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Inspirational Reads

Trouble in Paradise

March 10, 2010

This is the most wonderful time of the year.

Well...normally, that is. It's the most wonderful time of the year if your favorite basketball team doesn't suck. In situations such as the past two seasons, I guess I can always claim to be a fan of Butler, right? *shifty-eyed*

Anyway, I've got some trouble around these here parts.

Basketball-related trouble.

I've raised my daughter right. She loves basketball. She might not be the voracious connoisseur that I am (what's this? Siena versus Fairfield? Sign me up!), but she has an appreciation for watching the game. And that makes me smile.

However, she's also decided that she's going to root for one of the local teams. And by local, I mean local. My daughter is a self-proclaimed Duke fan.

*chokes down bile*

My son, who is only 5 and doesn't know any better, and who wants desperately to have something in common with his older sister, aside from 50% of his DNA and a passion for Legos, is also a Duke fan.

In order to focus on the silver lining in light of this new-found catastrophe, I keep chanting to myself "At least it's not least it's not State..."

I mean, I guess it makes sense, given where we live and all. I do drive past the campus every day--twice!--and my first "real" job was at a biotech company that was, essentially, a glorified research lab backed by a professor at Duke.

Saturday evening, when UNC decided not to even bother showing up to play visited Duke, I was a good father and let her stay up to watch the first half of the game. She sat on my bed and cheered for Duke and celebrated as they built a 30-point lead before halftime.

And then she said the most brilliant--and inadvertently the most ironically hilarious--thing I've ever heard her say:

"Wow. Duke doesn't get called for travels very often."

She also loves playing basketball, and though my backyard isn't the greatest place to shoot hoops, it beats not having anywhere to play at all.

The past two nights, it's been nice enough to go outside and shoot some hoops together. I've been trying to improve her shot a lot over the past couple of days. She's gotten stronger, so now she doesn't just shoot bunnies, but actually is developing a mid-range jumper. However, I'm trying to get her to put some more arc on the ball, and give her some good shooting form. You know, shoulders square to the basket, hips firmly underneath you, bend your knees, keep your toes pointed toward the basket, keep your feet apart.

It's this last part that she doesn't want to do most often. So, I keep telling her "Pull your legs apart", "Spread your legs", "Feet apart".

The irony of what I am saying is not lost on me.

As her game continues to grow farther and farther away from the hoop, she's been getting a bit she's consistently knocking down shots from farther out. She wanted to know where the 3-point line would be, so I stepped off approximately 19 feet for her.

"Wow! That's really far away." Then she paused. "You couldn't hit that shot."

Never one to back down from the challenge of an 8-year-old girl, I said, "Give me the ball."

In what could possibly be the highlight of my basketball career, I turned and buried the shot. Nothing but net. It was, easily (and sadly) the most badass thing I've done with a basketball in the past ten years.

Because I'm not above gloating over an 8-year-old girl, I cupped my hand behind my ear and repeatedly asked, "What did you say?"

"I didn't say anything," she responded. Clearly, she was awed.

"What did you say?"

"I didn't say anything!" she insisted. Still awed, naturally.

"I think I heard you say something."

"I think dinner's ready," she responded.

All in all is all we are, I think it was a pretty constructive session. Not only have I helped her develop a bit of range to her game, but I've also taught her to ignore trash-talking assholes on the court.

And knowing is half the battle.


Joshua said...

Nice shot. Oh, I'm talking about the GI Joe chick. Thanks for that first thing this morning.

And you're absolutely right about the caption, too.

Scope said...

Wait? Basketball was big where you grew up?

I grew up in downstate IL, and life basically shut down when the IHSA tourney was on. Wheel a TV into social studies to watch the game? No problem, so of course, we could watch in P.E.

Now, I don't even know that the original "March Madness" is going on. And I feel like there must be a lost bit of my soul stuffed in a deflated basketball somewhere.

mo.stoneskin said...

I don't really know what basketball is. Something to do with Michael Jorden and Shaq.

Maybe you should have showed her how to dunk it.

Travis said...

I volunteer to adopt both of your children in the event that as they grow older they still worship the right kind of blue.

This article touched me.


I'm still pressing charges because it touched me.

Ed said...

Travis is an ASS, just like DUKE.

UNC will KILL them next year.

And Notre Dame doesn't suck this year, come on dude.

Awwww....a dad and his daughter playing some hoops.

Plus, you taught her to spread her legs. A valuable life lesson I'm sure she'll utilize in the future. Won't you be proud then.

You are definitely from Indiana.

EmcogNEATO! said...

Duke? Today, I mourn for you.

Jeney Peney said...

Never was a big basketball family.

But my dad did teach me how to throw a perfect spiral.

No leg spreading necessary.

Jidai said...

I just know, something awful is going to happen with my kids. They are going to cheer for some random team that I hate. *sigh*

Parenting is hard.

Gwen said...

The fact that you let her love her own team, despite your loathing of it, shows that you truly are an enlightened father. Well, until you get to the "spread 'em" part of the story.

Lindsey Himmler said...

I cannot express how much I loathe Duke. Being a genetic production of Kentucky, it's understandable. One of my first pictures is myself as a baby wearing my Grandpa's Kentucky hat.

So I'm glad you schooled that girl! :)

Anonymous said...

G.I. Joe!

words...words...words... said...

DUKE? Jesus, man. You must be obsessively examining your past parenting and wondering how you could have gone wrong. I feel for you.

As a Syracuse grad, this year, March truly IS the most wonderful time of the year :)

kate said...

At least she's not a KU fan. NOTHING is worse than a KU fan.

Pearl said...

And knowing is half the battle.



SkylersDad said...

I grew up loving basketball, and started hating it when it morphed into street ball.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

I almost cried when I read this post.

A few thoughts:

Remember when IU beat Duke at Rupp in the 2002 tournament? Since I live 60 miles from Lex, I ALMOST went to the game. But, I thought, no. I don't want to spend that money to see my team get beat.

Still, watching us win was one of my favorite days ever. Even though I watched the game in my parents' basement.

Next, ground your daughter.

Finally, maybe the Hoosiers will win the Big Ten tournament and get an auto-bid to dance.

A girl can dream.

Nej said...

I was miserable at basketball when I played in Junior High and High School. M.I.S.E.R.A.B.L.E. :-)

So much so, that my parents bought me a basketball backboard and hoop....but we never put it up.

Yup, it's still in my garage to this day. I take it with me wherever we move.

I might put it up someday. Would be fun to try my hand at it again. :-)

(fun for the neighbors to watch and laugh at, that is)