Nothing Special, Really

Monday, July 30, 2007

Never Leave On A Miss

(clank)

That wasn't the sound I was hoping to hear, but at least it was a sound.

The first shot didn't even hit the rim.

It's 8pm on a Wednesday night. I'm not home, but I'm at the next closest thing.

A basketball court.

(clank)

5 shots in, and I still haven't made a jumper. My jump shot. The sole survivor of a talent that I never realized. They say when you start getting older, your hearing is the first to go. I'm pretty sure your jump shot is the last.

Speaking of hearing...

(swish)

Ah, that familiar sound. I could fall asleep to the sounds of sneakers squeaking, the echo of the ball bouncing in an empty gym, and that swish. When rubber meets nylon, coming together to create a gentle symphony. Everytime I hear that sound, I can't help but go back to a simpler, easier time.

(clank)

No, that's not it! I step back, behind the 3-point line. Not the college one either. The NBA line. The manly line.

(swish)

I'm back in 6th grade. I'm still learning how to play. I shoot like I'm throwing a baseball, overhanded throws to the hoop. I'm always the last one picked. I have to shoot better. I start shooting two handed. It's still pretty bad, but it's better.

(swish)

7th grade. I'm on the bench of the C Team. I'm only here because, for 8th grade & below, there's no cuts. So they keep making teams until everyone is on one. I score 2 points the whole season.

(swish)

It's summer, between 7th & 8th Grade. I'm at Coach Hughes summer basketball camp, run by the school district. You're supposed to pay to attend, but coach has taken a liking to me, so I get to stay. I take the drills seriously. I'm able to dribble behind the back. My shot is so much better. Left hand perpendicular, ball resting on fingertips. I could marry my shot, it's so beautiful right now.

(swish)

8th grade, lunch time. I've got a nickname now, "Handyman". After the Damon Wayans character on In Living Color, because of where my left hand rests when I'm dribbling up the court. It's meant to make fun of me, but I don't care. I can still rain threes from anywhere, and now, I can pass, too. I'm on the low block, 2 on 1, when someone lobs it to me. I'm not even looking at the basket, yet I know I have a teammate underneath it. As soon as I feel the ball hit my fingertips, I flick it away, towards the basket. No one saw that coming. Not from "Handyman".

(swish)

Still 8th grade. I'm on the B team now, still holding down the bench. Our opponents have two teams, so our coach breaks us up into two groups. Finally, some playing time. I end up taking over the game. 22 points, 4-5 from 3-point range. 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and couple of steals. I was a man possessed. From that point on, I started every game for the B team.

(swish)

9th grade. Freshman tryouts. Final cuts. It doesn't matter that the only reason I made it this far is because I took so long to get my physical. Coach likes me. He knows that I'm a shooter and a hustler, despite being the fat kid. He's calling out plays, designed for me. I setup on the baseline and roll towards the pass. Jump. Flick. Swish. I've come a long way since the baseball shots. But not far enough. The team is stacked, and I'm still cut. I stick around as the waterboy, hoping that I'm needed in case of emergency. We go 17-0 and finish as city champs. You can see me in the team picture - the only one not in uniform.

(clank)

I wake up. I'm back on the court at Discovery Park. I want to go back. I keep shooting.

(clank)

I'm on the same court, last year. Taking my girlfriend on, one-on-one. She's no match for my skills, but she gets the upper hand in the end, when she's back at home sitting on the couch, and I'm laying down, writhing in pain because I pulled a back muscle.

(clank)

I'm at the Bellevue Community College gym, playing in a recreational league. I figure I'll get about 12-15 minutes of time, since it's the first time I've played in over a year. Instead, I'm forced to run the entire game since I end up being the 5th player. After 2 minutes, I can't make it down the court anymore, so I stay back and play what little defense I can muster. My only points come from free throws, and I can only get one down at that. I'm tired, I'm sore, and my back's acting up again. I'm only 28.

Back at the park, I feel the back starting to tweak again. It's time to go home, but you can't leave on a miss. So I take a couple of steps back. Let's see if I still got my range. Not just NBA range. Dan Majerle range. Ray Allen range.

26 feet back. Elbow raised. Release at peak.

I'm on my driveway at home. Neighborhood kids come by to play, but you can't beat me on my court. I hit baseline shots like they're layups. I even throw in a couple of hook shots. From 22 feet away.

(swish)

Still on my driveway. Just got back from a camping trip, only to find out Magic Johnson has the HIV virus. I'm a Suns fan, so I hate the Lakers, but I'm still depressed about it. I close my eyes and say a prayer for Magic, then hoist up a free-throw.

(swish)

Driveway again. Numerous points in time. I've got a crush on someone. I don't ask them out. I don't try to talk to them or flirt with them. I've got a different system. If I make this shot, then they'll marry me. Simple as that.

OK, not this shot, the next shot.

Wait, I mean this one. Those other ones didn't count.

No, this one.

Kidding..I meant this one.


(swish)

2 Comments:

  • Dude!!!! You have no idea how much I can relate to that. Me and my buddy used to shoot around on these basketball hoops that were set up behind the tennis courts. "Hey, if I make this shot, xxx will go out with me." Clang. "Alright, this is the make up shot." Clang. "I'll take two steps back, this is for real." Swish. "Yeaaaaaaah, she's good as mine now!" LMAO. I love bball.

    I can't believe it took you this long to tell me about your other blog.

    By Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage, At July 30, 2007 at 12:45 PM  

  • Rematch!

    By Blogger wacarra, At July 30, 2007 at 1:12 PM  

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