On just a bit more than a whim, I picked up my two teen-aged sons after school. We drove 130 miles to a rural Utah high school auditorium where student body officers straddled the backs of rubber bootie-wearing donkeys while also playing a game of basketball. A week before, I had seen a poster advertising ‘Annual Donkey Basketball’ as a school fundraiser and, I thought, “now there’s something not to be missed.”
I had wondered if there was any way I could convince my kids to join me. Surprisingly, they accepted my invitation. I was elated. I feel as I have now entered the era of parenting where I am trying to create both, my legacy, and those family moments my kids will remember when they have long left my home. In a strong memory I have of my own mother, she is sitting poolside on beach towels and blankets, keeping watch over a crockpot full of too sweet baked beans flavored with soggy bacon bits. I remember wanting her to play with us and begging her to join us in the fun in the water, to no avail. I want to be remembered differently. I want my children to remember my smile and my laugh. I want to be remembered for curiosity, adventure, and play. A game of donkey basketball seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
I found myself giggling in my court side seat, amused by the absurdity of this game. Baby-faced teens were trying to steer genetically stubborn donkeys unsuccessfully toward the basketball hoops. Several riders tumbled to the floor on the way. My boys looked unamused, even a little annoyed. Perhaps this field trip was a mistake. Maybe I had driven us two hours from home to a disturbing display of possible animal cruelty. These donkeys didn’t seem to be hating this game, but neither did they seem to be particularly enjoying it, either.
I asked my boys, “Are you ready to leave?” They responded with a quick, “yes.”
On the drive home, we talked about what we had just seen. We discussed some of the ethical concerns we now had, but we failed to settle on any definitive conclusions.
Back home, I closed the house up for the night with thoughts in my head that I had possibly wasted half an afternoon and an entire evening, not to mention, a tank of gas. Maybe donkey basketball won’t be one of those experiences that my boys recall when they are swapping childhood memories with each other, but maybe it will.
The last words I heard before climbing into bed, were spoken by my youngest.
“That was pretty fun.”