Jason Davis: (Fatherly) love and basketball

Jan. 13, 2014 @ 12:49 AM

Friday night’s trip to SCHS was an interesting experience for me.

I attended my first high school basketball game since I left The Mountain Press sports editor job and became editor.

It was kind of surreal. 

Instead of a camera around my neck and notebook in my hand, I was wrangling my 4-year-old up the stairs to the top row of the bleachers, carrying popcorn and a Dr. Pepper.

Seeing dozens of players I’d covered, not to mention friends I made in the five years I was sports editor, was nice. But talking to them and reminiscing about years past made me question for a moment the choice I’d made.

I love sports, and high school sports are one of the last bastions of athletic purity.

But two things — the blaring hiphop on the speakers and the ability to leave at halftime with my family — made me know I’d made the right decision.

I’m not getting any younger, as my reaction to the halftime and pregame music made me painfully aware. “If it’s too loud, you’re too old,” the old saying goes.

I felt about 100 when I realized I’d almost covered my ears. 

Was it really that long ago that I was 18, cruising through town with an obnoxious stereo attacking my eardrums with Dr. Dre, Tupac, Pearl Jam or some other 90s act that had to be played at high volume to be enjoyed?

Apparently so.

Personally, I think the appreciation for silence and hatred for high-decibel music is directly related to parenthood.

For the first two-plus years of my son’s life, I was deathly afraid of loud sounds. Not because of some undiagnosed aural phobia, but because of the outrageous lengths we had to go to get the little guy asleep. He absolutely hated sleeping. Everything I’d believed about babies’ sleeping habits — especially the myth they slept all day, was patently false.

Rogan would fight naps with everything he had. Therefore every blessed moment his eyes were closed was valued like a gift from God. About two months into our boy’s life, my wife and I had taken on the pallor of the unluckiest cast members of “The Walking Dead.” We went to great lengths to avoid making any noise when Rogan was asleep — he defined the phrase “light sleeper” —  and we learned the true meaning behind the words “silence is golden.”

But I wouldn’t trade the trip into parenthood for anything, and that’s where part two of my realization came into play Friday night.

At halftime of the game between Sevier County and Seymour’s boys, my son let me know he was ready to go home. And, for the first time, I was able to leave a game behind with no concern for how it might end.

I didn’t have to wait on a last-minute-before-deadline call to learn a final score or rush back to the office after the final buzzer to enter results. 

Instead, I left the game with my wife and son and went home, leaving the game firmly in my rearview mirror.

When we got back to the house, we played basketball together.

This time last year he’d have been asleep when I got home. Our time together usually only came in the mornings, as I would get him ready for school — not an opportune time for a father/son hoops session.

I’m still not sure who won the game Friday night. But looking at my son’s face as we played together at home, I felt like the victory was ours.