T-shirts, jerseys, jackets—yes, two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) and three-time National Basketball Association champion Stephen Curry appears on these, as well as on socks, shorts, button pins, caps, towels…
Oh, and he’s also on a Grade 2 Homework notebook, do-it-yourself (DIY) worksheets on skip counting and homemade Number Flash Cards featuring National Basketball Association (NBA) players from the 1980s to the present.
Just ask Emmanuel Juan Lumactao: Enjo to his family, teachers, classmates, school bus drivers and other friends at Community of Learners Foundation (COLF) School for Children—including Batibot founder and school principal Feny de los Angeles Bautista—and Enjo’s speech and occupational therapists at Creative Therapies and at Shapes Psychological Services.
Among the throng of kids who trooped to the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena last September 7 to see one half of the Splash Brothers, Enjo was particularly excited, ready for any opportunity to talk with his NBA favorite, and armed with a stash of statistics.
Diagnosed with Communication Disorder when he was a preschooler, Enjo, now in Grade 2 Special Education, is still an emerging reader but possesses an uncanny knack for numbers and dates, especially anything NBA- and Curry-related, including the year Steph left Davidson (2009), when he was drafted (2009), and the name and contemporaries of his dad (Dell, versus Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, etc.).
During his transition from the Barangay Day Care Center to COLF’s kindergarten class, his parents’ anxiety was rising as the family did their back-to-school shopping. They only heaved a sigh of relief when they spotted Enjo gravitating excitedly toward the bookstore’s new line of NBA-themed notebooks. The one with the Steph Curry cover naturally got assigned as the all-important, can’t-leave-home-without-it homework notebook.
In his early days of numbers literacy, Enjo refused to work with the stack of store-bought number flash cards. Papa Edelbert, a creative director and fellow NBA fanatic, came up with a DIY set featuring numbers, not as numerals on a plain background, but as sported by the players on their jerseys.
So, at MOA Arena last Friday, Enjo’s backpack came ready with the homework notebook (with a fresh, blank gum label for a possible autograph), along with samples of his DIY math worksheets featuring Steph, Kevin, Klay and the rest of the warriors talking about skip counting, and even a homemade short story, designed to help strengthen Enjo’s comprehension skills.
Enjo’s teacher Ms. Mical Rubio also encouraged him to create a trip chart presenting different aspects of his Steph Curry experience. Enjo’s recollection of the cities he passed en route to the Mall of Asia in Pasay City, and the various restaurants he ate in, plus the Philippine Basketball Association and NBA players he saw, help him practice social studies perspectives and math graphing skills.
In a world where NBA statistics and analytics are becoming increasingly technology-driven—and yes, under Steve Kerr’s mentorship, increasingly ruled by Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors quartet—it’s heartening to know how a healthy fascination with hoops can be transformed, with some old-fashioned imagination and filial love, into a powerful, if rather analogish and hand-crafted, tool for literacy.
So, keep those lightning-quick passes and hotly contested three-pointers coming, Steph Curry. One step back for Steph could be one step forward in a young learner’s journey.