I believe in basketball. It was the game I grew up with. Most lessons on work ethic and camaraderie were learned on the court, not in any classroom or at any church sermon. I still remember fouling out of my first game, seven years old, and crying on the bench because I couldn’t understand why the mean man in the zebra stripes wouldn’t let me play anymore. My dad would spend hours outside with me in the rain refining my jump shot, my basketball I.Q., my off hand dribbling, and my passing.
“Hold your follow through, aim for the back of the rim, square your shoulders to the basket,” he would shout at me. We would play one on one to eleven or twenty-one (always make it take it after 3). He was left-handed and I was right-handed, which would always force me to use my off hand. He would purposely foul me so that I would learn to play through the contact. These memories out on the blacktop with my Dad are some of my most cherished growing up. As I get older, and the idea of having kids of my own becomes closer to becoming a reality, I get excited at the thought of basketball with them. I can imagine myself and my son or daughter at the playground hoop in the rain, shooting free-throws, just enjoying the beautiful game.
I’ve never woke up thinking of an amazing lecture or sermon. I’ve never caught myself daydreaming about the particular speech. Yet I still dream of old games I’ve played in or watched. Every year Christmas is merely a rest-stop on the one-way road to March Madness and the NBA playoffs. Whenever I go home to visit my family, the two things guaranteed to happen are a beautiful dinner provided by my mom (complete with mashed potatoes, salad, and steak), and at least one pick up basketball game. I love this game; I believe in basketball.
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