Sunday, February 2, 2014

This (Non) Sporting Life#5

Hi there! Dave-El here and welcome to my blog, I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the blog with a crunchy chewy center. 

Today is Sunday and we present #5 in my series of posts about sports written by a guy who does not know much about sports. 

Because today is Super Bowl Sunday and I expect I'm quite busy today, I'm actually not writing this today but in the past. (Whoo! Time travel!) This post is a Toastmasters speech I gave Wednesday, January 29th. OK, to be honest, as I am actually writing this on Monday, January 27th, I guess it's more accurate to say I will be giving this speech on Wednesday, January 29th.

Stop it! I'm making myself dizzy! 

Anyway, this is a speech that I derived from some of my earlier sports posts about my daughter's foray into playing basketball.



"I don't want to do this!"

"I really don't want to do this!"

It was a Saturday morning, the first one of the new year and my daughter was expressing her feelings quite clearly on what was facing her that day.

"I really, REALLY don't want to do this!"

I should clarify that the "this" she didn't want to do was a basketball game.

Miranda had spent 6 years on a basketball court. Well, on the side of the court. She was a cheerleader at her elementary school from kindergarten to 5th grade. But as to actual experience playing the game, not so much.

So how did she wind up facing an obligation to play in basketball game?

To answer that, we have to go back a month before that fateful Saturday when Miranda was attending her youth group at our Methodist church. She loves going to these meetings which are filled with a lot of fun and energy. I don't remember anything like that when I was a kid but I grew Baptist in a small town so what do I know? The youth minister was passing around a sign up sheet for an inter-church youth basketball league that would start playing in January.

Her best friend Kristen asked if Miranda was going to sign up.

Miranda said no and asked her friend if she was signing up.

No, was the reply, but I will if you will.

My daughter answered, And I won't so I guess you're not.

C'mon, Kristen pleaded, it'll be fun.

Miranda said no.

Kristen insisted they could do this together.

The answer was still no.

Then Kristen started laying down a challenge: I dare you.

Now I've taught my daughter to not do something she doesn't want to just because some one dares her to do. So she stood her ground and said no.

I double dare you.

Miranda held her ground against her friend.

Then Kristen said, "I double dog dare you."

I hope you understand that Miranda had no choice. She signed up for basketball.

Miranda was concerned. To varying degrees of good and bad, she has inherited a number of things for me such as a vivid imagination and a weird sense of humor. She has also inherited some more detrimental attributes such as allergies to pollen and raw carrots. What if she had inherited her dad's basketball skills.

Or more accurately, dad's LACK of basketball skills.

I am tall. And being tall means that people just assume I'm good at basketball. I'm kind of OK shooting some free throws but in action on the court, I have more left feet than a centipede.

And my knowledge of the game does not extend beyond the most basic fundamental: put the ball through the hoop.

So it was against this hereditary background that my daughter faced this most daunting challenge.

"I don't want to do this."

But I impressed upon her that an entry fee had been paid and a t-shirt purchased and besides, she made a commitment, a promise.

So we found ourselves later that Saturday morning in a church gym. And my heart felt so sad for her as Miranda looked unsure of herself. So did her friend Kristen. So did all those girls.

Except when someone was lucky enough to actually have the ball in their hands, those girls did not know what to do with themselves. Meanwhile, parents were on the sidelines shouting instructions like, "Guard your man! Guard your man!" Which just confused the players because they were girls. 

Then came the moment when my daughter got the ball and seizing the opportunity, Miranda took the shot. The ball caromed off of the rim but she caught the rebound. She tried the show again and once more it bounced off the rim. Miranda hustled for that ball. She was not about to give up. 

Meanwhile, all the parents were on the sidelines yelling, "Stop doing that!" because Miranda was shooting at the wrong basket. 

Yep, she's my daughter, all right. 

But later she got the ball again and this time aiming at the right basket, she gets the shot. And she started looking a bit more comfortable out there on the floor. And after the game she was so excited. Did her team win? No, they got beat bad. Well, at least Miranda got a basket but that barely registered on her radar. No, she was excited for the same reason I was so very proud of her. She proved she could play a game of basketball. Maybe she'll develop her skills as a player or maybe she doesn't get any better than this. But it doesn't matter. What matters is she played the game. 

"I don't want to do this!" we may exclaim in the face of some challenge we would rather not face. But these are things that we often need to do. Else we will never discover what we are truly capable of. 

Good or bad, win or lose. The main thing is to play the game. 


Thank you for your time today. Next Sunday, I'm back with This (Non) Sporting Life#6 with a Super Bowl postmortem, addressing the really important question of which commercials were really cool and which really sucked! And maybe some other things that are more sports...ish.

Until then, be good to one another. 

Amended Sunday, February 2nd, 2:36 PM EST

My daughter's youth league basketball team WON their very FIRST game yesterday! YAY! It was a nail-biter of a game that went into overtime and saw several lead changes! It was an EPIC struggle but Miranda's team prevailed! Congragulations! 

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