Guest Author Post by Board of Directors Member, James Tate, Jr.
My father introduced my brother and I to the game of basketball but it wasn’t until I was in 8th grade that I started to fall in love with the sport. Some might consider me a late bloomer. I was a student at Theodore Herzl Elementary School in the North Lawndale area and I remember dunking tennis balls and then volleyballs on the regulation rims. It’s possible some of my father’s athleticism trickled down to me. I have heard that he was a pretty good ball player. It turns out that athleticism was enough to earn a spot on Lane Tech High School’s basketball team, which eventually opened up an opportunity for me to play basketball on a collegiate level. This chronology changed the entire path of my life.
My father would drive the two and a half hours to Madison Wisconsin to watch me play and then drive back to Chicago after the game. I’d like to think that he was proud of me. I’d like to think that he lived his hoop dreams through me. I realize that he was probably proud of me for more significant reasons like graduating high school and getting a college education because those experiences were not guaranteed for most of my peers but I’d like to think that our love for this sport connected us.
While my experiences at Edgewood College gave me institutional education in academics and athletics, it is my personal experiences as a father to my own son (pictured below) that inspired me to create the Connected Through Hoops event. I wanted to give fathers and sons another opportunity to connect with each other and together build skills that can help them in their own lives. There are so many levels of connectivity and I believe the more levels we can connect on (as a community), then the stronger our bonds become; the stronger our communities can become. I am fortunate to sit on the Board of Directors for Henry Williams Love Foundation, who through my service and some board training, I am able to plan these types of events. Help me strengthen the community of fathers and sons on December 8th at the Richton Park Community Center between 5 and 7pm. Register to attend at http://bit.ly/connectedthroughhoops.