Aw.Glowing hard wood.The stink of socks and sweating bodies.The squeak of sneakers.The bong bong bong of the b-ball.The steady muttering of low level cussing.

Basketball probably saved my ass.

I tried out for Pony League and made a team.  But I didn’t get to pitch or play much.  Once the coach put me at third base.  A guy makes it to second and—for god’s sake—he tries to steal.  I make like what I have seen on the TV.  I go for the ball with a sweeping motion.  Completely miss.  And the ball hits me right in the testicles.  Fucking-A did that hurt.  So much for baseball.

I had grown nine inches in a year and become quite ill coordinated.  I actually fell over my own two feet on several occasions.  My feet had shot out too.  So I had to reassess my sport’s career.  Suddenly I was towering over my peers.  Obviously I needed to make use of my new found height and basketball recommended itself.  Besides I liked it.

 So I did what I had done with baseball.  I practiced.  As with pitching, I could practice basketball alone.  Out back was an empty space of flat white dirt.  Leche, it was called.  Like milk.  Apparently it was a left over from some ancient time because it had been created out of decomposed sea shells and such.  I decided to put up a hoop and my father said he would help.

I dug a hole, mixed up some concrete and stuck a 15 foot long four by four piece of redwood in the ground.  Bolted to it was a backboard, made out of ply wood and painted white.   The hoop was attached to that.

The playing area was narrow.  I couldn’t go much to the right or I would run into a rock wall that held up the little lawn out back and if I went too much to the left I would go over the edge of the little plateau  down into a field full of anis weed.   But I could shot straight away from at least 20 feet although by that point the ground began to slope and I was shooting at a hoop about six inches too high.

I was pleased.

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