Monday, May 24, 2010

So on Friday night, my son got off the train that pulled into Union Station, and he had his luggage in one hand and a basketball in the other. Up until now, he has primarily been into football and golf, and basketball was a distant third in the favorite sport department. But for some reason, he has taken a shine to basketball as of late, and here he was with ball in hand like he was ready for immediate battle. I asked him why he brought the ball for such a quick visit, and he said he wanted to beat me one-on-one. He didn't say he wanted to play me, he said he wanted to beat me.


I chuckled and said we'll see about that little buddy, and again he reiterated his declaration that he would be defeat me in a game one-on-one. Immediately, I thought back to my one-on-one battles with my father, and how he would handle the brash basketball challenges I attempted to put in his lap on any given weekend.

Now my father knew that I was a growing boy with flimsy confidence, but he also had a lot of pride and residual athleticism from his 20s and 30s. This meant he played badly enough to always let me stay in the game, but at times he would flex his athletic chops just enough to let me know that I had many miles to go before I beat him. I had no idea what was going on at that time, but when I was older(and could beat him with my eyes closed) he explained to me what his methodology was. I had no problems adopting this same strategy for my son.

So, after we went to the barbershop and got his haircut (as documented right here) we headed to the basketball court. First we shot around for about 10-15 minutes, and I could tell that he was sizing up my game, and and I was doing the same for him. The last time he and I played was two years ago, when he was about 3 inches shorter and 30lbs lighter, and I beat his young ass with ease. The 2010 version of my son was better, faster and stronger, so I knew it wasn't going to be as easy.

We agreed to play the first game to 13. I hadn't played basketball in quite awhile, so my shot was off, but I have been running and swimming everyday for the past month or so, so I felt fast and in great shape. But fast and in great shape at age 35, is much different than being faster and in greater shape at age 12, so my son was running circles around me initially. Still, I had the strength advantage, and my shot eventually came back to me. My son caught fire toward the end, but I won 13-7. I was curious about my son's competitive streak at this point, because when I was his age I hated to lose with a passion; as a result, if and when I did lose, I wanted to play again right then and there. Sure enough, my son said, "Dad let's play another game to 5." I smiled and said absolutely.

Now, for this second game, I decided to ease up a bit and let him win (plus I was tired as hell). His hot shooting streak continued in game two, and my shooting touch abandoned me like it was Arlen Specter and I was the Republican Party. The score was 4-3, when my son shot the ball, said, "That's game Daddy" while the ball was still in the air, and then swished it for the 5-3w win. I said to him, "Really, you're going to talk smack?" and he said yes. It was right about then, when MY competitive streak kicked in and I said let's play one more game to 6, and he said he was game.

Needless to say, I got my second wind during that third game and I whipped up on him 6-0. I could see the frustration in his eyes, but he never stopped playing hard or trying. At one point, he even tried to get physical with me, which I appreciated, but I still crushed him like a jellybean. After the game, I hugged him, he said he'd beat me next time, and I said we shall see.

It is now 1:30am, early Monday morning, and I am off from work today. My son has gone back home and is probably in bed and resting comfortably in preparation for school tomorrow. Meanwhile, my body is sore like you would not believe. I was warned that running and swimming does your body good and keeps you in shape, but basketball shape is a completely different animal--and now I know that firsthand. My back hurts, my elbow hurts, my left ankle is swollen, and my neck is sore. But I won right?

By the way, I've watched the video of my son (seen below) about 683 times since yesterday. I take it this is the stuff proud father moments are made of...


Redbonegirl97 said...

Nice to see you getting some quality time with your son. My boys are really getting frustrated with the lack there of since there dad hightailed it out of here for warm weather in Arizona. When he comes into to town to visit (who knows when) they are gonna tear his butt up on the court.

Peace, Love and Chocolate

Jazzbrew said...

This is great stuff man. Thanks for sharing. Just so you know that competitive thing never dies. My dad still kicks my monkey a$$ in golf and I hate it.