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Tory's Basketball Notebook

Barb chose this story from her rich archives to share with us! She wrote this in early 1998 when her son Tory was in the middle of his last year of high school. Learn how mom and son created a delight-driven project that they each came to appreciate and enjoy.

Tory and I are working together to complete his "Basketball Notebook" which has now grown to include several sections. The most useful one for me ~ in fact, he did it for me ~ is the "Basketball for Dummies" section where the whole game is explained! There's even a Glossary of terms. The key to this is that he has to make the definitions understandable to me! ;-D This has been cumbersome for him, with him at times saying "Oh Mom, I don't need to put that in! Everyone knows that!" to which I answer: "Not your mom! And you're doing this so that I - even I ~ can understand it! We didn't call this section "Basketball for Dummies" for nothing, you know!"

He's also making a section on the Basketball Museum that Dave visited and took pictures of when we were in Springfield, Massachusetts (where I spoke at a homeschool convention). Yes, Dave took the pictures, but Tory formatted captions for each on the computer ~ excellent experience.

Now, I should probably tell you that this has not been a totally delight-directed activity for Tory, even though he loves basketball. Nay, nay ~ it was like pulling teeth to get him "on board" with me! I'd ask what font he wanted for this or that, or did he prefer this lay-out over that one? And he'd say (respectfully but sincerely) "Mom, I don't really care; this is your project." So I explained to him (respectfully but sincerely): "Son, Sweetheart; this needs to become your project, even if it is not exactly (or at all) what you would choose to do. I, as your mom and "educational counselor" at this point in your life, feel you need to have some basic experience with the computer and with word processing; you will need them in life. So, here's the way it is: I can either give you a dry, boring, non-applicable-to-your-life-or-interests assignment that will bore the rats out of you, or you can get on board with this, and even end up with something you can use if you ever coach, and something to show your kids."

I mentioned the above to the wife of Tory's basketball coach who told me her husband made a basketball scrapbook when he was young and she and her son (who loves basketball like his daddy) have thoroughly enjoyed going through it! What a blessing to get this kind of input!

So, to continue my little speech to Tory: "So, even if you aren't doing it for yourSELF, there are others who will enjoy and/or benefit from it, and YOU, in the process of making it, are learning some things you will need for life."

Now a neat, unexpected thing that happened in the process of doing this notebook with him is that I started getting excited about the game! But I should back up and tell the whole story... Last year we went to all of Tory's home games, but with me dragging my feet, I'm sorry (and ashamed) to say. I was bummed that my son's main love was basketball when it didn't seem like this was anything he could really do anything "valuably productive" with. To top it off, they won a grand total of ONE game the whole year, (out of 13) and that one wasn't even one of their regular league games. So it was just not much fun to go to game after game, see the guys defeated, and have to see Tory so bummed out afterwards! (And there was nothing I could say to comfort him.)

We had talks about whether or not Tory had what it takes to go on in basketball, specifically to college basketball. Dave didn't think he did, which he discussed very kindly and tenderly with Tory. And, while Tory agreed, he didn't want to give up trying until he'd given it his all. So he went away to a week-long Point Guard College (held at a college campus), and practiced as much as he could. This year it paid off, and he came out shining. (Remember we are back in early 1998 here.)

But I was still dragging my feet at the beginning, balking (sorta quietly) at having to rearrange dinners around his practices, and still not wanting to travel to any "away" games. Well, the Lord convicted me and showed me that I needed to just "get on board" with him! This would mean cheerfully arranging dinner times around his practices and not balking at them. And it meant going to his "away" games cheerfully. (The only two we aren't going to are three hours away.) Guess what, I can hardly WAIT for the next game!!!! Even "away" ones!!

I was sharing all this with a friend, including the earlier part about Tory not wanting to do the notebook, and she said, "Do you realize you just showed him how to do it!" I said, "I did what? What do you mean?" She said "You showed him how to get "delight-directed" about a thing and apply oneself to something you yourself really weren't interested in! You didn't just tell him, and expect him to "just do it"; you showed him by your own example!"

Then the lights went on! I guess I did! I had not been wild about basketball! ~ which had to be affecting him! I think the term "wet blanket" might have fit. But once I made up my mind to do it (okay, only after being convicted by the Holy Spirit to do so), I gained ~ or the Lord put into my heart ~ a real delight for the game. And my new-birthed delight has been a delight for Tory as well! And it has opened all sorts of new conversational avenues! )

Once again it boils down to our own walk with God, doesn't it?!?! We teach by example, not (so much) by precept. I'm even finding myself "surfing the net" hunting down basketball web sites, and then showing him. I found one called "10 Rules for Basketball Parents." Ouch! Some of those rules hurt!! And this is going in his notebook too!

So anyway, if Tory is still not excited about the notebook, he is at least not expressing that to me. Rather he seems to be having a good time with it. Getting to the final stages of putting it all together now is probably helping too, I must add.


Here are all the sections of his notebook:

Basketball for Dummies
Glossary - of terms used in basketball; Mom's level
Game Timing Information - at High School level (different for college)
Foul Information
Ways to Score
Court Layout - diagram
How to Play the Game
The History of Basketball

Photos - several pages of Tory and the team in action; Team photo

News clippings - the write-ups that appear in the paper

Articles - that he has enjoyed about basketball, or even sports in general; the article that was done on him for a small local sports magazine; some great stuff we've found on the internet, like "Coaching Philosophies"

Inspirational Quotes, Anecdotes, Sayings - He loves to find these in Reader's Digest. The "Great American Bathroom Book" also has tons! Not just basketballish, but anything that would be inspirational for all of life, and sports as well

Scripture Studies - Word Alive: "Train"; "Discipline"; "Run"; "Endure"; do several Scripture Studies

History of Basketball - Basketball Museum in Springfield, MA

Copyright by Barbara Edtl Shelton. This article is used by permission.

The Shelton's operate a home-based ministry to homeschoolers from their home in Longview, WA, primarily through the books that Barb has written. All of Barb's speaking and writing is on topics of vital interest to burning-out as well as brand new and wanna-be homeschoolers. Barb's resources reflect her "lite" approach to homeschooling that is based on the verse in Matt. 28:11 in which Jesus says, "My yoke is easy, my burden light." With vulnerability, humor, God's Word, Barb's heart is to inspire parents to pursue God's unique plan for the education of their children, and she offers much practical help in doing so. You'll be challenged, irritated, and moved to laugh, cry, think and re-think your views about education... and best of all, get set free (or freer) in Jesus! They may be contacted via their website:

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