Friday, October 23, 2009

The 1950s Called. It Wants Its Gym Class Back.

The Newmentia boys have started their basketball season with a series of open gyms. Having spent at least 30 minutes per day practicing on his own all summer, plus the summer open gyms and team camp and individual camp, the #1 son is much improved. Mr. S is taking credit.

Don't get me wrong, Mr. S is a stand-up guy. His heart is in the right place. By that I mean it's beating inside his chest on a regular basis. He was a bit of a local basketball star in his day, and earned a basketball scholarship. #1 asked him early in the year if he had any basketball tips to improve his game. #1 needs the nuts and bolts of post play, having only begun playing during his 8th grade year. Mr. S agreed to stay after school on Wednesdays and instruct #1 for an hour. This was all out of the goodness of his correctly-placed heart, as there was no remuneration or perks of any kind. Due to various scheduling conflicts and sundry calamities, they only met three times. One day was in the classroom, and two days were in the weight room. They never once set foot in the gym.

Mr. S meant well. He gave #1 a workout program that included sit-ups, push-ups, hurdler-stretches, wall sits, one-legged leaps, arm circles, and milking-the-cow. That cow is kind of like a stationary arm circle, with flexing of the fingers. How this is going to make my boy better at basketball, I do not know. I have given him a more skill-specific workout myself, being no stranger to the coaching profession, but shy of actual post-play in a game situation. Imagine my surprise when Mr. S asked me yesterday how #1 was doing with basketball, and when told that he has improved since last year, stated, "Ahh, yes. I gave the lad some pointers."

I appreciate all Mr. S has done for free for #1 on those three hours he spent with him. Mr. S is a better man than I. No extra non-paid work for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom after hours. M-O-O-N. That spells nobody's milking this cow for free. But let's get real. Did those three hours of calisthenic instruction really improve my boy's game? I think not.

That workout prescribed by Mr. S was nothing that could not have been garnered from a 1950s gym class. I'm surprised #1 has not asked for a one-piece short/shirt combo with a zippered front, solid shorts and a striped shirt like a big ol' Onesie for the high school P.E. student. This workout had nothing to do with basketball, and everything to do with warming up for gym class. Not that I was ever in a 1950s boys' P.E. class. For that matter, neither was Mr. S, but I'm sure his coach was, having stashed away that vital knowledge to pass off as a basketball workout.

To further shove sand down my craw, Mr. S made his statement in front of Stuart. Stuart is in his fifth year at Newmentia on his two-year grant for teaching something which I am sure he is very good at, if I only knew what it was. Stuart and Mr. S were apparently opponents in high school or college basketball. Surely Stuart knows what Mr. S is like. Surely Stuart does not think Mr. S has created a new Larry Bird. But that's the way Mr. S sounded.

It makes me want to stab a thorn in Mr. S's side. A thorn named The Joke is on Your Beloved Obama. Yesterday morning, you see, the boys and I were watching Morning Joe before school. Savannah Guthrie had interviewed Obama about a basketball game at the White House. A basketball game to which only MEN were invited. No female congresswomen or staff. Savannah Guthrie called him out. She felt that this was a networking opportunity, and the women were cheated out of a chance to bend the President's ear off the cuff. In a bit of a kerfluffle with Joe Scarborough, Guthrie gave us the perfect sound bite. To take it out of context and crop it for evil purposes, the quote was: "...he plays with men nearly every weekend."

You see, Mr. S, making a statement without revealing the entire background is like telling an untruth. At least where my boy's basketball prowess is concerned.

No comments: