When I was a kid, I was one of the worst basketball players around. I had a very poor shooting technique to go along with my short stature. My vertical leap just barely qualifies as a leap, um, maybe. My coordination is questionable and my basketball judgment is poor. Still, I played and I tried. The only things I had going for me is my defense (my short stature enabled me to steal the ball from taller players easily) and a very strange uncanny hook shot from 30 feet or more away from the hoop.
Being short, my jump (for lack of a better term) shots were easily blocked and trying to drive to the rim was out of the question. I found if I hooked my shot, it went higher in the air and was less likely to get blocked by taller players. The shock on their faces when my circus shots went in was always priceless.
OTHER PLAYER: What was that?
ME: My hook shot.
OTHER PLAYER: Is that legal?
ME: Why wouldn’t it be?
OTHER PLAYER: Um, I dunno. It just looked weird.
Upon reflection, my hook shot does look weird. I got so good at it, however, that it became my main and only weapon if I played. My accuracy with these shots was nearly legendary. One of my sons, who grew up to be a half-foot taller than me, still marvels at the only shot of mine he couldn’t block…and he actually could jump.
It’s been a number of years since I’ve played, but I can tell you about the last time I attempted a layup. It was probably 23 years ago. The shot actually went in, but my Achilles tendon was sacrificed during the attempt. It snapped cleanly in half when I made the greatest leap in my life, um, probably a good 15 inches off the ground. It was a good leap! I just missed dunking the ball by only 3 feet or so! It was my moment of basketball glory!
After the operation and year-long recovery, I resolved to never jump like that again. I was back to my famous hook shot as my only weapon. The positive thing about that was not only my accuracy but the fact that since it was my only shot, my defender would guard me more tightly from further away from the rim and it usually opened a clean passing lane to teammates. I became an unselfish teammate out of pure necessity.
Now on defense, I was a beast. Like I said, being short had a distinct advantage when I played against taller players. I became pretty good at stealing the ball when they would do their giant dribbling. Of course, sometimes I would misjudge and commit a foul, but that was just part of my game.
REF (after blowing the whistle): Foul on Dazeodrew!
ME: What do you mean foul! I stole it cleanly!
REF: No, actually, you mauled the poor guy.
ME: How do you figure that?
REF: Not only do you have the ball, but you also have his shirt, one sock, and I’m not sure what you did with his shoe!
ME: Oh sure, be all nitpicky about it!
So, as you can tell, I didn’t pursue my basketball dreams that I had as a kid. With refs like that, I don’t think my style of play would take me very far. Maybe another sport…
SIDELINE JUDGE: FOUL! FOUL!
ME: What do you mean, foul?
SIDELINE JUDGE: You tackled the opposing player!
ME: He had the ball!
SIDELINE JUDGE: This is tennis, you idiot!
Sigh…maybe sometime I’ll tell you how my golf outing went…it’ll be a short story because they won’t let me back on the course. Seriously, though, how do you not tackle a guy wearing bright red pantaloons?