One day last weekend I was walking my dog when my neighbor’s son caught my eye. He was shooting hoops in his driveway. I watched as he shot: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Holy cow! That boy sank 7-straight. Pretty good for a second-grader – or anyone for that matter. “There’s my Whiz Kid,” I thought.
I asked Sam about his remarkable basketball skill and he told me, “I practice a lot.” I know that’s true. I see him outside on his driveway from the moment he gets home from school until dark. Often he is accompanied by his father, or his mother, or a friend. But, he doesn’t need company, or competition. He loves practicing on his own, too. And it pays off. Although I was impressed with his streak of seven, Sam tells me that he’s done much better than that. The hoop, by the way, is just short of regulation height and his shots come from all over his driveway – close up and long shots. He rarely misses.
According to Shannon Blomberg, Sam’s teacher at Matthewson School, “Sam is a funny young man who has many friends. He is kind, caring and well liked by his peers.” I can attest to the fact that he is also comfortable speaking with adults – like me. He’s friendly and always ready for a conversation unless, of course, you’re interrupting his basketball practice. Then he politely ends a conversation with, “Excuse me. I have to get back to my basketball now.”
Sam plays with the Milford Parks and Recreation Department’s Youth Basketball League each Sunday between November and mid-March. His father, Jeff Williams, is a coach for the league. Sam also enjoys Little League baseball where he looks forward to playing second base in coach pitch when the season starts this year.
Jeff, and Sam’s mother, Justine, enjoy spending as much time as possible with their son, and the feeling is mutual. They like taking walks to the beach, going on vacation together, and watching sports on television or at a stadium. Sam is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Boston Celtics. “He doesn’t want to go to Patriot games with me,” his father, a Patriots fan, says.
“He’s friendly and is always willing to help. And he’s very unselfish,” Jeff says. “Sam loves being outdoors whenever he can, even if it means helping with the raking and garden work. He also loves to read - he just finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - and he’s good at math,” his father continued.
I’m going to keep my eye on Sam Williams. When he is a star on the basketball court at UConn or another college, I’ll be able to say “I knew him when he was just a kid. An impressive Whiz Kid.”
Jeff Williams is Regional Publisher of Milford Patch