February has been filled with lots and lots of fun things. Max and Alex are both playing basketball and really enjoying it. For Max, basketball has been somewhat of a metaphor for his unexpected journey the past two + years. When he was diagnosed in January of 2009, his passion was all around skateboarding and biking. He loved riding his scooter and idolized Tony Hawk. Shortly after he became sick, however, that passion shifted to basketball. He filled out a March Madness bracket and watched many of the games from a hospital room, either on the outpatient or inpatient side that year. We had a little Nerf hoop and bouncy balls in his hospital room during our long 6 week consecutive stay and he would take on anyone that came to visit - including our Pastor (whom he schooled...by the way ;)) and any therapist or chaplain that came our way!
It was also during his long stay that his passion for the NBA was born. We tried to bring a little gift for Max each time that Matt or I came back to the hospital after taking turns going home and Matt began bringing Max packs of basketball cards. They would sit together and read about the players, analyzing their playing history (college, NBA teams, etc) and their stats. Matt would fill Max in on historical players and their career highlights, etc. Max also started watching NBA games on tv and learning the players that way too.
Once we were home and stuck here in isolation for almost a year, we setup a little basketball court in our basement. You early followers may remember some of the slam dunking videos that I posted on the blog of Max and Alex in our basement. We have a "full court" comprised of two Little Tikes hoops (thanks Aunt Laurie) and painters tape court lines in the basement. It was at least a daily occurence during this time that the boys would have me judge them in a slam dunk competition. Whenever we had adult visitors over, they would line us up on the couch with paper and markers and have us all judge their slam dunk contests. It was always a hoot to watch! They would take on the persona of one of their favorite NBA players and be announced to the crowd with a flashlight spotlight, etc. Basketball in the basement was a HUGE way that we passed the time over those months stuck here at home.
I tell you all this only so that you will appreciate it when I brag a bit here about Max and Alex and their basketball prowess today. They are both stars of their teams! Max has scored 10 points in both of his last two games, the high scorer both games for his team. Alex's team is pre-school and kindergarten kids so, they do not keep score but, it is a common occurrence for another parent to say to Matt or I, "wow, your son is REALLY good!" He often has to be held back on the court so that the other kids can run down to the other end before he dribbles the ball down and scores again!
Watching Max on the basketball court and with his team is something else for Matt and I. We usually make it through the games with huge smiles on our faces and super loud cheers (Ellee is always telling me that I am hurting her ears at the games). But, later, in our quiet moments, our pride wells up and we both end up with tears in our eyes. It is amazing to see him out on that court with his buddies, acting like an NBA player and scoring points like crazy! I cannot express to you how wonderful it feels. It brings joy to Matt and I like nothing else could. To know what that little guy (and I do mean little...he's at least a head shorter than every other player out there) has been through and overcome...and to see him just relishing life like that is beyond words. It's miraculous! He has no fear and much confidence and he puts his all into the sport he loves...basketball. Who knows where it might take him in the future! Maybe somebody elses dog will be named Max in the future because of what he accomplishes in the NBA one day (in other words...there is a reason our dog is named Spud...after Spud Webb, the shortest player to ever play in the NBA).
Besides basketball, February has been very busy with Max's Meals & More. We have served two meals this month for the Superbowl and Valentine's Day and spent an evening with four wonderful women baking at the Ronald McDonald House. In addition, we officially kicked off our Clubs & Clowns event - a golf outing and carnival-style party to celebrate life and raise funds to nourish families at Children's Hospital on May 7th, 2010 at Lunken Playfield. We have a team of folks hard at work on planning that event and getting things ready. We are hopeful that it will be a very fun day and will raise some good funds for Max's Meals to utilize in fulfilling our mission.
To receive more information on this event and all our activities with Max's Meals, visit our website (http://www.maxsmeals.org/) and follow the subscribe link at the top of the Home page to receive regular updates. You can also find us on Facebook under Max's Meals & More.