The death of Kobe Bryant touched so many of us sports parents and children. My daughters, Paige and Grace, both played basketball, and road trips, or just regular trips to practice, were part of the game.
Both my girls immediately called their dad when they heard of Kobe’s death and the death of his daughter, Gianna. Although they, like many other kids, did not travel to games in helicopters, they still traveled with us. They looked forward to their workouts and games and talked about them on the way enthusiastically. My husband liked to spend that time in the car talking strategy. I liked to spend it talking about anything but.
We never thought we would not make it to a game or practice.
After the news of Kobe’s death, I thought about my friend and TV colleague Mindy Basara, who was away at a cheerleading competition with her daughter over the weekend. Sure, she was exhausted and tired, but she was there for her kid.
It’s what we do, and Kobe was doing the same. Being a dad, proud of his daughter, and extending a ride to fellow friends and a teammates.
Kobe Bryant was a star, an international figure who touched many lives on the court and off. But at his core, he was a dad proud of his girls. A father there to support Gianna, to tell her that she could be and could do whatever she wanted one day. He was there to support her and to guide her and to be by her side.
His death hurts so much, because he was doing everyday parent stuff that we can all relate to. Imagine, he had to call the other parents that day to tell them when they were leaving. He had to regularly talk to parents about bringing snacks and drinks, which uniforms the team would wear, and when they were at tournaments, who would be in charge of washing those uniforms. He helped people figure out whom to car pool with.
This is stuff that all of us sports parents do, so now we can imagine ourselves as his grieving family.
I guess the take away is that no matter what your status is in life, whether you are a former NBA player or a rec league parent reading this story, a parent’s love is incredible.
We do what we do for our kids. We hug them, coach them, guide them. We love them and we make sure that every one of their team road trips starts out positive and ends positive, no matter the game scores.
Like all of us, Kobe was having a moment with his kids and helping teach them how the concept of team translates to life. It’s sad that his own life ended while he was doing this.