A bounce pass couldn't hurt
This is a semi-regular space to share the cosmic humor in being a parent in a humorous world.
I have a basketball hoop in my driveway, though not because I am an avid hoopster. Nor are my three little girls destined for the WNBA. It was just there when we got here.
But I like taking a few shots now and then, so I asked for a basketball for my birthday. Or was it Christmas? I can’t remember. I can’t remember because I am old - far too old to be asking for a basketball as a present. Still, when the girls are drawing pretty chalk scenes on the driveway, I might amuse myself with a hook shot or a fade-away.
This particularly night, my five year old was finishing up her play. As we put her toys and chalk back together, I spotted the basketball. “This would be a nice opportunity to do some sports together,” I thought. I like to pick her up and let her “dunk” the ball. The hoop is a little low, about 8.5 - 9 feet tall. She is barely strong enough to shoot the ball in from just a few inches away.
Instead of just “shooting” some baskets however, I asked her if she wanted to learn the game a little bit. She is interested, so we start with dribbling. “Ow!” She tries to dribble with her hand completely stiff, and of course jams a finger. Ok, no problem. “Let’s try passing the ball back and forth,” I suggest. And so we do some bounce passes.
Now when I write “bounce passes” what I literally mean is just letting the ball roll out of my hands and having it naturally spring up to her about waist high. She is your typical five year old princess, and although I encourage her to play outdoors and participate in sports, she hasn’t yet mastered basic coordination or strength.
So with each pass to her, she jumps back from the ball like it’s covered in spikes or made of stainless steel. I try to explain to her that it’s just a ball and there’s nothing to be afraid of. “Do you trust me? I wouldn’t hurt you,” I say. “Stand your ground, sweetheart, you got this!”
Now she’s resolved and ready to go. Partly, she wants to impress me. Maybe mostly.
And maybe my adrenaline is now flowing a little more that it needs to be. Because the next pass is a little too fast and bounces a little too high. And she stands her ground. And the ball hits her right in the mouth.
“Please don’t tell mom…”
I’m happy to say she shook it off fairly well. But I don’t think she’s going to play basketball with me for a few days.
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