Yannick Noah won the French Open and rose to third best in the world of tennis. Today, however, he was Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah's Dad. The elder Noah took time for an interview during today's Chicago Bulls win over the Miami Heat. I found myself drawn to the video. Here was a father, a legendary athlete in his own right, cheering unabashedly for his son. You can hear in Yannick Noah's voice how much he adores Joakim.
I love the joy in Yannick Noah's voice. I love the way he jumps to his feet to cheer, interview be dammed. I love his very public display of affection for his son. I love the willingness of ABC's Lisa Salters to keep quiet and let the moment speak for itself.
Like any parent and son the relationship between Yannick and Joakim Noah has evolved . Yannick lived in France for much of Joakim's childhood. Joakim grew up in New York and never picked up tennis, sensing early on that the pressure to emulate his famous father would be too great. Instead Joakim picked up a basketball, sprouted to nearly 7'0 tall and became an NBA All-Star.
Joakim Noah said this about his father after the game:
I know that he’s happy. I can’t wait to see him and just celebrate this win with him. You know, I don’t get to see him a lot. My father’s always been there for me, my whole life, and to be able to share these moments with him — I know that he’s a nervous wreck during games. I always tell him to drink a brewski and just chill.
I can relate to the "nervous wreck" description. My son, a high school sophomore, plays two demanding sports (football and wrestling) surrounded at times by demanding parents. I coached him when he was younger but in high school it's time for parents to step back and "let the coaches coach." The timing is perfect because high school kids are staking claim to their independence; ready to embrace you at arms length.
But he knows I'm there to love and support him. If an interviewer ever stuck a microphone in my face during a game or match, I would be as distracted as Yannick Noah.
What's your experience been around parents and kids sports? Thank you for reading. I would enjoy hearing from you in the comments section and would love it if you like us on Facebook.
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