Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Pretty much everytime I come home I try to find time to go play basketball with my little brother. Basketball was one of the few sports I ever really had any desire to pursue, but I was never very good at it so I kind of just stopped once I hit junior high. I have the height so a lot of people just assume I like to play, but the truth is I dread those moments when someone challenges me.

I thought that maybe if I played with him enough I'd actually start to improve, but our inconsistent practicing routines and my complete lack of technique have left the growth pool pretty stagnant. We always play a little pickup and I use my height to make ridiculous lurp shots in a desperate effort to keep up with him. He plays way better than I do, and that's rather humbling for an older brother. His form, his ball handling, his shot, it all just puts me to shame. And with every ugly shot I miss I have to swallow my pride and bite my tongue, try not to lose my cool.

Today was the first day I think I made any progress. After a pretty intense game to eleven we both realized what wonderful shape we were in and took a breather. I was pretty frustrated and he asked me if I was ready to play another round. I told him it'd be a waste of time and I'd be better off shooting free throws for a half hour. He offered to rebound for me and teach me better form. I winced at his honest condescension and acknowledged that I did need his help. For the next twenty minutes he patiently caught my bricks and occasional airballs and gave me pointers.

"Keep your elbow in when you shoot."

"It's got to be a fluid motion that starts in your legs."

"Put a little more arc on it."

Pretty soon I was dropping them in one after another, amazed at what a little coaching had accomplished. I still missed plenty but the obvious improvement was terribly encouraging. Maybe I won't suck at basketball for the rest of my life.


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