The ungifted

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I took the above image last night. The kid on the right is a ninth grader. The kid on the left is my son Emmett.

He’s a seventh grader. He’s wearing a Doug Williams Oklahoma Outlaws jersey. He’s of average height for his age, but the rec league he plays in runs from grades six through nine.

I digress.

Emmett is an average athlete. Like, textbook average. He’s a slightly above-average distance runner, a slightly below-average baseball player. He’s of moderate speed and strength. He digs sports, but isn’t passionate about sports. He’ll never be a jock, but—I hope—he’ll be the guy who can comfortably jump into a game of pickup, and go out for a four-mile jog and not feel particularly winded.

I sat and watched his practice yesterday evening, and it was as expected. Dribbled into corners. Missed open cutters.

But there was this one thing.

This one brilliant thing.

When shots went up, he immediately found the big kid and boxed him out. He planted his feet, firmed his knees, leaned his torso into the giants. This happened again and again and again, and afterward my kid—red-faced from exhaustion—raved of the experience. “I like that challenge,” he said. “Me against the giant.”

What more could I ask for?

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