Saturday, November 24, 2007

Time Passes (and shoots, and scores!)

Ah, Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday of the year. I love the food, the fellowship, and the last gasp of stress-free breath before launching headlong into the Christmas season. I'm also a soft touch when it comes to tradition. One of the traditions in our family the past several years has been that after a HUGE dinner at my favorite Aunt's, my oldest son, David, goes outside and shoots baskets in their driveway. About the time I have completely filled up on dessert, he'll show up wanting me to play with him. Usually, there's the added attraction of mixing it up with my brother-in-law and my nephew; we'll play two-on-two in every possible combination. This year, both of them were sick at home. That left one-on-one. And therein lies the rub. You see, when the boy was younger, I could whip him with ease. Then came the time when I'd take it easy on him, but still win. Now, though, he's a starting guard on the 8th grade B-team, and the only advantage I have is 5 inches and 40 pounds. And the longer we play, the more difficult it becomes to press that advantage. I don't take it easy anymore--it's all-out, throwing elbows, playing my best defense... and in my head, a clock is ticking. If I can't beat him inside of about 20 minutes, he'll step back and drain jumpers on me as I get slower and slower due to his main advantage--25 years. This year, we played dead even for the first 20 minutes. Then--swish, swish. Boy wins by two. There is a certain amount of pride I feel in knowing that my kid is growing up, and is better than I'll ever be. I felt the same pride when I coached the kid who erased my school record in the 100 meters. Oh, forget it. Who am I kidding? He loves beating me--because he hates to lose. Guess who's side of the gene pool that comes from? I'm getting better at faking nonchalance at getting beaten by teenagers. But at the end of the day, it's one more "L" on the win-loss record of life. Pretty soon, him beating me will be a new tradition. Happy holidays, all!

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