Purpose, Passion and Pride: Words from an AAU Basketball Parent

Sacred Hoops East-River 16-U player Sam Palmer will be a junior for Dell Rapids St. Mary’s this fall. At right, the Palmer family is embracing their AAU experience with Sacred Hoops Basketball.

By Lee Palmer

On March 5th, 2019 my son Sam Palmer’s first year of varsity basketball came to an end in a very difficult loss for him and his team to the eventual State Champions, Clark/Willow Lake. My son was crushed and hurt, but he knew he could move on; he wanted to start “Summer Ball right away.”

Why? It wasn’t for more games; it wasn’t because he didn’t end the school year basketball on a high note (he and his classmates won the 10th Grade Division of the Willie Mac); it wasn’t because he had nothing else to do. He wanted to start right away because he wanted to be back with his coaches and friends who are really like family.

He loves playing with his classmates at school; they have been together since third grade playing, and he loves playing with them and wearing his school colors and team name on his jersey; however, his growth is in Summer Ball. When I look back at his growth as a player and a person, it comes from Summer Basketball, and specifically, the coaches and teammates he has with Sacred Hoops.

Sam played last year with a team of kids from the class of 2021 from all over the state. He had played Summer Ball before, but a majority of those kids were kids on his team at school or close by in surrounding towns he already knew. Last year was an opportunity to play with kids he had never met (save 1 from his school team, and one from a rival school) 8 brand new friends, 8 brand new confidants, 8 new brother. He grew. He learned to play with different kids; he learned to play a different style; he heard from different coaches; he was pushed and pushed hard. Did he break? Sure he did. He was barely 15. Did he grow? Absolutely!

Is my son going to the NBA? No! I

s he going to play professional overseas? Doubt it.

Is he going to have DI offers? More than likely not.

Then it leads to the question people always ask me…why spend the time and money on this?

Here is why…

… go back to the statement where I said he grew and continues to grow. What is the price tag for learning life lessons? What is the price tag to learn the three P’s of life: Purpose, Passion and Pride? What is the price tag on learning how to deal with adversity? What is the price tag in learning self confidence? What is the price tag to learn to work as a team for one goal? What is the price tag for life long bonds? Most importantly, in today’s day and age with electronics, social media, everything right here right now, busy schedules, what is the price tag for this time with my son?

According to those questions, I am getting a bargain…

Not only does he get everything I mentioned, he gets it through a sport he loves and that is worth every penny of AAU Basketball. AAU shouldn’t be how many tournaments you go to, how many wins you have, where your tournaments are, or even the coaches at the next level who see you. Summer AAU should be the growth of the player in those life lessons and taking those lessons back to his or her team at school to make the TEAM better because the player is now better!