BROOKLYN, N.S. - Thirteen-year-old Blake Carson is shy, and a little bit shorter than some of his fellow teammates, but his dedication to sport and to his fellow athletes makes him shine on the court.
With ease, he dribbles the ball between his legs and takes shots at the basket. He has the flow of a seasoned veteran.
When asked what position he plays, a big grin comes across Carson’s face, as he excitedly says, "point guard."
“You get to control the plays. You can shoot, which is what I do,” Carson said. “I shoot threes.”
He mentions his ability, not as a brag, but as a matter of fact. He’s also not afraid to admit that he’s working on other aspects of his technique.
“Sometimes, I’m just wondering if I can make it, and sometimes I don’t, I miss,” he said. “When that happens, I just keep trying and if I can’t get my shot off, I’ll try something else, maybe feed the ball to somebody else.”
The Windsor athlete is hoping to stick with sports when he heads to Avon View High School next year.
Passion for sports
The Grade 8 student is involved with basketball, soccer, volleyball, cross country and track and field.
“In volleyball, I wasn’t very good before, but I just kept practicing and got better and better by the end of the season,” he said. “I just love sports; it’s what I do the most. I just find it fun.”
Carson plays sports every opportunity he can — when the gym opens in the morning before class, he’s there. Recess? Check. Lunch? Yup. At home? Naturally. He’s always at it.
“It’s not all sports. I like to get my homework in; I try not to get on the homework list so the teachers won’t be chasing me down,” he said. “I play games and hang out with my friends too.”
Carson is currently focused on his favourite sport: basketball.
He’s part of the school’s basketball team, the Sabers, and an outside league, the Shooting Stars.
The school’s basketball team’s season was a mixed bag, with two wins and two losses, missing the playoffs, but Carson said the team learned a lot through the process.
But the Shooting Stars, the other league he plays with, made it to provincials, which will be taking place in Kennetcook in early March.
He has practice several times each week, but he loves the sport so much, it doesn’t phase him.
It’s a lot of work, but for Carson, it’s worth it.
Jody Isenor, the physical education teacher at West Hants Middle School, said Carson is an ideal student because he puts others ahead of himself.
“He’s a very interesting student athlete,” Isenor said. “He’s in a class with some students who have some physical needs and sports aren’t in their comfort zone, and he actually wants to have those students on his team so he can make sure they’re included.”
Isenor said Carson has the skills to dominate on the court if he wanted to, but would rather make sure everyone feels included.
She added, “It’s really heartwarming to see that."
She said it’s a sign of maturity, especially considering his age.
“You look at him and he seems so small, but his kindness and his compassion just go well above and beyond what you’d expect of a student at this level,” she said.
“He hits three (pointers) like he could do it in his sleep; he’s a natural. He’s a great shooter, great passer, sees the floor really well, and he’s thinking about his teammates. He’ll only take shots when he’s open and is just a nice combination.”
Isenor said she sees Carson continuing with sport into high school and beyond.
“With his dedication, anything he does or tries, he could succeed at because he’s so passionate,” she said. “I hope he grows a little bit more, but it certainly hasn’t held him back.”
For Isenor, she also sees Carson as someone the other kids can look up to.
“He walked in this morning and all the kids were like ‘Blake, Blake, you’re on our team,’ they all want him on their team,” she said. “He’s a natural leader. I don’t think it’s something he aspired to be, he’s just a leader. He leads by example.”
And that, she says, makes him an ideal athlete.
“That’s so great, because there are some kids that are awesome athletes, but really struggle on the sportsmanship side,” she added. “Their attitude can get in the way, but for Blake, that’s where he excels.”