Cheer squad: Basketball moms use sports to score life lessons for their boys

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When Frank Jackson punched a wall and broke his hand, his mother, Juleen Jackson, saw it as a learning opportunity.

When Frank Jackson punched a wall and broke his hand, his mother, Juleen Jackson, saw it as a learning opportunity.

Juleen Jackson doesn’t get too emotional at Frank’s basketball games (junior stand-out, page 83). In fact, she’s not even particularly interested in sports.

“Basketball is a means to an end,” she says. “It’s a way to learn discipline, teamwork and how to reign in your emotions when things don’t go your way. It’s a way to learn lessons about real-life and develop into a better father and husband.”

Case in point — 18 months ago, Frank got frustrated during a game and punched a wall, breaking his hand.

Frank’s dad, Al, used the disappointing experience as a chance to teach his son about controlling base instincts.

“Al had him read a scripture and discuss ways we can reign in the ‘natural man,’” she says. “Basketball allows for chances to teach great lessons for future life.”

Holly Zentner (mother of Corbin, page 84) also cheers for the lessons basketball teaches her son.

Holly Zentner has learned that her son’s dedication to school and sports means other activities take a hit. (Can you say “scouts”?)

Holly Zentner has learned that her son’s dedication to school and sports means other activities take a hit. (Can you say “scouts”?)

“Corbin is a goal setter,” she says. “He works to improve himself in a lot of ways — including basketball — and sports have taught him how to set goals and work toward them.”

Both mothers have other children with a busy slate of activities and interests, which complicates the family schedule and driving routes.

“Luckily, we own our own business, so we can work around our other children’s schedules,” Holly says. “That’s a big blessing.”

Another home-court advantage? Frank and Corbin both have dads who pass them advice and motivation. Al Jackson and Troy Zentner played basketball and have been personally involved in their sons’ development.

But the moms are the unsung laundry heroes and logistical MVPs.

While Juleen takes a laid-back approach to her son’s basketball games, she is glad he’s found something he loves.

“I’m not really that into sports, but I do love what my kids are interested in,” she says.

Holly is more vocal at games — but with cheers not jeers.

“I don’t do a lot of yelling, but I try to do a lot of cheering,” she says. “He’s little — and he plays with older boys — so I get nervous. However, I can only cheer when I’m not wrangling the younger kids and keeping them from wandering onto the court.”

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Greg Bennett

Greg Bennett is an editor and writer with Bennett Communications. His primary responsibilities are with Utah Valley Magazine and the company's custom publications division. He's the father of four children and has been married to his wife, Adria, for 19 years. Contact Greg at greg.utahvalley360@gmail.com.

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