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The Sacred Game of Basketball

March 17, 2000

Early Life Lessons

No one ever knew that when I was born I would grow up to be a great basketball player. My family was not very athletic. My dad was the only one who had played any sports, and still, he wasn't very good at them. Nope, I was something special. A kind of abnormality. I didn't care, though. It made me feel special that I was the only one in my family who could pull off a left-handed-360 reverse-layup. Ya, that was the life.-------- When I turned 8 my neighbors had a court put in for their son. I would spend endless hours down there playing against some imaginary defender or just working on my game. When I turned 12 my neighbor started skateboarding. Him and his friends set up ramps and things they called "fun boxes" all over the court. I was crushed. The time I was able to stay down there was greatly diminished and whenever I did go down I had to move everyhting out of the way. Soon they were skateboarding every day, except when it was raining. So on rainy days I would trudge down to the court in my nice warm jacket and tough, rugged hiking boots and do some drills until I got too wet and had to go inside and get some hot chocolate.------- My teens years were a big problem for me. Homework started dominating my life. I could no longer go down to the court on rainy days. I would just have to get lucky on a weekend when my neighbor and his friends were at a skate park or something. I was getting better, though. All the hard work had paid off. I easily made my 6th grade team and was the star attraction. Poeple would go up to my parents after the game and say "wow, youre son is a real good player!" You wouldn't believe how good that made my dad feel. You could practically see him beeming with pride.------ My grades were okay. Could've been better, though. My parents constantly pushed me. Which I think was a big reason my grades were struggling. They constantly threatened me saying that they were going to take me off the team if I got any C's on my report card. They never did, though.