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It's all about the follow-through

Madison Treat shares her experiences growing up as the daughter of a now NBA Top Shot "influencer".

"It's all about the follow-through, Madison," he says, telling me again to scoot closer to the edge of the rim. I tiptoe forward, looking up at the bright orange rim of the new basketball goal. My eyes gloss over the indentations of the white Goliath brand sticker in the corner. It feels clever, as the rim felt like a goliath, especially looking up at it. I feel too small.

"I can't see it!" I tell him as I try to center my eyes on the white middle square.

I didn't like this drill; how was I supposed to shoot the ball if I was standing right under the net? Something about "practicing form," Dad said.

"Can we just play one on one?" I groaned; drills were never fun to me. I could practice my form way better doing the real thing anyway.

I shoot the ball, missing entirely. I duck down, worrying the ball might fall straight onto my head. Quickly he takes the rebound, and as if he is an opposing player, he dribbles the ball at my feet. Then, he starts to taunt me. "HMMMMM!" he passes the ball to himself between my legs, "OOOOOOOH!" he exclaims, as if schooling his eleven-year-old daughter in basketball is just as exciting as the real thing. Then, in a quick motion like a blur, he dribbles the ball behind me. I can't turn around fast enough by the time he shoots. I catch him in the corner of my eye as he's in the air, looking as if he just grabbed a cookie from the damn cookie jar. It looked good, AND he followed through.

He had me there. Watching him, I could never understand how such a big dude could jump so swiftly and elegantly. But, then, the ball, as if it never fails, goes in through the net so smoothly it rings the sweet sound of a swish that only ignites my Dad's energy.

And, to keep me humble, he isn't even wearing shoes. Instead, he's wearing the infamous Celtic slides. Little do I know they will live to see the next 15 years, unfortunately.

Rolling my eyes, I turn to him as he dances in triumph.

"Oooooooooh!" he says, throwing both hands in the air as if there's a fire on the court. "GETCHU SOME OF THAT!" he smirks his face and laughs, "YOU'LL NEVA HAVE A PERFECT SHOT LIKE TREATICUS IF YOU DON'T GET THE DRILLS IN GIRLY!" He mimics his hand as if he's shooting the ball again, making sure to give his self-made nickname the low UMPH it deserves.

Yes, Treaticus. Treaticus has been in my life for a very, very long time.

From basketball drills at eleven to helping me navigate the real world at twenty-four, my Dad, Treaticus, has always been there.

After years of watching him try to get the notorious nickname to stick beyond his Twitter username, I'm glad to see it catching some attention. It makes me laugh, and I can remember when its only role was being the password to our old family computer. So now, to think that his silly old nickname has become a piece of something he's passionate about is extraordinary to witness. I'm glad about it.

It makes me feel seen and validated somehow, watching the world of Top Shot embrace my Dad. His followers are getting a genuine glimpse of what it's like to know and love Chris Treat:

  • The constant energy.

  • The one-of-a-kind charisma.

  • The genuine intentionality in what he does.

The bearded goof behind the screen his followers see is a raw reflection of my Dad. Although I've watched him go through various seasons, from such intense lows to his most incredible highs, there has always been consistency in this genuine joy for others and life.

It was no surprise to the rest of my family when the Top Shot community warmly embraced my Dad and the content he was investing in. He's never known a stranger, literally. I can't tell you how often my brothers and I groaned when we would hear, "is that Chris Treat?" anytime we were out in public, knowing that what would follow would be an intimate conversation with some old friend that would last so long we would tug at our mom, begging to get her to make him stop so we could go home—one of the many elements of being Chris Treats' kid. Looking at my brothers, you can see the physical characteristics that resemble so much of my Dad. We each inherited great traits from both of our parents, but for me, I've gotten too many "yep, you're Chris's daughter" to not recognize the reality that I might just be a baby Treaticus. Who do you think he sends his videos to before he posts them? Don't worry, though; I'm keeping him humble.

It wasn't until I reached my twenties that I realized the intensity of our similarities, but I think he always knew. My inability to sit still, my constant need for socialization, my fiery passion that he has only ever ignited and pushed to burn brighter. I see our shared weaknesses of people pleasing, the way we too often can't keep our heads out of the clouds, just dreaming of the many potentials of what could be.

