Basketball Jones


Zebu had a game last night,
the first in the end-of-season tournament.

I did not go.
I am so glad I did not go.

Zebu’s team won but the opposing team and opposing team’s "grown-ups"
apparently behaved atrociously.

Blatant fouls.
Poor sportsmanship.
Shouts and jeers.
Pounding hands and stomping feet during free throws.
Overall ass-hattery.

As Zebu, Wildebeest, and Zippy described the game,
I kept saying, "No way.  They did not do that."
Especially in regards to the parents’ behavior.

I’m not sure why I’m sharing these details.
Maybe I’m hoping one of you has a magic remedy for dealing with this stuff
since Zebu plans to play basketball in high school,
and I’ll undoubtedly be faced with more of the same.

Have you encountered this during your kids’ sporting events?
If so, how do you cope?

Confession time


Way back when in high school I tried out for the basketball team.
Despite being one of the tallest girls in the school and quite athletic,
I didn’t make the cut.
(Did I mention I also had a bit of an attitude and a big mouth?)  

(This is the 2006 Canadian team)

So instead of basketball, I curled for two seasons.
And guess what?
I was really good.
I got to be the skip.
The skip tells the others where to throw their stones 
and when to sweep.

In other words, I got to boss people around.

I like to point that out whenever I hear someone dissing shuffle board on ice.


Of Balls and Pens


Zebu found out he didn’t make the "gold" team in basketball
and is quite disappointed.
I ache for him because I know what that feels like to work hard
but still not reach a goal.

Yesterday we went out and shot 100 free throws each,
alternating sets of ten.
He made 74 out of one hundred.
I made 56.

I said, "Hey, at least I’m better than Shaq."
Zebu said, "I think he shoots 57%."
(I just looked it up and his career average is only 53%.  Take that!)

This morning I went out to shoot another 100,
positive I’d do better than yesterday.
Because, you know, practice always makes you better.

I made 44 out of 100.
I felt pretty cruddy as I missed shot after shot. 
In fact, I wanted to quit early on when in one set I only made 3 of 10.
But I kept pushing through to the end.
And eventually attempted the hundredth shot.

Did I then proclaim "Free at last!"
and head inside for the couch?


Something inside me wouldn’t quit, and I kept on shooting.
And this time I made 56 out of 100.
Same as yesterday.

So does this mean that this morning’s first 100 free throws were a waste of time?
Does it mean I didn’t improve at all?
I don’t know.
On paper, I didn’t do any better than yesterday.

In basketball as in writing, there are no guarantees.
The only thing I know for sure is that if I don’t keep writing,
I will not improve my craft.
And the same is probably true for my free throw percentage.

Either way, just like with those free throws and me,
something inside won’t let me quit writing.
So I might as well get better while I’m at it.


Okay, so Michigan State won against UConn. 
Which means I jumped from 67th place in the Bransford Blog Challenge
up to 12th place.

It feels good being on the front page for once.

I love me some scrappy basketball!!!

UPDATE:  Because UNC won, I’m now in 7th place.
According to my resident number crunchers, only one person can win besides me.


March Madness Buzzer Shot

I’m having a great time watching all the NCAA games.  College basketball is really such fun (even though my two brackets absolutely stink; I’m WAY down the list in Nathan Bransford’s bracket challenge).

Watch this clip from last night’s game between Missouri and Memphis as Missouri’s Marcus Denmon makes a 65-feet shot right before the half-time buzzer.  They show it from different angles and it’s definitely worth viewing.

And yes, I picked Missouri to win.

This shot was especially gratifying since Denmon had just made another basket that was contested; after reviewing the tape officials said it was only a two-pointer and not a three.

On basketball and writing

Zebu and I have a lot in common these days.  After years of playing on the same rec league team, he’s now playing on two competitive basketball teams (I know, Basketball R Us).  And for the first time, he’s not a starter; he’s the last or second-to-last kid rotated into games.  Two nights ago I watched him matched up beneath the net with a kid about six inches taller and twenty pounds heavier, and had tears in my eyes.   Zebu was working hard for position, knowing if he messed up, the coach might pull him out and make him watch the action from the bench.

And as I sat there fighting the tears, I realized I was weepy for both of us; Zebu’s been working hard to prove himself to his coaches and I’m trying to produce a book an editor will fall in love with and buy.  

There have been some low moments over the past few months.  We have both cried.

Last night Zebu played in a championship game.  He played well.  He showed his coaches what he was capable of and played an important role in the team’s victory.  Zebu went to bed with a smile on his face.

So today I’m going to keep revising my novel, pushing back against the outside forces trying to knock me out of position and throw me off my game.  And if need be, I won’t hesitate to throw an elbow.