Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The amazing number boy

My older son, the one I affectionately call Big Bubba, loves numbers. Well, maybe he would disagree with that statement, but he is drawn to them and what he can do with them.
His favorite kind of numbers are statistics. Specifically, basketball stats.
When he was 9 he got interested in NBA. Not so much watching the games, although he did like that too, but he loved the numbers produced by the games. He would sit for hours and compute average points, assists and rebounds per game. He would create fantasy teams and have them "play" each other. Of course all this information was hand written in neat organized sections on lined paper. He had stacks and stacks of these papers. For Christmas we got him a book that had all the stats for every NBA player for an entire season. He used that book so much it fell apart. I had to 3 hole punch it and put it in a binder.

Today, at 17, 6'3" (and growing), he is a walking basketball encyclopedia. He could be one of those sports commentators and fit right in. Each morning I see him checking the stats online. It's like his morning coffee. Gotta have it first thing or the day just doesn't get off to a good start!
Recently, we had the privilege of attending an NBA game. I wanted to sit next to my bubba because he knows what's going on and can give me the background on all the players. Plus, I got to watch him in a state of pure joy. He was watching a live game and seeing the action that produces those numbers he loves so dearly. I think I watched him as much as I watched the game. He is quite entertaining.

The Big Bubba is in his element when he is immersed in basketball stats. It's his passion, his joy and possibly his future.
When he was younger and would spend hours working on stats, time was nothing. He had no idea so much time had passed. He was lost in his work. Adult friends would marvel at his interest and the free time he committed to it. To us it was "normal". That's what he loves to do, so he does it, a lot.
In his book The Element, Ken Robinson talks about being in this state of flow, or being "in the zone", He says:
"You begin to do something you love and the world slips away. Hours pass, and it feels like minutes. During this time you have been "in the zone." Those who have embraced the Element find themselves in this place regularly. This is not to suggest that they find every experience of doing the thing they love blissful, but they regularly have optimal experiences while doing these things, and they know they will again."
Oh, how I want that for my son!

His "team" is the Nicks - note the team colors on his braces :)


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