Basketball is Not for Me

July 19, 2010
When I was little, I didn’t mind basketball. I actually kind of liked it. At recess when the big kids took all the tether ball courts and soccer balls, my friends and I would take a basketball and shoot hoops (as second graders we made like, zero). Sometimes in P.E. we would each get a basketball and be ordered to dribble it back and forth across the court. I wasn’t exceptionally good, but I tried and that was what counted.
As I got older, simply trying just didn’t cut it anymore. My parents would sign me and my little sister up for basketball day camp, and we’d go there. I tried, but that didn’t please the people there.
“Hurry up!” They’d yell at me while we rotated around the gym shooting baskets in the different hoops. “You’re holding everyone up!” But the rule was you couldn’t move onto the next hoop until you’d made a basket over at the first one. So I got yelled at for following the rules.
I was always out in bump. I didn’t like bump anyway, so I didn’t mind, but it started to get to my self-esteem just a little. I never got the ball passed to me on the court, although I wouldn’t have passed it to me myself either.
That basketball camp didn’t discourage me. I just figured that oh well, everyone has a few off days. I know I’m not the greatest. I’ll get better!
We moved to a different school after that. It was much better: nicer people, nicer kids, more challenging academics, everything was better. The only problem was how sports-oriented everyone was.
We played basketball and volleyball in P.E. all the time. I was then officially made aware of how important it was to have basketball skills. They had a basketball camp over there during the summers too, and I eagerly went to them.
I didn’t get yelled at; I apprecieated it. But let’s face it, I’m not good at doing drills. I’m not good under pressure. I was generally last to cross the line dribbling, etc. etc. At the end of the week, they gave out awards: best dribbler, best shooter, most improved aim, etc. Every person got an award just because we had to. Guess what I go? Best attitude. That had absolutely nothing to do with basketball. Nothing! Oh well.
As the years went on, I started to get a little bit worried. I knew the rules of basketball. I just was bad at playing. Everyone else joined the team during the winter, but I didn’t. in P.E. I was always messing up; I wouldn’t want to mess up in a game and make us lose. I worked privately on my skills at home, hoping to at least get more coordinated.
In fifth grade I got glasses. That totally made basketball – the second-biggest contact sport – hard for me. I was picked last for teams in P.E., but by this time I was used to it. I didn’t get disappointed: I accepted it with grace and dignity. I was fine with being picked last. It didn’t matter. So what if I’d been So-and-so’s only friend for five months when they first moved here? Loyalty and friendship have nothing to do with basketball. Basketball is like a war: pick the strongest soldiers (or players) you can, get weaklings afterwards.
My friend Tony one day exclaimed, “Mary, think fast!” and chucked a basketball at me. He was standing approximately four feet away from me, and it biffed me right in the face. The impact screwed up my glasses majorly. Tony apologized, but he was a major basketball player and did the same thing about three more times that winter. My glasses were so mangled it wasn’t even funny (well, actually it was…). But the incidents left me with a fear of getting hit in the face. Basketball was now scary.
As the next few years wore on, my sister joined the basketball team. That meant I had to go watch other people play basketball at all the home games (too young to drive anywhere). My mom dragged me to all the high school games that season, and I was so sick of it that the best basketball game I went to was the one I brought October Sky to. Basketball was now officially a point of irritation for me. I no longer even wanted to play basketball. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. The only good basketball is a flat one, that’s how I viewed it.
In P.E., where we were forced to play, I one day was picked fifth from last, not last. I didn’t get excited. I mean, I didn’t even like basketball anymore. But whatever, a break from the usual was always welcome with me. We played, and of course nobody threw me the ball. But oh well. I didn’t care; I didn’t like basketball anyway!
In P.E. we played basketball literally all winter. As in, every single day. Yes, it was torture for me. But oh well.
“Why don’t you go on the team this year, Mary?” my friend Morgan asked me. “It’s really fun.”
No! Basketball is the opposite of fun. “I just don’t feel like it.”
“Do you not know the rules?”
“No, I know them. I just don’t like basketball.”
This put Morgan in shock. Obviously basketball and volleyball were her life. How could I not like basketball? How was this even possible? “Okay… I can’t wait for tomorrow.”
“Yeah.” Bleah. Tomorrow was just more basketball in P.E.
Next day in P.E., Morgan picked me for her team. She threw me the ball a bunch of times, and I’d pass it on to somebody else. She’d try to get me to shoot. She’d try to get me to play point for a few a few minutes. I’d try, to oblige her, but it was… ugg, I was embarrassed.
We lost.
“You did good, Mary.” Morgan said as we headed to the locker room.
“No, I didn’t. but thank you for being so nice about it.”
“No, I mean it. I never really watched your playing before. You actually are pretty okay.” We stopped by the water fountain. “I thought you weren’t so great, but you actually are pretty good. You’re just not good at shooting. I think you could play a good post. You do good rebounds.”
“Oh, thanks,” I said, embarrassed.
I was pleased to know I was a good post. But I still didn’t like basketball. Basketball just isn’t for me. Yes, as a child I liked it. But that was just my good nature, eager to try new things. I know better now. After a little experimentation I found I’m not a contact-sport person. Save me for track any day.

When I was little I actually liked basketball. Nowadays, I really really dislike basketball. That doesn’t mean anything; it’s just not a sport I like. I don’t like sports in general, but track and other non-team sports are calling to me. I might have just as bad an experience with track as I had with basketball.
But then again, maybe not.





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