My twelve-year-old son’s basketball coach asked if I could help during practice by scrimmaging with the kids. I was sitting in the bleachers at the time, but I did have on shorts and tennis shoes, so I said yes.
“Just stand there with your arms up and make them go around you,” he said, “I just want them to get a feel for playing against taller guys.”
So I stood there. I’m 6′ 1″ tall, so it wasn’t hard to be a presence in the key.
That’s when a 4′ 6″ kid tried to make a layup around me.
I didn’t like his cockiness.
So I swatted the ball so hard it flew twenty feet out-of-bounds and hit the gym wall.
The coach stopped the practice.
“Thanks for your help,” he said, “You can go back to the bleachers if you want.”
I walked back to the bleachers.
“Way to go,” said the cocky kid on my way past him, “You can stuff a kid two feet shorter than you.”
But the difference wasn’t two feet. It was 1′ 7″. So in addition to being cocky, he was a big-time exaggerator.
When I got back to the bleachers, some of the parents stared at me, as though I had done something wrong. No high-fives. Not even a “way to go.” That was a surprise because I thought childrens’ sports was all about positive reinforcement, and it really was a great block.
But I didn’t say anything. Especially not to the one dad who looked like he was taking pictures. I want to stay on his good side because I’m hoping he got a shot of me packing that kid’s shot.
I’d like to make it my screen-saver.