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Monday, April 29, 2013

Good Enough for Me

Why do we have to grow up? A friend asked me tonight if I wanted to be a kid all my life. I laughed and said yes, I did. He said wouldn't it be boring then, but I thought it would so much easier not to have responsibility. He thought it was me just being lazy, when in reality, I think I just wanted to go back and be a kid again because life was a lot less worrisome then.

Today we spent the afternoon shooting hoops. It had been years since I'd even touched a basketball and as the guys took turns aiming for the shot from different spots in the driveway, I watched and waited til the ball came my direction. Each time I felt the basketball bounce beneath my fingertips, each time I lined up my goal, jumped, and felt the ball lift and fly through the air, sometimes hitting the board hard and dropping straight in, other times jamming the side and falling away, my heart started pounding fast. It began remembering the days past, the game, the guys, the memories.

I wasn't a pro basketball player or anything. I never even learned the rules, hardly watched it on TV, and couldn't bounce the ball from one spot to another behind my back. What I knew could be classified as street basketball, the basic how-tos from several guys who either taught me well or eased up a lot when they let me in the game. They were good guys though, because they made me feel good about myself, like I was an amazing player, just because I was there in the game. I learned how to intercept and how to score, and that was good enough for me.

A couple of girls joined the game. They were good, real good, and I quietly dropped to the sidelines, only taking the ball when it came my way, feeling a bit embarrassed when I couldn't make a basket, shuffling my feet and remaining in one spot instead of running down the center and making a flying leap to the hoop. But then I made a basket and in my head I could almost hear them cheering, see them grinning, and feel them patting my back. And I knew that I was good enough for them, and that was good enough for me.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Late Night Reminiscings

I was out on the court the other day. I can't even remember why I walked over to the sorry looking half-court with three basketballs hanging around on the side, waiting for someone to come along and put them to work. Something inside just drew me, perhaps a whisper of yesteryears and reminiscings, and this time I listened and I went.

I picked up a ball and began bouncing it down the side. It moved almost magically, lightly touching the balls of my fingers, awkwardly making contact with the palm of my hand, as muscles worked hard to bring back the memory of what to do next. I made a quick turn and the ball followed, then in a flash I rolled it into my hand, drew my arm back, and my feet left the ground as simultaneously the ball left my fingers, gliding off the tips and flying through the air until it made contact with the rim, swished around a couple of loops, and then slipped smoothly through the net. I'd made a basket.