Saturday, May 30, 2009

At Open Gym, Nobody Can Hear You Bleed

I watched my son's basketball open gym today, because I can see him play a lot more there than I ever will during the games. We acknowledge that he is the worst player of those who show up for open gym. There may be somebody more pitiful who will try out for the team later, but right now #1 holds that honor. That does not mean he is really, really bad. He can hold his own. He's just a bit tentative on offense.

There is a glimmer of hope in that he has not been picked last for the teams yet. The first day, that went to the sixth man from #1's 8th grade team. Yesterday and today, the last one was a starter on the 8th grade team. The one who was always saying things about the starters, and whose mom did things for the starters, and who, according to #1, had already made plans for the trip to basketball camp for the starters to ride in his car. It's Karma, baby! Not that I take joy in seeing a little boy picked last. It's just that he should have been a bit more modest. You'd never catch my boy at Academic Team saying, "It's not for you dummies. It's for us geniuses." No. He tried to include everybody, and did not demand the "Captain's Chair" at the end of the table. If another kid ran and sat there, he just took an empty seat. But I imagine this getting picked last at the horse auction of basketball team picking rattled this little boy's psyche. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Of course, my boy was picked next-to-last every day. But he's OK with that. When the coach mixed up the fresh fish with the varsity today, my boy was not assigned the other team's worst player to guard. He got a varsity player to guard, and did not allow him to score at all during two full-court games to 16. AND the best player on the varsity told him "nice pass" one time. I hope he doesn't start demanding that there be a special car for all the nice passers to ride in.

Before the full-court games, the JV team was playing half-court while the coach worked with varsity. When teams were picked for that game, Starter, a captain, chose another starter, Hog, who bossily took over Starter's choosing chore. "I would pick Jumper, but he's afraid to guard Star, so we'll take #1 who will be guarding Star." That's an offer you can't refuse. Anyway, #1 and Star have been best buddies all through school. So what if Star is 6'3"? He is only human.

It was quite a battle in the trenches. No concussion, no foul. There are no refs at open gym. At open gym, nobody can hear you bleed. Star elbowed the bejeepers out of #1, who took it for about 15 minutes, then started dishing it back. He later said, "When Star started elbowing me harder, I did the same thing to him." That's when Star got mad. Then, and when #1 scored on him and Hog needled, "You just got schooled by #1!" Oh, and when #1 whacked him in the face trying to block a shot. Some of these kids take themselves too seriously. Jump a mile in my kid's shoes and maybe you'll have an attitude adjustment. You didn't see #1 puffing up like a blowfish when he was being sandwiched by an elbow-stabber from behind, and being held by a sophomore with a wad of #1's shirt in the front. He just took that abuse sandwich. And got even later, pleasantly. At least he didn't come home with bloody fingernail gouge marks on his arm today.

What goes around comes around, I've heard.

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