Since he was a very little boy, Charlie has watched sports -- on TV and in person -- and imitated what he sees.
During the 2002 Winter Olympics, we were watching bobsledding. Charlie ran into the toyroom and began dumping toys out of the storage bins. Before I could yell at him, he was back in front of the TV with an empty bin in hand. He put the bin on the floor, began pushing it and running after it, then tried to jump into the empty bin as if it were a bobsled.
When we had people over to play cornhole, Charlie got right up close and very intently watched as people tossed corn-filled bean bags across the yard, then lined up to work on the techniques he had observed.
But the sport that he watches and emulates most is college basketball. That was clear this afternoon at his basketball game.
He plays in a league at a local Christian church. It's not ultra-competitive, but Charlie likes it because they have uniforms and they play actual games -- two things the training league he played in last year didn't have. We like it because they only have one practice a week and the league fee is ridiculously reasonable.
Because Annie didn't have a cheerleading or volleyball commitment today, both Mike and I were free to go to Charlie's game. He had a great game, scoring 8 of the team's 22 points and making some nice passes (which always pleases me, as I've been drilling "share, Charlie" since he was a toddler).
But almost more fun than watching him score and give the ball up to teammates, was watching Charlie in his "college point guard" mode.
He called the plays and then before making his move, gave a little head fake. Later, as he was bringing the ball up the court, he would look up at the electronic scoreboard as if clock management was at play.
When his team got possession of the ball with about 14 seconds left in the game, they were up by 4 points. Charlie brought the ball across the half court line, gave a quick glance to the game clock and then started dribbling the ball back and forth from the top of the key to the sideline.
Mike and I started laughing when we realized that he was holding out for the last second shot. How old is this kid?! With about 1.5 seconds left, he hoisted a shot up toward the basket. It missed, ended up in the hands of one of his teammates and the buzzer sounded, signaling the end of the game.
I don't know if the other parents thought Charlie's antics were amusing or annoying. But I don't really care. They were quintessential Charlie.
And who knows? Maybe some day, some little boy or girl will be imitating him.