This past Saturday, a few fathers collected their sons and nephews and came to the south suburbs to participate in Connected Through Hoops. The idea was to provide a safe space for fathers (elders) to spend time with their sons (youth) while playing basketball. The event was designed to try and strengthen the connection between men and their boys through significant physical activities. And I believe we did just that.
With this being the inaugural Connected Through Hoops event, my mind was filled with solutions to problems that hadn’t occurred. I was anxious because I wanted the event to go well and I wanted this time that these families of men and young men would spend to help strengthen their relationships. When I reflect on the interactions I had with my son on Saturday, I can only hope that the others fathers felt the same closeness. Usually it’s hard to get my son away from his electronic devices. Shockingly, he didn’t pick up his phone or ask for it for the entire time we were there. As I think back, I don’t recall seeing any of the young gentlemen staring off into their phones. I was happy to see that everyone was engaged.
I also saw my son be more outgoing when I am used to seeing him withdraw in large groups. I can’t help but think that my presence played a role in his confidence. I hope the young men there felt something meaningful directly related to the person that brought them there. I can only speak for me but I imagine that similar memories were created for the other families represented.
I am grateful for Joseph Williams, one of the Co-Founder’s of the Henry Williams Love Foundation for being there to represent the foundation and for assisting with managing the event. The refreshments provided by the Foundation kept everyone hydrated and energized. I have already begun planning the next Connected Through Hoops event because I want to continue to provide opportunities for the relationships between fathers and sons to flourish. Please follow henrywilliamslove.org for more information and upcoming details for other Connected Through Hoops events.