The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

At the Knicks Game with Fosterboy

A couple of weeks ago, I took Fosterboy to the Knicks - Cavaliers game. I personally have no use for the dreadful Knicks or, for that matter, the NBA in general, but Fosterboy very much wanted to go. For the past couple of years he has been living in a residence among kids for whom basketball is huge. He kept asking me if I could get tickets and when I finally was able to get a couple, he was excited for two whole weeks.

Not only did I get tickets, but, through the generousity of a very good man, I got courtside seats, five rows from the court (these seats cost $330 each!). After a hamburger and hot dog at KD, we got to the Garden early. Fosterboy flipped when he saw where we were sitting.

The Knicks were about 100 games below .500 and had been out of the playoff race since the third week of the season, so the main attraction of this game was, of course, Lebron (he has, apparently, reached Michael-like status and the use of his last name is not necessary). We were directly in front of the Cavaliers' basket and, during pre-game warm ups, Fosterboy was desperately trying to get Lebron attention, to no avail. This bothered FB no end. The rest of the night, FB kept asking me why Lebron couldn't just waive at him and the other kids who were calling his name. Good question.

Thankfully, FB's faith in the goodness of man was rewarded at haltime. Ahmad Rashad was sitting on the court right in front of us. I made the mistake of telling FB that Rashad had been a famous NFL wide receiver and is now a TV guy. FB was intent on talking to him no matter what. I was trying to explain to FB that sometimes famous people like to be left alone and that perhaps it would be better not to bother him.

Ignoring that advice, FB walked down to Rashad at halftime and started chatting him up. For all his issues, FB is one of the most charming 11-year olds you will ever meet and, thankfully, Rashad was receptive and extremely gracious and engaging.

I suffered through a brutal game that the Knicks were actually leading by 20 points at one stage. It also seemed to me that Lebron was sleepwalking through this one until, with about five minutes left in the game, he suddenly turned on the jets and showed his incredible basketball gadlus (he's still only around 20; it's hard to believe). The Knicks managed to hang on and win by one point which made Fosterboy very happy.

Living, as we do, in an environment where too many kids have very high expectations and little appreciation of their great good fortune, hanging out with Fosterboy is a refreshing change. He has been dealt a very bad hand in life and has virtually nothing other than a few relationships with people who love him and try to occasionally do nice things for him. But he so appreciates every little thing that does come his way.

Postscript: I have, in the past, expressed criticism of the approach taken by the institution that is responsible for FB now (not OHEL). I still have my issues but I have to admit that he seems to be doing pretty well (helped tremendously by a few unsung heroes who live in his community and watch after him with love and mesiras nefesh). I certainly hope it continues.


  • At 4:58 PM, Blogger and so it shall be... said…

    Interesting and worthwhile post. If this is your new direction (haha), then keep on going.

  • At 6:39 PM, Blogger DovBear said…

    Lessee, sports, Fosterboy, veiled critisism, yup, looks like a new direction to me.


  • At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have been a "lurker" for a while now, but I a moved to comment (not just as an admirer, but also as a Cleveland alum :))

    I am so moved by the many mitzvahs you and your wife and your whole family do for the foster children in whose lives you are involved. They are so blessed to have you in their lives, and you are blessed to know them. It is heartening to know that people are making a difference. Your committment to them inspires me to stregthan my committments to our congregants, even when the going gets tough (or rude and obnoxious!).

    Thank you for your posts, and keep on bloggin! I like the new look, btw.

    And, LeBron Rocks. :-)

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