This is the story of a passive relationship between me and my father. When I was a child, I was mostly exposed to educational toys and TV shows. There were no kids my age within our neighborhood for me to play with. I was basically a sheltered kid and it was difficult for me because I did not come from a well-off family.
My Father Did Not Teach Me How to Play Basketball
First Chapter: I hate my father
My mother is a very caring woman who is always present whenever I needed her. My father, on the other hand, is oftentimes missing in action during family days and school events. He is even the last to arrive when it is my birthday. We did not have a chance to play together, have a father-son bonding, have “the talk”, or any of the usual stuff a father and son do.
But among those things, what I really hate about him is the small things I have to learn myself that I should be learning from him: I have to cut my chin a lot of times before learning how to shave, I have to be with my mother when I was circumcised, and I have to learn how to play basketball alone because no one teaches me.
At one point, it made me think if it is better to have a father like him or to not have one at all.
Second Chapter: Basketball is not just a game
Being in a public school as a kid means your friends play basketball every after class. Since I was bad at it I always make up excuses to not be able to join them until they got tired of inviting me. I did not want to join because I really suck, even at just dribbling. Whenever I practice, I do not know what to do or where to start.
It was sad because I felt like I was missing out on a huge part of my life. I grew up having only a handful of guy friends. They were either asthmatic enough not to play or gay enough to not care about the game. All of these started because my father did not teach me how to play basketball.
Third Chapter: How ungrateful of a son I was
Growing up, I realized that maybe I have to put myself in his shoes to understand why he is always absent. Remember when I said that it was hard for me to be a sheltered kid in a not well-off family? Well, it was harder for him and my mother. He had to work a full-time job and got into other sidelines to meet my needs as a child. I have a lot of toys like other kids, I eat more than three times a day, and I have new clothes every once in a while. All because my father has been working his ass off every day.
With only a few pennies in his pocket, a glued sole of his shoe, and going home every other week, he managed to give my needs and wants. It is not his fault for constantly being at work. He did not have a choice. He had to be away to provide for us or be present and starve his family to death. I should be grateful for all the tough decisions he had to make for me. I know now that his being away when I was growing up is a lot more difficult for him than mine.
Maybe he did not teach me how to play basketball, but he sure did teach me what a good father is.
Angelo has always been interested in photography and writing. He has been participating in various photography-related events since high school. Street photography is his most favorite type as he believes that this is where life is the most candid - where inequality, denigration, love, and hope coexist everyday. One day, he aspires to be an environmental photojournalist that does his part for a better world.