Hoop dreams…

Posted: March 26, 2015 in brain belches
Tags: , , , ,

For one brief shining season in the late seventies I got to live out my underdeveloped hoop dreams…

I played basketball…in Oklahoma, a state known for its football.

Yes sports fans, I was a card carrying member of the FOR ( the Future Owasso Rams).

Sadly, despite the name, my athletic career never really had much of a future. It wasn’t because of a lack of passion, I was passionate!! I wanted, desperately, to be an athlete! But, I was destined to become an athletic supporter.

I wasn’t passionate about competition or the game. I was passionate about trying to get a girl…any girl…to notice me. I had learned that girls liked jocks and so, I wanted to be a jock. So I begged my mom to let me join our city league, the mighty FOR. We practiced on Tuesday nights and played on Saturday mornings in the city recreation center. It was a loud metal building that smelled like a combination of feet and Funyuns.
This was back in the golden age of kid’s sports when not everybody got to play. You only got to play if you had actual skills (or if your dad was the coach). I didn’t get to play…at all…not once…not a play.

I would strut out with the team in my immaculately clean uniform (my mom didn’t have to wash my uniform all season long…I didn’t sweat once)
I would take my place on the bench and I stayed there for eight weeks.
The only dribbling I did was when I fell asleep with my mouth open.
I was completely aware of my lack of hoop skills. I mean, come on! I was slow, I had no depth perception and I was two feet shorter than everyone else, not really a lethal combination for basketball.

So I devised a plan. I had good friends who were also really good athletes. This was the beginning of middle school. So, we were still a few years away from not being able to talk to each other because of the whole social classification thing. My very kind friends picked me for their team. I was glad because they were really good.

We went undefeated and I had absolutely nothing to do with it.

I would strut out at the beginning of every game, walking proud because I was part of the first place team. My super cool blue and white uniform was clean. I sucked in my gut, pulled up my tube socks and tried to look cool. Without her knowing, I used my mom’s mascara to draw manly pit hair on my hairless armpits (that only worked because I didn’t sweat).

My only athletic injury was a butt cramp was sitting on the bench too much.

At the end of the season, I got a shiny plastic trophy.
I had a uniform, I thought I was a part of the team, I got a trophy.
But, the truth was that I really wasn’t fooling anybody but myself!
I hadn’t contributed anything.
Sometimes we treat life like I treated basketball.
If we just associate with the right people. If we look the part…that’s enough, right?
But, Life was never meant to be a spectator sport.
We were never meant to sit on the bench and be content with getting a trophy at the end of the season.
Don’t let your fear, insecurities or lack of skills keep you from living!
Leave your mark on the court.
Play…play hard.
Even if at first you stink.
Even if on some days all you have to show for your effort is a sweaty jersey.
Play…get off the bench…leave your mark.
Eventually you will find what you are good at.
Don’t think that you can just hang out with the right team, you have a role to play.

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