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  • Writer's pictureBeth Hildebrand

“Hey! Be tough! Be tough!”

It’s finally here!

The smell of newly a waxed floor.

The squeak of shoes on the floor.

The thump of a ball bouncing.

The swish of a ball going through the net.

It’s basketball season!!!

Can I say I’m just a little bit excited? I’ve loved cheering for the basketball team ever since I could wiggle my stretched-out fingers reaching over my head.

I’m sitting here on the gym floor watching my 13 year old son at his first basketball practice since he was about 7 years old. He wasn’t very interested in it back then until this year. Maybe because everyone asks him if he plays because he’s so tall. Maybe he’s just grown interest. (Maybe it’s because the Spirit is leading him to because his mom has been praying he’ll play basketball because she loves it so much!)

As I sit here listening, smelling and seeing lots of gangly boys on the court, I remember when I was a very awkward 13 year old girl who thought I needed to impress the world…or at least the people in the gymnasium at my middle school. I made the cheerleading team.

Its was then when I started believing that I had to shout real loud to get attention, that I had to be known to feel accepted, that I had to have people cheer for me to get approval as I cheered for the team.



I don’t think those feelings have changed much even though it’s been almost 30 years later.

Isn’t it funny how you remember some things? I have a friend who’s really good at it and I always go her when I need some childhood and teenage memories to make me laugh. I’m surprised I still remember some of the cheers we chanted many times: “Hey! Be tough! Hey! Be tough! Be tough!” (or maybe I remember them because they’re in my scrapbook :))

But even though I can’t do a split or a Russian jump any more, I’ll still be cheering. I’ll be cheering my son on to go for his dreams. He’s at the age where he’s taller than all his friends, his voice doesn’t sound like it did just a year ago, and he can empty the pantry by eating everything in it in one sitting.

I want him to know that I’ll always be his cheerleader, not only on the basketball court or soccer field.

I’ll cheer him on to do his best at everything he tries. I’ll cheer him on when he’s made a good choice after a hard decision. I’ll cheer him on if a friend’s back turns the other way. I’ll cheer him on as he fails and misses the mark. I’ll cheer him on to know Jesus more every day… and I hope and pray he’ll think I’m a good coach.

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