Sunday, January 5, 2014

This (Non) Sporting Life

Hi there! Dave-El here and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the blog that scores touchdowns on the basketball court of life.

That's not the right terminology, isn't it? You score "home runs" in basketball, right?

No, I don't think so.

OK, I'm not quite THAT dumb when it comes to sports but really, other than being able to tell one sport from another, my sports acumen is really not that sharp. Which makes what happened yesterday (Saturday, January 4th) most astonishing.

My daughter who, God bless her, has inherited a lot of my weird humor and slightly askew intellect, played in her first basketball game with a church sponsored youth league. She was quite nervous about this. From kindergarten through elementary school, she had been a cheerleader at school basketball games but had never actually played the game. Indeed, when she took the floor for the first time for today's game, it was the first time she had ever played in any organized team sport. 


And it showed. At least at first. The look of terror and confusion on her face was heartbreaking. And yeah, at one point she tried to make a lay up at the other team's basket. Truly, she is a child of the Long family.

And she wasn't the only one who struggled. A lot of the other girls had expressions that conveyed, "Wait! What am I suppose to do now?" However, as the game progressed, the terror and confusion began to subside for her and her friends. 

My daughter did score a basket and began finding her rhythm on defense. But I was already proud of her from the first moment on the court. The fact that she was out there at all and not a quivering mass of frightened goo was a major accomplishment in my eyes.


I can't play basketball. I'm OK just messing around and tossing up a few free throws but the constant movement and total awareness required for basketball were not my forte. I have a tendency to get lost in thought at the most inopportune moments. My efforts in baseball, for example, were often doomed not from losing a ball in the lights but losing them in thought. 

In basketball, it was assumed I had some level of skill. After all, I was tall. Apparently being tall means being automatically blessed with the supernatural talent of playing great basketball. Well, if that's true, every rule has an exception and for this one, I was that exception.  In my hands, a basketball might as well be cube shaped. But the real struggle for me was keeping track of petty little details like who was on my team and which goal was mine.


Yeah, that would pretty much be my reaction.


I don't watch many NBA games anymore. Mostly,  I follow college basketball and one thing I find very frustrating are when the refs signal for what I like to call "picky" calls. Travelling? Double dribbling? When trying to play the game, I'm happy if I don't trip over my own feet or I can dribble the ball for more than 5 seconds without losing control of it.

By the way, the team I follow in college basketball: the Duke Blue Devils. And right now, half of any number people reading this just had their skulls explode with intense rage.  And I'm OK with that. You can rend your clothing and wail to the heavens, "DUKE SUCKS!" all you want.



What are you gonna do?
Haters are gonna hate and
Duke's gonna keep winning.
Just roll with it, baby!.


There are two reasons I pull for Duke. One stems from an article that I read maybe 20 years ago that said that Duke had the best combined grade point average and scoring average in NCAA Division I Men's Basketball. There were teams with students who were smarter and there were teams with better players but Duke had the best combination of smarts and skills in one package. So I was impressed with that.

The other reason I follow Duke is that I am perpetually surrounded by fans of the UNC-Chapel Hill Tarheels. I figured Carolina's pretty well covered as far as supporters go. I'm not alone as far as being a Duke fan but we do appear to be a bit of more rarified group.

But this next bit may put me at odds with my fellow Duke fans. I will pull for Carolina...as long as they are not playing Duke. Me, I want anything team that represents my state of North Carolina or the Atlantic Coast Conference to do so successfully and with distinction. Which makes me an oddity amongst the "Anybody Buts" out there: Anybody But Duke, Anybody But Carolina, etc. 


But no game I have ever watched was more important to me than the game I watched my daughter play yesterday. According to the scoreboard, my daughter's team got beat. Badly. But to my eyes, my daughter won a victory that no scoreboard can validate or take away.

She played the game. 

You go, girl!
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Coming up this week on the blog----

Monday: Life in the Fast Food Lane. My pet peeves with fast food drive thru.

Tuesday: A NEW installment of Jack Kirby's NEW GIRL!

Wednesday: A word from one of our sponsors. What crazy ass product or service will sponsor this blog this time? Find out this week!

Thursday: The Adventures of Knock-Knock, the Interrupting Cow#2 (The stupidest recurring feature on this blog since The Internet Is For CORN.)

Friday: Broken News pokes fun at news headlines and photos for the week just past.

Saturday: Doctor Who Saturday

In the meantime, y'all be good to one another

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