“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” so says the Good Book. This quote rang true as I sat courtside, proudly watching our son take his first basketball class. 

I am not athletic, well, not overtly so. Maybe deep, deep inside, in another life, I will be athletic. And by athletic I mean I have never participated in any competitive sports, unless you count the one time I showed up to basketball practice at an ungodly hour, and in the dim light of dawn, got whacked in the face by a flying basketball. It goes without saying that that ended any hopes I had of participating in that violent game. I mean, if something whacks you in the face once, it’s an accident. If it happens again, well, you know what W says about fool me once, or was it fool you once? He couldn’t figure it out either. Point is, someone got fooled and it ended badly. 

I don’t own any athletic medals, not even the sympathy ones I’m told they give people just for showing up, to massage their bruised egos; this scam ensures that the hapless optimists keep paying to take classes for something they have no hope of ever being even mediocre at. Also, they award these medals so the disappointed participants don’t go home wailing like they are at a Luo funeral where the food and alcohol have run out, which, as you can imagine, is very bad for business. 

Imagine walking into a building to enroll in a sport only to be met by an exodus of wailing faces, you would be forgiven for thinking that a nyaunyo wielding Kenyan policeman runs the show, at which point anyone would understand why you hightailed it out of there, in the style of our Jamaican brethren.

I digress. We enrolled our son in basketball. We rolled up to the court, meeting a family of three first timers on our way in. We were a flurry of first timers, if you will, or maybe a school? I don’t know, the point is, there were many of us. As we entered the building, with its massive courts and spotless, shiny floors, we watched as some older kids practiced, their coordinated movements proof that they were not likely to end up in the sympathy medal crew. (SMC)

Classes started, the coach guiding the kids through handling, dribbling and passing the ball. Our son scored right away, beginner’s luck boosting his confidence and giving me hope that his face would not be meeting the business end of a basketball on his first try. About ten minutes into the hour-long class, one of the kids, who had been curiously watching the coach and the gaggle of budding basketballers, slowly started to step away from the court, moonwalk style. He did it so stealthily that, had he not been in my immediate line of sight, I would not have noticed this stealth-mode escape in action. The kid may have a future in clandestine operations.

You see, in the spirit of living his best life, he decided that he had given the game of basketball a fair shake, and seeing as YOLO, he proceeded to lay down on the spotless floor and snuggle a basketball. Now there’s an untapped market- snuggle ball, send me royalties when that idea blows up and makes you bazillions, will ya? The YOLO boy’s siesta persisted through the cacophony of dribbling basketballs, sneaker soles squeaking on the shiny floor, the occasional meltdown when scores were missed, and high fives when scores were made. He woke up just as the final whistle blew, made a beeline for the bleachers and left with his parents without so much as a backward glance.

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