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NBA Lockout Unlocks Lessons

If you’re a basketball fan, you have been probably keeping up with the news of the NBA lockout. Weeks have gone by with no games this season and fans are growing restless. With all the hoopla surrounding the LeBron James trade, will he even get a chance to play this year? Will the Lakers win another championship? Will Kemba Walker get an opportunity to showcase his skills?

These are among the questions swirling around my house. My son, an avid basketball fan, keenly tracks updates every day to see if his favorite players will grace the courts this season. I’m awakened each morning with his pleadings to watch SportsCenter to learn of the latest offers from owners that will either be turned down or renegotiated.

My son has been playing basketball for many years on the Norwalk Biddy League but only in the past year or so has he gotten interested in the professional teams. He’s an avid (obsessed?) L.A. Laker fan; he would watch the games, memorize moves and pause the TV to run outside to try them for himself. He is impressed by knowledge of sports commentators and hopes to one day meet them. He has even taken to reading the newspaper’s sports section.

Discussions around the dinner table have moved from, “How was your day?” to, “Is there a deal?” Sadly, the answer has been a “not yet.” He asks me constantly why it is taking so long and why is it so complicated. My answers do not satisfy him, but I will say this: he is learning a lot.

He’s learning about negotiating, fair pay, and yes, sometimes, about greed and selfishness. He’s perplexed as to why players don’t just say, “Yes,” so they can continue to play the game that they (and he) love so much.

I don’t claim to understand the specifics of the NBA lockout, but I try to explain that both sides feel they are right and deserving. I try to tell him that both are going to hold out until each gets what they want, or as close to it as possible. And I explain to him that in life, there are principles that you fight for and believe in and you do not compromise on some things.

Are there principles at stake with the NBA lockout? I doubt it. From my untrained eye, it appears to be driven by money. But to my son, it is a hard lesson in learning that playing basketball is not just about your skills on the court, but skills in the conference room.

Jennifer Covello is an author and owner of Frittabello, LLC, a baby gift business. She lives in Norwalk, Conn. with her two children.

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