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Friday, 29 July 2011

One More Time

By Mickey Rogers of This, That and the Other

Ever since my son Todd was old enough to walk, he and I have enjoyed playing basketball against each other. Until he was eight, I had to lower the basket from its standard ten feet so that he could get the ball through the hoop. By the time he was 13, I no longer had to “pull my punches;” he was already as tall as his old man and he was extremely athletic.

However, no matter how much he grew or how much he practiced, Todd could never defeat me. If a game was close, I’d scorch him with a hook shot or a long jumper. He told me it was embarrassing to constantly lose to an “over the hill,” fifty-something father.

The following winter was a turning point. One day I awakened to find our driveway covered with six inches of wet, heavy snow. After two hours of shoveling I could barely move. A constant pain shot from my lower back and down through my left hip and thigh.

I took a few pain pills and used quite a bit of rubbing alcohol, but the pain continued to be my constant companion throughout the winter and into the following spring.

One fine spring day, Todd challenged me to a basketball game. I told him that I was still hurting from the snow shoveling incident. In retaliation, he said I was a “chicken” and that I had finally realized that time had passed me by.

Even 54-year-old men retain their pride if not their skills. “You’re on, kid!” I unwisely proclaimed.

“Get ready to go down, old man,” he smartly replied.

Actually, I never had a chance. Todd was 16, super-quick, athletic and stood at an even six feet. His old man, on the other hand, was five feet, eight inches tall, in much pain and was practically unable to move.

Before I made my first basket, he had already hit six. Final score: Kid: 20, Old Man: 8.

All folks know that the time comes to step aside for the next generation. I was certainly willing to accept the fact that time had robbed me of my athletic skills while his were still on the rise. At least, I was still handsome, I assured myself, if viewed in an extremely dark room (old guy humor).

Todd, however, knew nothing about being a gracious winner. Whenever one of his friends came over, he had to gloat about “pulverizing” his father. His jokes about checking out rest homes for me didn’t go over well either.

As a parent, it was my duty to teach my son a touch of humbleness. I wanted him to deal with both winning and losing in a classy way. Therefore, for the next two months I worked hard each day at the gym, toning muscles, losing a little weight but never shedding the pain from my previous injury.

Every evening I worked on shooting, blocking out and playing a smothering defense. I could no longer match my son in length, quickness or athleticism, but I was still stronger than he was and I had a better understanding of the fundamentals of the game.

The time had arrived. To Todd’s utter surprise, I challenged him to another contest. He laughed but he had a puzzled look on his face. Resembling an Egyptian mummy, I was wrapped in bandages from my stomach to my ankles.

Two pain pills taken an hour before our contest had numbed some of the pain.

Todd was befuddled when, after missing his first shot, he was unable to get to the ball; his old man had blocked him out. I had made some strategic changes in my game.

No longer fast enough to get around him, I played like an NBA big guy sticking my rump into him and backing him toward the basket. My first shot was just the beginning of what he was to see throughout the game - a little hook that even a tall and athletic young man could not block.

Despite the pain, I scrambled for every loose ball. Todd couldn’t believe that he was being out-hustled by a 54-year-old guy. Recovering his composure, Todd sank two jumpers and spun around me for a lay-up, making the score 10-6, Dad’s favor.

But then his old man hit three hook shots in a row and the younger guy lost his cool and began taking ill-advised shots. Dad’s winning bucket was another one of those infernal hook shots; it came after Todd’s lay-up attempt was blocked.

Trying to be a good role model, I shook my son’s hand and said, “Good game.”

As I limped away I heard him shout: “You got lucky today, Dad! I’ll get you next time!”

“No you won’t, son,” I countered. “There will never be another time.”

I might have been old, but I wasn’t stupid.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Great story!!

You are a champ and always will be!!

Thanks for a wonderful story!

Temperature in Seaside on Saturday at noon will be 62 degrees.

Temp at Seaside on Saturday, noon will be 67degrees.

Love the story!


Loved this. Thanks so much!

Great story! Just imagine if you tried playing against him now!

Good for you. Sometimes we need to show these young folks a thing or two.


Mustlovecats told me about your latest blog. While visiting her she showed it to me-loved it. Keep up the good work!

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