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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Fond memories of hoops gone by

We've started an "enrichment" program at the school on Tuesdays. (Sounds like something to do with wheat and associated by-products, right?) From 3:15-4:30, most of the teachers stay and run some sort of group that kids can join and participate in. Some teachers run a soccer club, some do cheerleading, some do puzzles and legos, some do chess. I wanted to do a "Texas Two-Card Hold 'Em" club, but they wouldn't let me. I don't know why not, it would reinforce mathematical concepts of probability and multiplication. But at any rate, I run the basketball club for 3rd graders.
So I was out there playing "Knock-out" and other fun basketball games from my youth. It takes a while to get concepts through to these kids, so I'm holding off on teaching them the three-man weave. That's part of the advanced club. But as I was playing with the kids, it made me think back to some of my fond basketball memories. Going winless in my senior year of high school was not one of them. But one of my brother's 8th grade games IS up there as a high point.
My dad was the coach of my brother's team, and I helped out as an assistant coach. This particular game was against the dreaded arch-rival, so we enacted Operation: Super Spazz. The Saturday morning of the game, I dressed as one of the team. I was a senior in high school, so I was already at full-size -- 6'4", 180 lbs -- and I stood out monstrously from the other kids out on the court. In addition to my size advantage, I had meticulously cultivated a wild, animalistic appearance. I wore a pair of racquetball-style goggles (think Kareem Abdul-Jabar, circa mid-80s), and the most severe case of bedhead this side of Jimmy Fallon.
During pre-game warmups, I participated in the layup lines, each time running full speed at the basket and heaving the ball at the backboard as hard as possible. I was going for maximum rebound distance, hoping to have to chase the ball past halfcourt into the opposing ranks. With each heave, I let out a primal yell, like the Goonies' Sloth trying to free himself from imprisonment. I think at one point, I even picked up one of my brother's teammates and shook him around.
Once the game started, I sat on the bench, of course. But the psychological impact was visible. The other point guard frequently stole glances over at our bench, and they just played scared the entire game. Years later, my brother attended the same high school as a couple of the players from that team, and one of them confided in him that he had almost wet his pants that day.
Making memories. That's what I'm all about.

1 comment:

Phineus said...

Years later when they asked me what happened to that ginormous player we had on our team in eigth grade, I remember shedding a single tear and telling them we had to put him down.