Saturday, February 07, 2009
That dog don't hunt...
Youth Basketball...That Says It All.
While watching Number Two play youth basketball, I thought back to my days on the Grandview Celtics, and the years spent struggling with dreams of the NBA or the ABA (since we were an ABA town) and the reality of being a short white kid with no ball-handling skills (that sounds really dirty, now), no speed, and no vertical jump.
We used to spend the summers practicing our dunks at a friend's house (courtesy of a 7' basket in his garage), shooting hoops at the Stake Centre, and getting ready for the complete domination of our adversaries on the court in the winter. We did the clinics at the local college, went to the high school and college games, and dreamed the aforementioned dreams of being the next John Havlicek or "Pistol Pete" Maravich.
And, when the time came to select our uniform numbers, I chose "53", the number worn by Darryl Dawkins (who was then known, politically incorrectly as the "Baby Gorilla"). I was in awe of this high school ballplayer, who entered the NBA draft on a hardship exemption, and was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers, in the 1975 draft.
Did I think I could ever be "The Rimwrecker"?
Hell, no. I just liked his elan. I liked the fact that he was confident enough to make the jump (like Moses Malone) from high school basketball to the pros. And, I loved the fact that, in later years, he would deliver the "Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam." (The dunk that shattered the glass backboard in a game against the Kansas City Kings, in 1979.)
So, today, as I watched the "hope of our future" play basketball, I remembered warmly my time on the hardwood. And, I wondered, how many of these kids actually realise just how much fun they are having...and how much they will miss it when they are older.