Shooting to Raise a Star.

Skylar Diggings, arguably the face of women’s basketball in the united states today is beautiful by not only smooth features and “too-die-for” modelesque bone structure but in her humble demeanor and infectious spirit. I know because I met her this past weekend. She is an inspiration to many young woman who one day hope to slip into the other invisible gaps in sports her presence has created and those yet to be discovered. Skylar Diggings is also a great daughter, I know this small bit of information to because I met the man who helped raise her this weekend. We spoke at Skylar Diggings Shoot 4 the Star’s basketball camp. The camp tour hit a bunch of different cities around the country (Chicago, LA, New York, Indiana). I was lucky enough to secure a spot for the athlete — the diva got shoes — as a Christmas present.

Standing on the sideline I watched the kids hunch down in defensive stances ready for instruction from the WNBA superstar.

“Hey guy’s good morning……I said HEY GUYS GOOD MORNING” After the second roaring response Skylar began to introduce the team of folks that would be helping out during the all day basketball camp. My own little girl stood attentively hanging on her every word. One of the people she pointed out , whom just looked like an older basketball volunteer or area coach, answered to the label “Dad”. Maurice (“Moe”) was gracious enough to speak with me when I came up to him and asked “How did you raise Skylar Diggings?”

I really just wanted to know how he raised a beautiful, well-adjusted, humble and successful young woman with attributes that transcended celebrity? I want to follow in his footsteps.  I told him I am a single dad and he nodded which was unspoken man talk for “I understand your situation. His references to “we” told me he and his wife contributed to Skylar’s upbringing but I still wanted to hear his perspective on raising his daughter into the woman she is today. Regardless of our situations being different I was still grateful for what he shared with me.

Moe told me he wasn’t Skylar’s biological father, but he married her mother when she was a small child. He is, far as she is concerned, dad. He told me, “Boys need respect. Girls need love“. Lots of it. He mentioned he would carry his step daughter around with him when he played basketball or had to ref a game.  They would go to camps like the one we were standing in while his wife would take care of the other children. It provided the opportunity to bond with her in his own time and on his own terms. He told me in their household they replaced “I love you” with “I believe in you”. The latter holds a certain resistance to cliché that “I love you” doesn’t stand up to. And when I thought about what he said it made sense to me. When your friends tell you “I love you” its the equivalent an emotional eye blink. “Do you believe in me?” is a question that scrapes past generalities and asks, “Are you accountable to me and me to you?”. You mature into a different exchange of emotion, one that responsible parents know all too well.

When Skylar was young the Global Head of Nike Basketball told Maurice that his stepdaughter would change the game of basketball. Moe told me the statement puzzled him because Skylar wasn’t necessarily the top player on the floor. He told him that even though she was practicing and sweating with the other little girls on the basketball court she was still herself; a young lady. Moe told me they immediately went out for manis and pedis right after. I knew that feeling; of bring comfortable in her own skin only come from unconditional love.

Maurice told me that they capped Skylar’s dating age at 16. Just to put a number to it. At 16 once she brought a boy to meet him they could date. It didn’t mean she was free to do whatever she wanted because he told me he was still in the movie theatre making sure they didn’t act up.  He also had specific rules about curfew and coming home at a certain time. A minute late WAS STILL LATE. He told me he would randomly have PHONE CHECK. He could go through her cell phone at any time, which was completely justified since he paid her bill [after I hearing about PHONE CHECK I wanted to hug him but I refrained]. He mentioned consciously making sure he took her to LA, New York, and out to nice places as so no boy could come along and “impress” her. It was an insightful thing for him to look that far into the future to anticipate what his daughter would need as a woman and plant the seeds during her childhood.  He said Skylar knowing he was always around holding a bag of unconditional love it what helped her become well adjusted. I thanked him for the wisdom and coaching.

I don’t believe good parenting is a roll of the dice. All the stars — a good salary, obedient child, good living conditions, education — don’t have to align in order for you to be the best parent you can be or have a good experience. It is often the case that the heavens do not give you a perfect situation. But for any great feat you will accomplish in life you must make a conscientious effort to envision what you want and work towards that goal. Raising children doesn’t have to be any different. Think about who you want your little one to be, what type of person and build a structure to support that. Make it deliberate. Shoot for the stars.

– A Single Dad

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