Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just one more shot, and I'll go...

She stepped into the gymnasium of her local workout facility to run a few laps and do her lunges when she was suddenly taken back to a different time. Perhaps it was the flashing scoreboard, mistakenly left on from the previous night’s pick-up games--or maybe it was the gleaming wood floor or the smell of the room that reminded her of her younger days playing on her high school’s basketball team. As she jogged around trying to keep her heart rate up, she saw several balls left randomly on the court from the night before. They seemed to beckon her, “come, pick me up…you know you want to.”

She kept jogging, but as she rounded her last corner; she let impulse take over and grabbed a ball. It’s round surface seemed to fit so naturally in her palms, even after all of these years off the court. She ran her fingers over the surface, which had been made smooth by the oils on the many hands that had touched it before her. She remembered the many afternoons and evenings she'd spend practicing shots in her driveway, trying to perfect her form.

Looking around to make sure no one was watching, or worse--actually chuckling at the sight of a make-up barren mother in her mid thirties living a moment from her youth, she took a few dribbles and shot. A miss. Not even close. A quick rebound, pivot ,and she shot again, this time banking the ball right in the net. Next, a few lay-ups, and then she let loose with her favorite—the hook shot. She was not a huge fan of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but she had to admit, he had something with the hook. That shot had gotten her through many a game against the other forwards who were inches taller and heavier than she had been. It was unblockable, if executed correctly.

As she let the ball come back to her hands, dribble after dribble, she realized something important about herself. She would always be a team sort of player. And, she really missed that feeling of being on a team in her life. Now a stay-at-home mother for more than seven years, it dawned on her that is probably the one thing she lost in her life over the past few years that she’d longed for the most. Yes, her family was her team, her posse you might say, and she loved them more than life itself. But, it was not the same really.

She remembered the pregame warm-ups, the locker room pep talks, and the feeling of celebration with her friends after a hard-earned victory. She recalled the long practices and difficult drills, even the punishing “lines” they ran for showing up late to practice or for goofing off. They’d all suffered through it together. She was not the star of the team, but a solid contributor. But, she recollects that even when she was in the midst of high school play, she appreciated just being on a team more than being the high scorer or getting the most playing time. And, she hoped that her kids had the opportunity in their teen years to be on some sort of team, because it had taught her so many valuable lessons about working with others toward a common goal. Her adult years saw her leaving team sports behind, but she got that same sort of camaraderie from her work groups, she supposed.

It was not until she left it all to stay home, a decision she would struggle with for years to come but never regret making, that she lost that feeling of being on a team. Now, she completed her workouts alone with headphones to keep her company. Even her scrapbooking group was more people working on their own individual projects. So, it wasn’t really the same. There was a distinct difference between gatherings with friends, which she enjoyed, and this feeling she’d grown up with playing on sporting teams.

She took a deep breath and took a few more jump shots, taking in the smell of the leather ball. Closing her eyes, she could still see herself on the court with her friends all those years ago. Their dreams of victory hovering right before them, that was all that mattered at the time.

The theme at Mama Says Om this week is "smooth." Go check out what other writers had to contribute for this week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Momcat, Great writing. I understand where you are coming from, and the feelings of camaraderie that comes with a team working to accomplish a goal.

I quit playing team sports way too early during my teen-age years only to start back up during my college days. Now in my mid-30's I finally quit playing sports a few years back after too many injuries and aches and pains. Part of me will always yearn for those days, and it makes me wonder why I put other things in my life (from age 14-18) ahead of the sports that I enjoyed so much. I am glad that you had that moment, and I am sure it brought back many memories. Keep up the good writing Momcat!

P.S. You must have perfected a really good hookshot, because the times when I have played with my wife I usually swat it away and let her know to "keep that weak sh*t outta here!"

9:25 PM, December 07, 2006  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

Anonymous, your P.S. completely gave you away. Thanks for the support though. And, a big AS IF on that "swat away" stuff...keep dreaming dearheart...

9:56 PM, December 07, 2006  
Blogger Nicole said...

Great post. I wonder if it's the holiday season making us all more nostalgic. I've been feeling the same way about my younger days...

10:08 AM, December 08, 2006  
Blogger Love Squalor said...

beautiful writing! i'm new to the site but i am enjoying it so much - thank you for sharing here.

5:32 PM, December 08, 2006  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

Thank you for coming back, squalor!

8:18 AM, December 12, 2006  

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