d won and as was my longstanding tradition with the coaches in that tournament, I wanted to talk with the winning coach or players of the 3rd place game at halftime of the championship game.

So here come the seniors from the Peetz Lady Bulldogs. But they didn’t want to talk on air, although I did make them say something on air because after all I had to fill a halftime show.  No, they were there with a gift bag for my newborn daughter.  A less-than-48-hour-old they’ve not yet met.

I don’t remember the whole story behind it. I’d venture to guess that the coach had something to do with it. But having gotten to know those girls, I would also guess they had a hand in the gift as well.  Regardless, here I am a second-time dad, receiving a gift for my daughter on air during a highly-touted preseason basketball tournament.

The score of the games are insignificant. Honestly, most of the time the final score was disappointing given the hype heading into the tournament. But that’s the point of why this is one of the most memorable moments of my broadcasting career.

I’m a family man. I spend a lot of time away from my family because I am skilled in doing a job that requires me to be on the road. And it’s a challenge being away from my girls. I try not to let it show on air. But clearly my commitment to my family had, and still does.

I go into a basketball game expecting to be entertained by the basketball game, in some way, shape or form.  But the expectation is to be entertained by the game, not by athletes showing gratitude for something not pertaining to the game. And I was pleasantly surprised by this.

It’s this time of year where we have expectations of everything. Expectations of how the holiday celebrations are going to go. Expectations of what we’re going to get. Expectations of how lights are supposed to look, what people are supposed to say, and how much we’re supposed to get discounted given the holiday season.

These expectations hinder us from truly enjoying what is right in front of us.  I had a leadership class in college that asked us about expectation. My response as a then-cynical 19-year-old was, “If I don’t have any expectations then no one can disappoint me.” Everyone thought it was sad that I had been disappointed so much that I no longer expected anything.

Au contraire mon ami. I have no expectation simply because expectations put a ceiling on what can be achieved. With no expectation, I can enjoy limitless joys, from watching basketball players grow, to good basketball games, to unexpected gifts for my then-newborn daughter.