To close off teeshirt week, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the teeshirt I have owned the longest and can still wear: my very first basketball jersey, all the way from 3rd grade.* I don’t remember the name of our team, who was on my team, or how we did; all I know is that I fell in love with the sport almost immediately.
It’s weird to think about this, since I played basketball from 3rd-8th grade, 6 years. I haven’t played in four, and I’ll admit, sometimes I miss it. And that’s another weird thought, since most people know me as the stationary literary nerd nowadays. But let me tell you, back in the day, I was kind of a jock.
Well, ok, I don’t think I ever actually reached jock status, I was never that good, but I wasn’t horrible either.
I’m sitting in Borders right now, sipping a white chocolate mocha, a scene that is pretty typical of my current life. It seems wrong that I’m writing about basketball, though. I should be whining about my feelings or something. But no, I want to write about a sport.
I’ll admit, not everything about basketball was fun. I have never been a good runner (these short little legs don’t carry me very far), so the whole keeping up with people thing was difficult. But I was a good shooter, for the most part, and I was very aggressive. Maybe that’s not so anachronistic, the aggressive part.
See, no matter what sport I played, be it basketball or volleyball, I was always on the ground. It didn’t matter how I got ahold of the ball, but dag-nab-it, I was going to get it. I was always the kid wrestling the basketball out of another girl’s arms, always the kid throwing myself forward to keep something from going out of bounds. I’ve never broken a bone, but I think probably every available surface on my body has been bruised or scraped.
Why am I telling you all this? Honestly, I have no idea. The original intent of this post was to tell you how much I loved basketball. Sure, I had some bad experiences with it later on, but even now, picking up the ball and shooting a couple hoops calms me down. And I hate to say it again, but isn’t that weird?
I’m a writer! A blogger! A loner! A sit-in-one-place-for-five-hours person! Why on earth do I have such a strong connection with a sport that requires running, precision, and teamwork?
I think it has to do with the history. My history, that is. Basketball was the first place that I really felt included. Elementary school was no where near as awful as middle school and high school were, but I’m not gonna lie and say that I had tons of friends. I mean, I spent most of first grade napping on the sidewalk during recess.
Basketball gave me a sense of camaraderie that I never felt again. Even in my later years, when people would gossip about me in the locker rooms while I warmed up, we were a team, and even if just for the duration of the game, they respected me. They had my back.
I made a lot of friends through basketball. First there was Kaden, who got me into it in the first place. I met him in second grade, and I loved him all the way until middle school, even though he moved sometime around fourth grade. The people I hung out with during 6th grade were on my team. Then I met Dylan through lunchtime basketball games. Then I met Kenzi and Brittany, the people who would introduce me to the group of girls I hung out with all the way through this year.
Basketball has given me more than I ever realized, and writing this post, I am a little sorry I didn’t try out for the team in high school. Of course, I wouldn’t have made the team, because the girls I would be competing with were already eons ahead of me, athletically speaking. I couldn’t run fast enough, I recently discovered I had asthma, and I could only make about half of the shots I took.
But I will never stop loving the game. Maybe I’ll join an intramural team in college. Or maybe I’ll always keep a basketball beside my bed, waiting for the day that I just need to run a few layups.
*My mom has tried to throw away this shirt more times than I feel the need to count. She hates it. I once went through a stage where I would only wear jerseys like this. Finally, I threw away all but this one. I just can’t trash it. We have quite a history together.