Every family should have a hostage hoop

May 26, 2016

Last Christmas, my husband and I decided to bite the bullet and purchase an in-ground basketball hoop for our three children as well as their neighborhood friends.

Unbeknownst to them, I like to call it my hostage hoop.

I call it that because it is easy for me to see that the years of them all being safe and sound hanging out in our driveway are slipping by at a painful pace. They don’t realize nor do they care that I consider this space, this hoop, their one true play zone where I am still able to watch over and protect them.

I am holding their childhoods hostage as long as I can.

The thump, thump, thump of their dribbling and the swish, clank, clank, CLANK, swish of their shots provide the music – a symphony of sorts – for our family’s summer playlist.

Yes, there are occasional (always) fights…fouls not being called, points not being tallied up correctly, an errant elbow thrown here or there…but mainly it’s an activity, from a shrinking pool of activities they share in common despite their ages, that they gladly do together. And that makes me both happy and sad.

I wonder what it will be like when my husband and I look out at that same driveway and only see the hoop staring back at us? When the sounds of dribbling, laughter, arguments, and celebrations are silenced?

For now, I don’t want to look that far ahead. Rather, I will look back and cherish all of the beautiful memories and blessings that have been bestowed upon us over the years.

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. – George Bernard Shaw


hoop dreams

The hostage hoop.

basketball hoop installation.jpg

Both boys helped in the installation process, not necessarily willingly.

Hoop dreams 2

There is little struggle greater in life than a boy trying to shoot a layup against his much taller brother.

Hoop dreams 3.jpg

Taking full advantage of as many daylight hours as possible.

Owen and Jaycee

Little sister defending the crossover.

Owen and Ryan 2.jpg

Back when they didn’t mind showing public affection to one another.

mom and Owen

Back when I realized I was no longer looking down at him when we spoke.

Owen and Ryan

Officially taller than dad. 8th grade year.

Owen bball Halloween 2015

Keep on dreaming big, kid.

Owen Austin baseball

Yes, I know I jumped from basketball to baseball. But how did these little guys grow up so fast? I remember when they only needed their shoes to be tied and a bag of Big League Chew to guarantee a good day at the ballpark.

Owen Austin Heidi

Now here we are…zipping through childhood at warp speed.

Austin baseball catcher

The time he was so excited to try on catcher’s gear.

Jaycee softball catcher

The time she was so excited to try on catcher’s gear.


The reason why little sister’s future boyfriends better watch out.

Owen Austin Jaycee

Times were a little crazier when they were small, but ironically, looking back, they also seemed slower.

all kids 2

It’s hard these days to keep up…and that’s not for a lack of trying.

Owen Austin Ryan

How lucky they are to have a great dad guiding them on their life’s path. How lucky their dad is to have them as his sons.

Owen Austin Ryan 3

The three Atlanta Braves fans.

Written by Heidi Woodard

5 responses to Every family should have a hostage hoop


    Yup. A little teary-eyed here. I only had one. The yard was her domain. Driveway. Backyard. Movement. If I wasn’t using it with her, I was looking out the window at her. I will never be able to do that again — to look out and see her hostage to the great yard of activity we built for her. I will though, always be able to remember it.


      Memories are one of life’s greatest gifts. My ability to remember isn’t all that great though…hence the blog. At least now I have some of what’s rolling around up in my brain preserved through writing. I know you can relate.


    Soccer balls, kick balls, racquet balls, tennis balls, nerf baseballs, years later my mom told me the relentless clunk… clunk… clunk of me kicking, hitting, and throwing sports balls against the side of our house when I was young used to drive her nuts, but she let me do it because that sound let her know I was safe and having fun (and completely ruining the siding on half the house…but when I was an adult I offered to pay to replace the damage I’d done…it was totally worth the money for all the fun I’d had as a kid!) Great post and great photos. Thanks for sharing them. 🙂


    Loved this write up, Heidi. Just finished a shoot around on own hoop with Zach, and I agree with every word you wrote. I don’t want to think about the time when it will just be hoop staring back at us. This was a good reminder to enjoy the time between now and then.