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Saturday, December 10, 2005

The best thing I can say about D.J.’s first basketball game is that it was entertaining. There were some spills and minor injuries, but nobody was seriously hurt, either physically or emotionally. Everybody played, and both teams scored baskets. (The other team scored quite a few more, but who’s counting?)

D.J.’s team was either executing the most complex set of plays that any coach ever designed, or they had no idea what they were supposed to be doing. They bunched together on offense, trying to get the ball from each other. They lost track of where they were supposed to be on defense. Every so often, one of them would actually put his (or her) hands up, as instructed. Most of the time they eventually got going in the right direction, but it doesn’t come naturally yet. What comes naturally is going where the ball is. At least that’s a start.

I think most of the six-year-olds on our team had probably never even seen a game before. The best news is that by the end of the game, they were starting to get the idea. Maybe by next week they’ll have it all together. The rules at this level are designed to encourage them to learn as they go. D.J. didn’t get called for traveling until it became obvious he wasn’t going to give up the ball no matter what. If he got stopped, he just started going again. He’ll learn. At least he was playing more or less with his team most of the time, and not by himself.

He looks good in uniform; I have to give him that. And he’s enthusiastic, which makes up for a lot. He played the first and third quarters, and cheered his teammates from the bench the rest of the time. After Wednesday’s practice he was frustrated and angry, but he seemed to be going more with the flow during the game today.

10 December 2005

D.J. streaking out of frame.

The team has kids who will take a shot as soon as they get their hands on the ball, no matter where they are on the court. There are kids who will get to their spot under the basket and work to get open. A few of them look for teammates to pass to when they have the ball. If all the good habits rub off on each other, and if the bad ones get corrected, the team will continue to improve. They’re already better than they were in the two practices I watched.

10 December 2005

Kylie and David.

And during this whole extravaganza, Kylie rested comfortably in the crook of her daddy’s arm, taking it all in.

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You know, the two well-known Americans who died today had more in common than you might think. Richard Pryor changed the nature of comedy and paved the way for the type of stand-up comedian we see at clubs and on TV today. He also brought a kind of dialogue to popular culture that changed the way many people thought, especially about race and social justice. Eugene McCarthy, in his 1968 run for the Democratic presidential nomination, helped galvanize the antiwar movement, and his success in New Hampshire caused Lyndon Johnson to decide not to seek reelection. That showing also encouraged Robert Kennedy to enter the race, creating the type of idealistic campaign that today’s politicians can only aspire to. These are two innovators, both of whom changed history in their own ways.

For other journal recommendations, check out the links page.

One year ago: Windup
"I wouldn’t even know whom to apologize to, so there’s no use dwelling on it. And yet, dwelling is what I do."

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