A Beautiful Moment

By Lesly Ferris

Maddy, a seventh grader, is one of five players on her co-ed recreational basketball team. She is a slight, wiry girl with shoulder-length brown hair, a quiet manner, and an engaging smile. But the boys and girls on the opposing team know looks can be deceiving. Maddy is not afraid to go after rebounds, block passes, or steal the ball.

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Her best game of the season came during a Thursday night make-up game. Maddy appeared energized on the gym floor, playing great defense. She was fouled early in the game and sank both shots. She apparently got a taste for scoring and scored six more points before game’s end—her first multi-basket game of the season. Her point total made her the top scorer on her team and, equally as impressive, matched the top scorers on the opposing team—two boys who also play on the middle-school basketball team.

After the game I called Maddy to the scorer’s table so she could see her points in the scorebook, to show her the comparison to the other players, and to congratulate her on a game well played.

We high fived, and she turned to leave. Waiting across the gym was her dad, standing with open arms and grinning ear-to-ear. They shared a heart-felt embrace. I wondered who was more proud.

As I stood silently observing, I felt a rush of emotions. There had been problems that season with too few players, not enough coaches, too much snow, and too many make-up games, complicated by my own medical issues. But in those few seconds, none of that mattered. I witnessed a beautiful moment between a father and daughter that validated my work as a recreation director.

Job Well Done
After players and spectators had left the gym, I was cleaning up and found a Kindle on the bleachers. I picked it up and took it home, figuring I would contact its owner the next morning.

When I arrived at my desk the next day, the message light on my office phone was lit. The voice message was from Brooke, Maddy’s dad, asking if anyone had found a Kindle in the gym. I called back and left a message that I had found the device.

Brooke returned my call a short time later. We replayed the details of the game from our own perspectives, most especially the father-daughter hug at the end. Brooke told me he discovered the Kindle was missing after he got home, and said that, if he never got it back, that was OK because he was able to share a special evening with his daughter.

I was grateful he could enjoy both.

Lesly Ferris is the Director of the Kent Park and Recreation Department in Kent, Conn. Reach her at (860) 927-1003, or parkandrec@townofkentct.org.