Opinion: How to handle the final game of your child’s basketball career

Feb 28, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Mar 2, 2023, 10:39 am

I continue to learn so much from my teenage sons. Last night was Ethan's final game of his basketba...

Amanda and her family pose for a photo after Ethan's last game. (Amanda Dickson/KSL NewsRadio)

(Amanda Dickson/KSL NewsRadio)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

I continue to learn so much from my teenage sons.

Last night was Ethan’s final game of his basketball career. He has no intention of trying to play at the college level. His team got knocked out of the playoffs by a fantastically talented team.

As the outcome became obvious, I started to worry. Would he feel wounded by the loss? What did it mean for his moment in the sun as the center of his team? I started thinking of what I would say when we got to the car.

“Ethan, thank you so much for the thrill you’ve given Dad and me,” I said to him. “Coming to your games these last two years has been a joy for us. You’ve worked so hard, and we couldn’t be more proud.”

Then he came out of the locker room, wearing shorts and his Timberland boots with a tank top. (This boy has a style all his own.)

“Can we get Cupbop?” he asked.

“Ah, yeah. Sure. Whatever your want,” I replied as he smiled and fist-bumped his teammates.

The coach who changed his life

Ethan taught me so much last night after the final basketball game of his career. He never lost sight of the fact that this is a game and, from the beginning, he only wanted to have fun. 

Playing on this team has been a blessing in his life.

He didn’t start playing basketball until the end of his sophomore year in high school. In fact, he didn’t really move his body in any meaningful way until he met his coach, an extraordinary man named David Squires.

final game son's basketball career

(Photo David Squires)

Coach Squires taught Ethan squash in 10th grade. Yes, squash. Ethan fell in love with it. Then Coach Squires encouraged him to play basketball. Ethan hadn’t enjoyed his experience with basketball as a child, but he wanted to spend more time with Coach Squires.

To say that this coach saved his life might be hyperbole, but he certainly changed the trajectory. Ethan had been an introvert who really only enjoyed playing video games. Basketball got him out of his room, onto the court, into the gym, and living a healthier life.

Thank you, Coach Squires. Thank you to all high school coaches and what they do for our children.

When we got home last night after we ate dinner, Ethan took his brother and met members of his team at the local church … to play basketball.

For him now, as it was at the beginning, it’s all about the joy of playing the game.

Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah’s Morning News and A Woman’s View.

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Opinion: How to handle the final game of your child’s basketball career