Off the Court

May 18, 2010
By , Dallas, TX
Oh no, here comes my dad rolling in the drive way, in his 1987 Cadillac. I rushed downstairs, grabbed my basketball, and went outside to my hoop, and dribbled the ball so my dad could see me. He waved as he drove in, and had a smile on his face cheek to cheek, so I knew he was happy to see me on my old hoop.

I had been doing this routine as long as I could remember. I would rush downstairs as my dad drove his car in so he could see me play basketball for just a second. My dad had gotten me a hoop when I was two and thought that I loved it.

My dad was the only mechanic for 150 miles so he was busy around the clock, and Sunday too. He was a high school basketball star and managed to play some at the community college, but that was it. When he got home at 11:30 p.m. he would tell me about all of his games, and he would ask how my games at the recreation center were. I would say I was the star of the team and every one would like me. The only thing I would really play would be third string left bench. People on the team nick named me, “Pine Boy,” because after sitting on the bench for an hour, my shorts would get pine stains from the wood.

One Sunday, my dad came home early from work. He NEVER came home from work before eleven p.m., and today he was back at two in the afternoon.

He screamed, “Jason, get down here! I have a surprise for you.

I went downstairs with my palms sweating, and my heart racing faster and faster. For some reason my gut was having a tingling sensation.

My dad had a million dollar grin on his face. “I got the afternoon off and I thought it would be great if I could take you to the recreation center to play some pickup basketball with other kids,” my dad said.

“Why? Basketball season isn’t for a month?” I said nervously.

“I know, but its basketball you are never off season,” said my dad.

We got into his Cadillac and drove a mile and a half to the recreation center. As soon as I opened the gymnasium door, I had a chill run down my spine. The court had not been waxed since its opening in 1979, there was only one basket with half a net, and the smell of the area could make you puke. To most people out of town this place would be a dump, but if you were from our town you would have a sense of pride walking on the court. You can’t ruin the reputation of the people who played on the court before you, or you will be swarmed by guilt.

I went to the group with about six boys my age. We started with lay-ups. All seemed well until I came up. I took a dribble tripped over my shoelace, and fell to the floor. Everyone laughed at me and my dad’s face was as red as a fire truck. I knew he was angry. All of the drills were like this throughout the day ending in laughter. After about thirty minutes, my dad had enough and went straight for the car. The clinic was over fifteen minutes later and I went to the car.

My dad had the worst expression on his face when he said, “Jason, that was embarrassing and I can’t believe you lied to me about being an all star.”

I replied, “I have to lie! You are never home to teach me or play with me.”

“You know that I am the only mechanic in town for 150 miles! I don’t have the time!” rebutted my dad.

“Well, you love basketball so I didn’t want to disappoint you!” I screamed.

“Jason, no matter what you are my son. I support you in whatever you want to do,” responded my dad.

The rest of the car ride was silent the way home. I was surprised, but embarrassed about our conversation. We went to go get pizza and my dad said that we needed to have a better relationship and he would try to get home every day before seven. I felt the gap in my heart fill up knowing that my dad would be proud of me no matter what even if it was Off the Court.

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AnonUhmus said...
Jun. 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm
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