Hoops and Resolutions
I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. I haven’t been for quite a few years now. I guess it’s because I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m “on” to myself – I pretty much know what I will or won’t do. I may say that I’m going to do something and then give it my best for a few weeks, but within a month or so, I’m back to my old habits. After years of doing this, I realized I wasn’t fooling anyone – including myself. Kinda reminds me of the way I play basketball.
My son, Will, has recently taken to the sport, and he often asks me to shoot hoops with him in our driveway. I grew up playing sports -- football, softball and track. I can throw a mean spiral (if I do say so myself) and a not-too- shabby under-handed pitch (though, after being wacked in the shins with the ball twice in one game by a friend at bat who was three times my size, I have taken to looking for cover after I pitch). I even held records in the mile and two mile at my high school a decade (or two) after I graduated. But basketball is where I fall terribly short (no pun intended – I’m 5’1”).
That being said, I’m giving it my best shot because I really want to support my son’s interests and because we could both use the exercise. I’m making an attempt to dribble without walking and to block without fouling. I’m trying to throw the ball through the hoop rather than over the backboard and into the woods. How am I doing you might ask? Not so good, really. Much like my attempt at New Year’s resolutions, I’m a bit of a joke!
I’m making far more noise than baskets, and I can’t seem to block without choking my opponent with my extended arm or grabbing him by his clothing. Don’t get me wrong -- it’s not that I’m a bad sport. I usually do play fair. It’s just that, like New Year’s resolutions, I know in my heart that I’m not committed. I’m hopeless at basketball, and I know it. So, why lie to myself? Why not have a little fun instead?
For example, I like to distract my opponent by breaking into a silly football cheer I learned during my one and only stint as a cheerleader. (I was in the 4th grade, and I was voted Captain by the parent leader because I was loud. I was demoted because I kept calling defensive cheers when our little league team was playing offense. To my credit [or discredit], I only signed up because I liked the little green skirt and shouting.)
Sometimes when my son and I are playing one-on-one on our gravel court, I’ll start singing a really bad country-pop song. He can’t stand this music! Then, while he’s covering his ears, I’ll break away to make a shot. Of course, ninety-five percent of the time I miss.
When I start to get tired (which tends to happen fairly early in the game), and Will goes in for a lay-up, I tickle him. Obviously, this never goes over well, but it does entertain me which, in turn, helps to hold my interest in the game therefore prolonging the competition. Unlike me, Will likes to play for as long as possible. So, if you think about it, my nonsense is actually working in his favor.
On Christmas Day, it was the girls against the boys – my sister and me against Will and my husband Dwayne. My son had been waiting all week for this game! Turns out – it was just what I needed, too. My sister, Chris, has always been pretty fearless when it comes to sports, so playing with her tends to kick things up a notch. She’ll slide on the gravel driveway into the Boxwood bushes to try to reach the ball before it goes out of bounds, and she’s not shy about going for shots that are not even remotely close to the basket. I have to say -- I really enjoyed passing the ball to her just to watch her go! We didn’t win the game, but we didn’t give it away either. And for that, I feel pretty proud.
I’m not optimistic that basketball will ever really be “my” sport, but I’m going to stick with it anyway because it’s important to my son. And, as ironic as it sounds, it has occurred to me that playing basketball might actually help me to fulfill important resolutions from years past – like spending more time with family and friends and getting into shape. Who knows -- maybe I will even become a decent player while I’m at it. (That’s my son you hear laughing loudly in the background!)