After every game he’s played, on every team he has been a part of, Chris Kopf and his dad Jim have been side-by-side coaching each other through the game.
Chris and his dad spend hours after every game talking about what happened on the court that night.
“After the game we decipher what he did right and wrong,” Jim said. “Talking with Chris the way we do is a wonderful thing.”
During most of the games, Jim sits and cheers his son on.
“I think watching me play is one of his favorite things to do,” Chris said.
Jim knows what basketball means to Chris, and what it means to him. And their common joy in the game helps bring the together.
“When I was young it was the challenge,” Jim said. “It was the competition that I liked,” “Now that I’m older it’s not the winning or the losing. I guess you just play it because you love it.”
For fans like Jim, it’s been easy to see that the past season has been tough for the Knights basketball team, however players like Chris have been trying to keep the team together. Jim has watched his son become a leader for the Knights year after year.
“Chris has always been sort of a leader for the team,” Jim said. “And that’s all I could hope for him to be.”
While watching his son, it’s hard for him not to remember what the game meant to him when he played and what it means to his family.
“When I was young it was the challenge,” Jim said. “It was the competition that I liked. Now that I’m older it’s not the winning or the losing. I guess you just play it because you love it.”
During most games Chris’s mom Maryellen and his sister Lauren join Chris’s father. They watch Chris play the sport he loves to play.
Chris was introduces to the game at a young age, and his father gave him many opportunities to be around the game.
“I’ve been around basketball for a long time,” Chris said. “When I was little, my dad played at a gym with some older guys. I’d watch him and hang out in the gym forever. I was a gym rat.”
Jim hasn’t played organized basketball in two years, so Chris had to find a new outlet for his basketball drive when he’s not on the court. Now he watches and helps his sister Lauren learn the game.
“We practice together,” Lauren said. “He always helps me and makes sure I’m doing it right and gets me ready for high school.”
From sixth to eighth grade, Chris’s dad also coached him during the season. Now, besides coaching Chris from the sidelines, his dad coaches his team during the summer and also coaches Lauren on her Junior Knights team.
“The really neat thing about the family being into basketball is the fact that when kids are at this age they think they can’t relate to their families but they can because of basketball,” Maryellen said. “Basketball brings us together.”