Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Real Dick Move

My brother and I grew up playing basketball. Literally.

Nerf Hoops. Of course.

Then we shot balled up socks into exposed piping that formed a convenient little square in the basement.

Then a home-made wooden backboard and rim roped to the railing of the porch.

Then, finally, the grown-up full court a mile from the house. Same one where Pop met Mom so many years prior when he was a sweaty, motorcycle-riding kid with range out to 25 feet and she was a pretty, long-haired playground supervisor.

One day, a neighbor up the street drove some plywood into the ground and erected a hoop where the edge of his property met the concrete road. Right next to a streetlight. And just to the left of well-groomed shrubs lined like sentries in front of a grumpy old bastard's house.

Naturally, Youngblood and I made the hoop our own. The guy who put it up didn't mind. But the grumpy old bastard did.

After several weeks of pounding the ball against 9th Avenue and banking baskets every afternoon, evening and remaining parts of the day, the grumpy old bastard had had enough. When our ball bounced over his shrubs for the 30 dozenth time, he called the cops.

He called the cops on a 10-year-old kid and his 12-year-old brother. Whose only crime was gently walking around his shrubs and carefully retrieving their basketball from his yard. 30 dozen times.

We didn't believe him at first. But when we saw the lights flashing in the distance, we broke into full sprints and didn't stop until we were safely crouched back home in the basement cubby hole.

Three days later, the hoop was gone. And we were left to trek back to the place where Pop met Mom. Not such a bad fate. But what that grumpy old bastard did was the definition of a dick move.

Tonight, I just did the same thing. Sorta.

After work. And the gym. I'm pulling into the parking lot outside my house. There are only 2 spaces available for each unit. My 2 roommates had both beaten me home. No problem. There's a patch of pavement at the end of our parking lot that stores about 10 cars each night.

As well as a portable basketball hoop.

It was 8:30ish. Dark. And there was a lonely kid shooting around. With a cell phone to my ear, I focused only on not hitting him as I wedged into a spot about 15 feet left of the hoop. Got out of the car. Gathered my stuff. Went inside. Finished the call.

As I was pulling out some food to throw together some dinner, a light bulb went off:

I just parked on that kid's court.

Mind you, there are no lights for this court. And there were already 4 other cars parked on the patch shared by the hoop. But still.

A real dick move on my part.

I ran back outside to move my car and apologize to the kid, but he was already gone. I stood there feeling ashamed of myself.

And then I remembered, he had this weird hitch in his shot. Next time, I'll shoot some baskets with him and see if we can correct that.

I owe the kid that much.

No comments: