Basketball Stories

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January 26, 2012 by CJ

I was looking forward to basketball practice all day.  No, not for me, my son’s practice.  My husband typically takes the kids to basketball.  But a big project came up at work (he’s self-employed), so I am left to be the chauffeur for the week.  Scheduled from 6p-730p, an entire hour and half where I can sit back (on the play mats, stacked 5 high in the gym) and get lost in my book.  I admit it, I haven’t been faithfully reading daily.  Work has been crazy busy and when I get home…well…there’s homework, projects, laundry, dinner and a glass of wine or two maybe three, which leads to the inevitable pre-bedtime “nap” on the couch.  I have been reading blogs, lots of blogs.  But I really want to get through this book.

I’m reading, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.  I’ve been reading this, since this summer, a few pages at a time.  I love it and the more I get into it, the more I want to read.  Finding the time to read, making it a priority has not been easy for me.  But tonight, it was my night.  I had a date planned for me and my nook.  In the gym, on the mats, just the two of us.

Once we got to the gym, my kids were off doing whatever 10 year olds  do pre-basketball practice.  Parents walked in and gave the nod of acknowledgement to me.  As the coach blew his whistle to get the boys lined up to run drills, I turned on my nook and slipped away into my novel.

Just as it was getting good (where Skeeter is leaving the League meeting after the black tie fundraiser). I heard a thud.  I look up to see one of my son’s teammates curled up on the floor.  He ran, head first into the wall.  The coaches surrounded him and I got up to make sure he was ok.  I noticed by my left foot a tooth on the floor.  “Oh, my goodness, is that his tooth?” slipped out before I could think.  I ran out of the gym looking for his mother, trying to remember if I ever got her name.  The coach informed me he called the little boy’s mother and left a message.  I went back to the gym and helped him rinse his mouth out, made sure he was calm and ok (the things I would want someone to do if I wasn’t there for my son).  Then we sat down and I faced a dilemma.  Do I sit and be the concerned parent and make sure this kid is ok, or do I finish reading my book?  Reading may look insensitive, but in all reality, what else can I do?  He wasn’t crying, he was shockingly calm.  I tried to make small talk with him, “A broken tooth is ok when you are 10, not so much when you are 20.” 

“Do you have a girlfriend?”  “No, that’s good.  Girls can be yucky.” 

“Soooo, what did you do in school today.”  He shrugged his shoulders. 

“Do you want me to stop talking?”  He shrugged again.  I looked over at my son.  I could see in his eyes he was pleading for me to shut up.  So I did.  I glanced back at my nook.  I strained my eyes and I could read that Skeeter was on the phone, talking to her dad…something big was about to happen!!!  I looked back at the mini basketball player.  He was probably worried about how his parents’ would react.  “It’s ok, you know”  I started talking to him, “teeth break all the time.”   He looked at me and despite the paper towels covering his mouth, I could see a little smile. 

  I didn’t read my book.  I sat there next to him until his mom showed up, saying silly things and asking stupid questions.  Mostly I got shrugged shoulders, but every once in awhile I’d get a smile and I even heard a giggle.  Once she got there, I walked to the end of the gym to give her some privacy with her son.  I know I wouldn’t want some stranger, well-intentioned or not, standing over me and my kid.  After she walked out, another mom I knew walked in and I caught her up on the events of the night and spent the rest of the practice talking to her.  As I packed my nook into my purse, once practice was over, I reminded myself I still had tomorrow.  My daughter had basketball practice the following night (Lucky me!).  This time though, I think I’m going to sit in the car.

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