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dribble dribble dribble (pause) swish BAM bounce bounce pad pad pad pad

dribble dribble dribble (pause) swish BAM bounce bounce pad pad pad pad

dribble dribble dribble (pause) swish BAM bounce bounce pad pad pad pad

I wonder why my parents never ever said anything to me about the noise I made while shooting baskets in the driveway?  Hour after countless hour, I continued the ritual.  It was an obsession with me, the enjoyment of shooting basketball an exercise that I never tired of.  Even now, I still love it.  And the memory of the large concrete square in front of the family garage, a makeshift particle board backboard attached to the front of the garage roof with brackets.  Any time the was a perfect shot, the basketball smacked loudly off the aluminum gutter underneath the backboard, a loud BAM that reverberated around our neighborhood.  Harry, our lunatic next door neighbor that hated his noisy neighbors, especially during the warm weather months when there were countless ball games on that concrete court, often fought loudly when a foul call didn’t go our way or when the game got rough.  Even worse was when dad added a spotlight, enabling us to play past dark.

Mom and Dad used to sit on the front porch stoop, holding hands and drinking the sweet iced tea that Mom used to brew in a jar on our back porch, watching as my brother and I sparred with Wayne and Mark and Kevin (even my cousin, Phil, always hopeless when it came to sports — but later on quite a hit with the ladies) or whoever else strayed into our neighborhood for a game on our basketball court.  Quite often, they would watch for a while then retreat back inside the house, the sound of Mom playing hymns on the piano while Dad sang.  Those days, it wasn’t embarrassing.  It was just what people in our little community did.  Church was cool.

In my teen years, shooting baskets became a contest with myself for imaginary rewards.  If I made ten shots in a row, then I would get that get that kiss from Edie, a lovely green eyed brunette who I actually did get my first kiss from.  Those imaginary rewards provided motivation that sometimes gave me the courage to make them not so imaginary!  As I hit my upper teens, I upped the ante, ventured out to the street and vowed to asked Tami, my current serious girlfriend, to marry me if I made the shot.  Sure enough, it was nothing but net, slamming even louder into the aluminum gutter after passing through the slightly bent hoop.  I never asked Tami to marry me, an opportunity that I sometimes regret, sometimes am very glad for — she has been divorced twice!

I am about to reenter the dating world after a long hiatus (marriage).  I wonder what will take the place of shooting baskets for me.  Maybe I will rediscover the joy again, shoot baskets at that little court at the condo clubhouse.  The imaginary rewards will be different, I assume.  Maybe not.  Teen or “mature” adult, I still need that kiss.