I’m glad he is learning these lessons – even if sometimes it feels like he is learning them the hard way

You can learn a lot from mistakes.

I know my 10-year old Blake learned a lot last weekend at his basketball game.

George Bernard Shaw said, “Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”

I am pretty sure Blake won’t ever make this mistake again.

His team was fighting an uphill battle against a superior opponent Saturday. There is something about being behind that makes you press a little harder and try to do something to turn things around. Blake’s team had the ball on offense and he caught a pass near the free throw line.

He immediately made a break for the basket – the wrong basket.

Unfortunately, he got away clean and was all by himself on the other end of the court when he realized he had committed an embarrassing back court violation and had to make the walk of shame back to the other end.

His coach called a timeout to reset the machine. When Blake got to the huddle, he was humiliated. He asked his coach to take him out of the game.

I was really happy with his coach’s response.

“That’s up to you, Blake,” he said. One of his teammates patted him on the back and Blake decided to stay in the game.

I asked Blake what made him decide to stay in the game after first asking to be taken out.

“I just decided to deal with it,” he said. That is exactly what I would want him to do.

Blake isn’t the kid who will score 20 points in a game or dominate on defense. But he is a kid who is fun to be around and always gives his best effort.

The rest of the game isn’t the script one of those inspiring sports movies where Blake led his team back to a victory. In fact, he never scored.

But he did play as hard as he could and didn’t let a momentary lapse stop him from helping his team in other ways.

But there was another lesson in that game. On another play, Blake was knocked to the ground trying to get a rebound. The other team got the ball when Blake hit the floor. They took off on a fast break - all but one of them. One of Blake’s first friends from when we got to Kansas stopped when the rest of his team ran to the other end. He reached down and picked Blake up and made sure he wasn’t hurt.

Blake wasn’t hurt. He and Riley sprinted down the court together.

After the game I asked Riley about picking Blake up on that play.

“I saw him on the ground and no one was helping him up, so I did,” he said.

In one short game Blake learned a lot.

He learned how to handle a difficult situation and take it in stride. If he is anything like his dad that will be a test he will have to take often in life. I’m glad he is already showing the ability to pass it.

But he also learned that it is never a bad idea to stop everything and help a friend. That’s a trait we should all learn. It was inspiring to see a fourth grader teaching that lesson.

You see a good friend is there when you fall, but a great friend picks you up.

Blake may never be recruited to play college basketball or win a slam dunk contest, but he is learning a lot from playing the game.

He may or may not play basketball as he gets older. But he will make mistakes and he will have friends. I’m glad he is learning these lessons – even if sometimes it feels like he is learning them the hard way.

These life lessons will help him win in things far more important than a Saturday morning basketball game.

Kent Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: kbush@butlercountytimesgazette.com