This is another recent event that happened with our kids here. If you missed yesterday, just click here and you can find links to all of our recent stories. If you have been following this blog long, you know that we try to keep you updated in a variety of ways. We try to vision cast, tell stories about the kids, tell personal stories about living in Haiti, talk about different things that GOD is showing us, and in general just share what life is like down here in Haiti and with All Things New. This week we want you to see some of the fun stories about living down here, but we also do not want you to think every day is like this. There are great days, really difficult days, and days in between. It is really easy to get discouraged and equally easy to think that everything is good. You miss some of the simple pleasures like being understood, not being called “blan,” and being able to just fit in but at the same time you understand your calling is to be with these kids in this place at this time and you would not change it for anything. With all that said, these stories represent the simple pleasures that you can find down here in Haiti with our kids, and these are the things that you would not experience any where else. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do writing them.
Story 4: Playing Basketball
Do you remember when you were a child, using the phrase, “My Dad is bigger than your Dad?” Maybe not those exact words, maybe you had a really small Dad, or maybe your Dad was never in the picture, but even if you never said those words you know that thought exists among children. Dad’s are supposed to protect their children, they are supposed to have this aura of “nothing can hurt me” when it comes to his children. I want Sophie to always feel safe and to think, for the first few years of her life, that nobody is bigger than her Dad and nobody can hurt her when her Dad is there. I felt this way growing up, and 90% of the time, my Dad really was bigger than your Dad (if you know my Dad you understand that).
The reality is that I don’t know if this idea or thought exists in Haiti or not. What I do know is that over the past couple of weeks my boys have had a “My blan is bigger than you” moment on 2 very specific occasions both relating to basketball and both times they have been very proud of the results. Now, let me preface this by saying that I really am bigger than almost everyone in this entire country and that is not an exaggeration. Also there are not, at least in our area, a lot of very good basketball players. If you know me, you know that I am a pretty average basketball player in the states, but that translates to being really good here in Haiti. It is the opposite with soccer, I am an average soccer player in the states, and that makes me one of the worst soccer players in all of Gressier. It’s just a difference in the sports we have grown up playing.
So, with that backdrop, the other day after the boys’ soccer practice, one of the coaches started telling me how badly he would beat me in basketball if we played against each other. I kept saying, “ok” and just trying to change the subject, but I could tell that, Herbison specifically, but all of the boys were getting irritated. So they started talking back to the guy and letting him know that there was no way he would beat me. This turned into a thing, and I could tell the boys really wanted me to play him (even though I was wearing flip flops at the time). Finally, Herbison grabbed a ball and put it in my hands and told me to play and I could not say no to that. So all of the boys gathered around and started watching us play. Now, if I am being honest, I was at least a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than the guy I was playing, and he did not really know how to play basketball, so I felt kind of bad. But it was so funny after I made the first 7 shots and I was winning 7-0 Herbison just gave me a head nod basically saying, “thanks” for showing the kid that they were right.
It was a couple of days after that the boys started begging me to go and play at a local basketball court. I did not know why they wanted me to play so badly, but I said I would, and it was on the way up to the court that they told me the real story. Apparently they had been up there a few times the past few weeks and they lost every game. The people there were older, bigger, and had played more and they were getting frustrated. They told me that they knew if I played with them they could finally win one. Well, that pretty much did it for me. For the first time in Haiti, I played as hard as I possibly could for almost 2 hours straight that evening because there was no way my boys were going to lose again. We ended up winning 3 games pretty easily, and I was completely worn out. But on the way home, there was this pride in our kids that was really funny to see. It was like they were vindicated and they were so happy that they had finally won a game. Again, if I am being completely honest I was the tallest, biggest, oldest, and most experience player on the court so it was hardly fair, but our kids did not care about any of that. All they cared about is that I had played with them and they had won.