Monday, February 8, 2010

My Basketball Bliss

I’ve been hanging out at a lot of basketball games lately. I have a teenage son who’s good… make that really good at basketball and he’s a member of three different teams. What this means for me, is that I attend as many as six games a week.

Now I have to say that of all the sports I might possibly be required to sit through in the name of motherly love, basketball would be my game of choice for several reasons.

First, it’s played in doors.

This boy is my youngest, but not by far the first to express an interest in sports. For two years we spent many a freezing Saturday morning wrapped in blankets watching a bunch of little kids in brightly colored jersey’s and matching knee high socks run up and down the field chasing a black and white ball.

I am not a soccer fan. I don’t understand the game and I find it boring. Yes I know, half the world thinks the sun rises and sets on soccer and to them I apologize. The only pleasant experience I ever had with the game was during my senior year in high school when a good looking blond with well defined quadriceps inspired me to spend a few afternoons on the bleachers with my girlfriends watching his attractive physic run up and down the field.

After soccer it was karate. Which, if you don’t mind my saying so, is about as exciting as watching a room full of middle age women taking an aerobics class. Although we did get a nice selection of colored belts out of the experience. Colored karate belts have a multitude of uses, we discovered. You can tie a baby-sitter up so tight her parents have to come over to undo the knots. With a little imagination, you can rig your sister’s door so that it can’t be opened from the inside. (This is especially effective if she is already inside the room at the time.) And you can create a visually stimulating if somewhat destructive form of art when the belts are combined with a ceiling fan, and tennis shoes.

But I do like basketball. I think its fun to watch the boy’s race up and down the court, jumping and leaping around one another in an effort to get a ball into an overhead basket.

Second, I like the facts that the points add up fast.

As a young girl I grew up in Oakland, California home of the world famous Oakland A’s baseball team. My great-grandfather was a huge fan, and I remember being taken to one or two games when I was little. It was by far the most boring sport ever invented. (Even worse than karate). It seemed to take forever for either team to make a point and by the time they did, I had lost interest entirely.

Now of course, if you played your cards right you could pass the time eating peanuts, hot dogs and other junky baseball fare… that wasn’t too bad. And the organ was always entertaining to listen to. But the nuances of the game passed right over my head. They still do.

Third, I like having the opportunity to make lots of noise in support of my team without people looking at me like I’m a wierdo.

Before the basketball season began, my son chose to play volleyball. Another sport I’m not too fond of. I was actually beaten up in junior high for missing a ball lobbed in my general direction during a rousing game of volleyball in PE.

But what I really hate about the game is how one team has to screw up in order for the other team to make a point. So here are all these cute little junior high kids, focused and determined. Our team serves and the other side stands stone still watching the ball hit the court, waiting for someone to jump in and try to hit it back. Pure humiliation. I can’t very well start clapping and yelling “Way to Go” without feeling like I’m rubbing the failure into the other team like lemon juice on a paper cut.

Not so with basketball. I can yell and scream to my heart’s content and never feel bad about offending the other team.

The one thing about basketball I don’t understand it the fascination many of the coaches and parents have in badgering the referees. I’m no expert, but in the twenty or thirty games I’ve witnesses over the past few months, I have never seen a referee change a call. Not once. Even if the coach pulls him aside and accuses him of being half blind and with a personal vendetta against blue jersey’s. They make the call, they stick by it. Still there seems to be some impossible hope that if one yells loudly and obnoxiously enough, those guys in the black and white stripes will turn around and admit, “You are so right. What was I thinking? It wasn’t really a foul after-all. Thanks for pointing that out to me.”

So all in all, I gotta say, I love watching my son play basketball. And I thank my stars every day that he found his talent in dribbling and shooting. Just imagine if he’d wanted to do something horrible like crocodile wrestling…. or ice hockey. Yikes!

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