Today's song : My buddy Joycey sent me an MP3 file of a song called "I've Never Seen a Straight Banana," by Harry Reser. It's a great tune, but if he really wanted to see a straight banana, I think he may have been looking in the wrong places, frankly...(if anyone out there wants a copy, let me know...it's fun, and you'll be humming it all day.)
I finished another chapter of The Late Night Show this week. Finished it up in the gymnasium of Tiger's school, while he was at basketball practice.
I'm pleased to say, when it comes to sports, Tiger's taking after my dad. I actually tried basketball for two years when I was a kid, at my father's urging, and hated every minute of it. I used to dread the moments that I was called to play on the court, because I knew that I was probably going to drop the ball if it was ever tossed my way. And I hated the changing rooms, even more. This was back in fourth and fifth grade, and I used to run into the bathroom stalls, so I wouldn't have to change in front of anyone.
Tiger, on the other hand, definitely has the mojo. I sat there on Saturday, drowning in a sea of parents, scribbling away into my yellow legal pad, but watching him the whole time, out of the corner of my eye. Every five minutes or so, I'd put the paper down and just stare at him, so that, if he looked in my direction, he'd see me there, paying attention, reading to give him one of a thumbs up. I didn't want him to think I was wrapped up in my own little world.
And he was good, I tell you. The first shot he took was effortless, and from quite a distance, for a little guy. Without moving forward at all, he just stretched his arms out...and threw. And in it went, swoop, just like that. The coach told him he's one of the best shooters on the team. That's saying something, for second grade!
He's so fun to watch on the court. The coach told him to move around, in a "triple threat" stance, which means slightly hunched over, arms out, a little ball of energy. Tiger's got all that, but he kind of moves in a jumpy kind of fashion...hopping like a bunny instead of gliding like a cat. When he does run, to the other end of the court, he throws off the triple threat stance and ends his run with a little swoop, as though he's in fight mode in anime.
After about ten minutes, the coach switches the kids that are on the court. The coach is a commanding kind of guy, with a big booming voice. He's husky, in his early thirties, with a thick blond head of hair. He wears gray sweats and a red windbreaker that does nothing to hide his huge, ballooning gut. He must be a former football player. He takes his job seriously and says stupid things like, "You gotta like that hustle!" I was kind of shocked, when I first heard it come out of his mouth. I didn't really think people said things like that.
I watch Tiger, as his turn on the court ends, and he sits down. He moves to the side of the court and crosses his legs. He starts whispering to the kid next to him. Crosses his legs. I look down, and I realize that I'm sitting there, Indian style, myself.
He squinches up his eyes, looking around for me. He's going to need glasses, I realize, and I hope that doesn't hold him down. But I don't think so. He's got his own style and swagger, and although he could with a bit more confidence, he's a thoughtful guy, and not unhappy at all. He's curious and inquisitive, and I think, when my Dad goes to see him next weekend, he'll be damn proud.
It's funny. When I think back on my time in elementary school, I remember things, but not a ton. I remember wandering around the schoolyard during recess, flinging two paper plates that I had stapled together, pretending it was the Jupiter 2, lost on an adventure. I remember a friend I had, Steven, who was obsessed with digging a tunnel in his back yard that would lead to my house. I remember summer days playing Monopoly for hours on my front steps with my best friend, Jimmy. I wonder what memories my kids will retain, as time works like a sieve on the experiences that they're having today?
It's snowing out again, and there's a lot of black of ice. All you cats, out driving tonight, who are in my area, be careful, y'hear?
(photo from the Brookside museum, http://www.brooksidemuseum.org/exhibits/school2.jpg)