My First 2 Points in Basketball

My First 2 Points in Basketball

… and Dad cheered me on the entire way


My conflict-averse nature in life rears its peaceful head in my athletic endeavors; I prefer defensive positions in soccer and would rather rebound than shoot in basketball.

My parents spring for me to attend a summer basketball camp, possibly to keep me off the streets and away from trouble or to convert me from a defensive to offensive player, or all of the above.

The main tactic for summer conversion camp is getting the ball in my hands so I can put the ball in the basket without passing it off to a teammate for their glory moment.

Dad stands on the sidelines with other parents during basketball camp, not because he’s a coach but because he’s a supportive Dad (and retired...and social...and possibly bored). Just like the Mr. Mom plotline, Dad is amongst mostly moms, and as Dad’s a little bit of a flirt, I think his attendance at basketball camp is more than just a chauffeuring responsibility for him. Nothing offensive of course.

Look at me being all defensive of my dad.

Speaking of offense and defense, on the basketball court, my play doesn’t have a cute moniker or clever name; it could have been called exactly what it was—“get the ball to Michelle so she can shoot and hopefully score.” With the ball in my hands, I look up to gauge the distance to the basket, wondering if I can just Hail Mary a perfect spiral from where I stand. The basket I’m eyeing is too far even for my advanced athletic arm, so I start dribbling (the ball—nothing about scoring makes me salivate).

Time marches in half time as I coordinate my ball bouncing with my steps. Turns out I’m just slowly trotting the forced trek to the basket. Realizing that getting this over with is in my best interest, I pick up my pace. The volume of cheers increases as my distance to the basket decreases. The loudest voice of all is my dad’s. I zero in on his vocal support, surprised he is able to be drawn away from the Mr. Mom equivalent of playing coupon poker with the moms on the sideline. Once hand-feet coordination is in swing, I’m able to keep my head up and my eyes trained on my destination. Tunnel vision boxes out everything else, including any opposition.

The louder the yells become, the more I train my ears on Dad’s voice. I’m about to score my first two points in basketball, and my dad is there to witness it. 

In gangly form, I throw the ball from my hands and the backboard courts it to the rim where the net embraces it to secure my first score in a new sport.

Just as surprised as everyone else, I turn to get a high five, chest bump or even an appropriate good game from a teammate, coach or the referee, but no one is near me. I had outrun the opposition and my team stood in awe of the fact that I had finally put a ball in the basket.

I turned to the scoreboard to watch my two-point contribution get added to my team's score. But the only numerical movement happens on the opposing team’s side of the board.

It turns out that the opposition didn’t chase me because I was running toward their basket.

And the awe from my team was rooted in the fact that, after all this time trying to get me to score, I scored for the wrong team.

Whether Dad knew or cared about which basket belonged to my team, all I remember is that he cheered me on the entire time.