I think he knew he was creating a small army between my brothers and me, little warriors of kindness and justice with good humor and great taste in music. He's given me good memories to cherish.

My first iPod was a green iPod shuffle. I remember sitting next to him while he uploaded all his favorite songs for me because they were mine too. It's why I know too many Michael Jackson songs today, why I have a Queen poster in my room, and why I brought the lyrics to Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons to school for a project in the fourth grade. Of course, my elementary school teacher was not too pumped about the blatant F-bombs in my song choice, but still, a funny memory.

Our bath time song as kids was his remix of Everybody by the Backstreet Boys. I can't tell you how long I thought the lyrics were, "wash your body" instead of rock your body.

It's so much more than just his comedic personality. These funny, old memories are almost a second thought versus what comes to my mind when I think of my Dad. I'm deeply fortunate to have never questioned his love or support. It has always been evident in his actions and his words. A plethora of specific memories come to mind.

My fifth-grade presidential candidacy, oh man. It was a real deal for both of us. We both put hearts and souls into this fifth-grade election. Teaching me to stand out and to be confident, I was ten years old, and it felt like he cared just as much as I did. He even convinced me to play the song "Dynamite" by Tao Cruz during my speech. I won. We killed that election.

I think of moments of uncertainty we all find ourselves in growing up when bringing my insecurities to him and then quickly being reminded, "why would you want to be anyone else but yourself?"

When I learned my first few chords on my guitar, he was convinced I could write a song. Or the time after my last performance in marching band, when he told me with tears in his eyes that he couldn't be more proud of me. Or the time I came home after my first breakup and held me tight while I cried.

I think of when I told him I quit basketball without telling him, and he loved me all the same, knowing that I was the last Treat to carry on the basketball tradition.

Basketball has always been a huge element and passion in my Dad's life. It is such a core piece of his history, and I think he often found more solitude than he could in other areas of his home life. My grandfather was an incredible coach during his life and made sure that basketball would be an essential and consistent part of his children's lives. It's obvious the impact the sport made on them. Has my Dad told you about this buzzer-beater shot he made in high school yet? It's almost an introduction to Chris Treat—kind of like how he swears he dunked on Scottie Pippen. I've heard the story so often that I could recite it myself. There's something about the way he tells it, however. At the same time, both joking about how significant it was and being very serious about the joy that moment gave him. Jokingly laughing at how he tells it himself, but always ends it with a sigh of relief, saying, "man, it was awesome." It feels pure, very childlike. As if he wishes there was a way he could go back and be twenty-two again to play another game.

In the same way, the nostalgia the Celtics bring only makes him wish he could watch another game with his Dad. His love for the Celtics was built on a father-son bond, and it's one of the greater loves in his life. But please, someone tell him to throw away the 15-year-old slides.

But I'm probably not telling you anything new. His love for basketball is evident through his excitement for Top Shot.

I've watched my Dad do many things in his life, but most of those things were always for others. It's been a long time since we've seen him do something genuinely just for himself and because he loves to do it.

With a public relations degree, watching him take on this hobby and transition it to something I believe has genuine potential is fascinating. He is becoming a decent content creator. He's doing his research, and he's keeping up to date. So I'm like, "what the hell, Dad?" You became a small influencer overnight, and damn it; I wish I could understand what a dapper is so that when I show it to people, I can explain. I mean, what's the point of having your Dad as an influencer if no one knows what he's talking about?

Dad, if you're reading this, I hope you realize again you need my wisdom and guidance. As I said, I keep him humble. He's the type of Dad to meet your friends and say, "WHADDUP IN THE HIZZOUSE." So trust me, I must keep him humble.

Our family group message is filled with updates from his Top Shot world. We have no idea what he's talking about, but we're all trying to figure it out. It's kinda cool, but when I tell people about it, their first response is, "why do that when I can find a clip of the highlight on youtube myself?"

So Dear TopShot world,

Please explain your very cool world so I can learn how to explain it myself.

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1 Comment

Michael Whalley
Michael Whalley
Jun 18, 2023

Amazing piece. Happy Father's day Treaticus!

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