Never Ever Give Up

If you follow basketball, you don’t have to be a NC State fan to know about the Cardiac Pack of 1983. Coached by the ebullient Jimmy V, those college kids wore glass slippers to the big dance that night–and it was the other team’s ride that turned into a pumpkin. Every year, during March Madness, the moment where Jimmy V realized his kids had won and he had no one to hug is included in every montage on every station covering the tournament. We all remember that moment for Jimmy V…and we all remember his fight with cancer and his immortal words, “Don’t give up. Never ever give up.”

Enter a 15 year old middle schooler with the education of a second grader–who is becoming more of a true adolescent boy every single day. It’s also the last 2 or so weeks of school and he’s pretty much toast. And has once again given up on school. He finally said he was not happy with being pulled out of social studies for yet ANOTHER period of ESL–especially when he was given no say in the matter. He’s tired of school. And he’s an adolescent boy.

And so, we had another weekend at the grandparents’ house with another “forgotten” project. Only this time, the project was forgotten on purpose. And so, we had another come to Jesus meeting with Ryan (and moved his desk back out of his office to a more distraction free zone). Somewhere in all of that, we looked at him and said “We love you and the rest of your family loves you. Bunches. And we are not going to give up on you. You may try to give up on school. You may try to take the easy way out. We know it’s hard. We know you got dealt a crappy hand (OK–that was said more concretely) and didn’t start school when you should have. We know it’s really hard right now. But we are going to keep working to help you and help make it as easy as we can. And we are not giving up.”

And we’re not.

We found out this week that Ryan has been accepted at the Hill Center for both the summer program (remediation) and for the academic year. And we are excited about the possibility that he can get some of the support he so desperately needs. We’re trying to work out the logistics of getting him from point A to point B, but we’re going to make it work.

Somehow.

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March Madness

Just about everything I know about football–and certainly everything I know about basketball–I learned from my mom. (Let me pause to give credit to Al for expanding my football knowledge)

Although she loved watching football–to the point that chores were done by noon on Saturday in the fall–and many lesson plans were written during football games on Saturdays, she REALLY loved basketball. And she got into those games. I mean yelling at the TV like she was a man. Meanwhile, Dad was in the basement working on his model railroad.

True story.

And all that was during the regular season.

Then came March. And the ACC Tournament. And Selection Sunday. Mom would take the empty bracket printed in the Fayetteville paper from Sunday morning and fill it in as the teams were announced. Never mind the fact that the bracket would be printed all nice and pretty like in the paper the next morning. And there was no stopping her–or interrupting her during selection time. And then the NCAA Tournament started. And when Carolina was playing, she was coaching from the couch or her bedroom. She was, however, not one for the prognostication. She just filled in the brackets as the games went along.

And so it is, each March that I print out my bracket. I do wait until Selection Sunday is over…and I fill it in prognosticator-style. And then the Tournament starts and I am glued to the TV–coaching from my own couch. And I think of her and all the basketball we watched–whether we were cheering for the same team or not–and I miss her.

But it doesn’t stop me from watching basketball like my Momma used to do. And filling in my bracket along the way.

Even if it is horribly busted this year.