I Took A Whooping From An Eleven Year Old, And It Won’t Be My Last…

With the game tied up and two points away from being decided, I look at my opponent in front of me and know in myself that it’s game time.

He drives around me, crossing over before scooping the ball through the hoop while going off the opposite foot.

Okay, one more point and my game is over. This is fine though, I’ve been here before.

I pass him the ball for the final, game deciding possession, and he dribbles and crosses over to attempt a similar move- only this time he sneaks around to the other side for a reverse lay-up, gently spinning the ball off the backboard and through the hoop.

Before shock even has time to fully sink in, the loudest squeal of joy can be heard from him as he runs off the backyard court and into the house faster than I can even make words come out of my mouth.

My eleven-year-old little brother Austin just beat me one on one for the first time.

I stand there a moment, wondering how I got myself into this position before walking up to the house to find my brothers animation is somehow filled with more excitement and emotion then when the Warriors won the NBA championship less than a month prior.

As someone that means the world to me, seeing the joy on his face somehow lessens the competitive blow my ego just took, and I sit there and accept his energetic elation without making excuses in front of my bewildered family.

This kid has shown day in and day out uncanny similarities between us, and the gratitude I have for him is immeasurable. While we aren’t identical, looking at him and seeing qualities evident from our brotherhood is something I cherish and hold close to me. I know that through him, I can walk along life beside him and find solace in the fact that I can support him through struggles and challenges I faced at the same ages.

For better or for worse, my brother emulates me and this is something that I will never take lightly. I love the relationship and how complacency is no where to be found, because of how highly improvement is viewed by both of us. Life and growing up brings many mistakes accompanied by lessons, and to be frank, the plentiful mistakes I’ve made have thankfully afforded me with countless lessons- and the age gap between Austin and myself means that I have the luxury of helping him through similar times.

The awareness of this fills me with happiness and relaxes me, while also adding another dimension of fulfilment to my life that helps validate my worth. My internal compassion develops by helping him, because making a habit of putting someone else first is a humbling element of selflessness that can grow into other areas of my life. For as much as I’m helping him, I truly believe he’s helping me.Β 

I’ve talked a lot about gratitude in previous posts, and how this magnifies when talking about living, breathing, people in your life is immense and should never be taken for granted. Having appreciation for those around you is one of the most important vehicles of your own wellbeing. Assuming someone will be there regardless of what happens is an easy trap to fall into, and in doing so it robs you of truly appreciating them and what they’re worth. Taking time to fully value and appreciate the people around you will ensure that you’re always spreading the compassion you need to the people you need most. While obviously this element of gratitude is consistent with all members of my family, this post is for Austin and this feat he managed on his birthday.

Pretty soon he won’t be proud of beating his big brother in a game of one on one, so maybe I should be the one cherishing the moment!

Congratulations, Austin. I love you buddy.

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