Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I have played and competed in various sports throughout my life. In college I was a 3-time letterman in Varsity Judo, and I still practice and compete today. I've played Hockey on skates (ice and roller) and on foot, I played softball/baseball, soccer, tennis, and even tried my hand at golf (my clubs have been sitting in my closet for a few years now though). And with each of these sports I have gotten quite academic - thinking of strategies, working out plays, practicing skills, knowing terms. I even became an equipment geek - i.e. knowing the differences between, say, ABEC-7 and ABEC-5 skate bearings, or the right length baseball bat.

Basketball, however, is a different story. I played B-ball, but unlike other sports, I never really got into it in the same way. Despite my relative height (5'11" is decently tall as far as nice Jewish boys from Brooklyn go), I was always viewed of as more of a body, and never had much of a shot. Yet despite that, I still played. I was good for defense (especially in pickup gains where they don't count fouls) and I was always good for a handful of rebounds, assists and points per game (a triple-single maybe?), but I was never quite the standout. I never really tried to get better, I just showed up and played. When I was in my 20's and single, I had a standing pickup game as part of my general sunday sports trifecta (Skate 10mi, Basketball for 2 hours and then an evening softball game). When the months got cold, me and the boys would hunt for various gyms to play in (we started out as 5 guys, and after a few years, somehow a league was born, unfortunately, I was never able to participate). Unfortunately, with the exception of Judo, that was the last time I played 'organized' sports.

But now, somehow, my Mitch is into basketball. Of course, I now regret not having the knowledge that would come in handy to teach him. I wanted to get him a basketball to start teaching him how to dribble and pass (shooting will require a really small basket or a large growth spurt!). We visited my parents last week and my son convinced his Unlce to part with one of his many basketballs. I started to teach him, but then my wife decided that large heavy balls are where we should draw the line on ball playing in the house. For the few minutes we did play, I also noticed that he is definitely not ready for a full (or even junior-sized) basketball.

Today I went out and bought him a mini-basketball (unfortunately, this too is not allowed to be played in the house, but hopefully I will have an opportunity to take him to the park and start bouncing around his mini-Rock). It was a Nike basketball, with a LeBron logo on it. I guess not being into pro basketball I didn't realize how big the LeBron marketing machine was - he has even one-upped MJ in that he has his own soft drink.

I guess there is a lot I have to learn a lot about B-ball, hopefully I'll learn it before Mitch can throw high enough to hit the basket - or before he moves on to the next sport.

No comments: