Monday, January 14, 2008

The great unifier

For Christmas, my 4-year-old got a dry-erase marker book that includes pictures of animal babies one one side and their adult versions on the other. The task is to draw a line, matching the pairs.
In our home, basketball is the great unifier — between mother and son, brother and brother, father and son. There are a handful of things that interest us all together — besides pizza — and the great game of hoops is at the forefront.
This occurred to me Saturday night, as T was winding down before bed with a little game of soft hoop in his bedroom. B was away for the night and his over-the-door hoop suddenly appealed to the 4-year-old. I had discovered the soft plastic basketball on a reconnaissance mission to retrieve T’s two Matchbox cars high at the top of an 8-foot bookcase, flung there in fury.
So, this 4-foot-tall, 40-pounder was repeatedly lobbing the ball upward toward an impossibly high hoop. Mom was implored to "watch," but cautioned against cheering or making disrupting noises. Offers to lower the hoop to a respectible height were refused.
That sentiment is echoed at B’s games, when mom is glared at if she even thinks about hugging him in congratulations. After all, the guys are looking. High-fives are, however, permitted.
B’s games have been fast and furious, since his Parks and Recreation and elementary school leagues have converged with practices. My January-into-February calendar is a veritable Basketball Nation.
There hasn’t been much up until now that captures the attention of both boys, since their ages span more than six years. But in the driveway and in the bedroom, both can play basketball, though it isn’t long before a fight erupts, and mom or dad is drafted to umpire the dispute.
When B plays games, T is known to scream out in his Chipmunk voice, "Go, B! Go, B!" even when B is on the bench. His enthusiasm knows little bounds.
Ah, the mystery of the Y chromosome.

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