Having a daughter at the age of 19 wasn’t in Nate Lockett’s life plan. My dad’s plan was to go to college, get a degree and then become a professional basketball player. Growing up with my dad wasn’t my idea of a normal childhood. The idea of a normal childhood for me was having a financially stable mom and dad, maybe even another sibling, having a big house and having home-cooked meals every night. But my childhood was nothing like that. My childhood consisted of having a young mom and dad, living in a house with my grandparents and eating fast food for dinner. But that’s the way life is for me, a lot of unexpected situations I have to go through and learn from.
Growing up with my dad made me gain independence and patience at a younger age than most. This was because I had to figure out how to do a lot of things on my own, from learning how to do the dishes to being patient with my dad when he was teaching me how to read because he had never taught anyone before. But, I understand learning all these things at a younger age helped me become the person I am today.
My dad attended Creighton University in Nebraska his freshman year of college, but when he found out he was having a kid, he transferred to St. Cloud State University. I would visit my dad in his campus apartment in St. Cloud with my grandma Sudie Lockett. I would be in the back seat of the car eating fruit snacks, waiting to jump into my dad’s arms, while my grandma was driving over the speed limit listening to ‘80s R&B. When we got there, I usually stayed with my dad over the weekend. The weekend would consist of him doing his homework and me eating the fast food we bought. The two-hour road trips to visit my dad were sometimes hard and tiring because of the long distance. But all of it helped me build a stronger relationship with my dad, because I alway knew I could count on him for anything, under any circumstances.
The main thing that helped us build a stronger bond is basketball. My dad never had to teach anyone anything before, especially a sport. He played basketball for almost his entire life and his love of the game was passed down to me. I’ll never forget the first time we went to the Minnetonka YMCA when I was in second grade. My dad would position the ball in my hands and with all of my strength I would shoot the ball into the 10-foot hoop. We did that over and over for at least an hour.
Basketball was definitely a big learning curve for both of us, but it has helped us get to where we are today. Today, my dad is an entrepreneur. He is a data analyst for large companies all across the country. He teaches and helps people every day, just like he taught me how to play basketball. Today, I am a basketball state champion. I am a starting varsity point guard for DeLaSalle High School and have multiple Division I basketball scholarships.
One thing my dad used to tell me every day is, “If you need to know how to do something, learn it yourself and become great at it.” I will forever remember that, and our relationship will continue to get stronger. To this day, my dad and I are still growing up together.