Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pure Joy

Last week, I had a first time experience.

My 9 year old daughter Ashley, in her first year of organized basketball of any kind, scored a basket on a regulation 10 foot rim in a real youth league game. She is the defacto point guard (because she can dribble and is fast) and she drove past her defender and fired up a shot and it went in.

She had the look of pure, unfiltered joy on her face. She put her hands to her cheeks and just stood there, staring at the conquered steel rim. She then looked over into the stands, trying to find us, and when she saw us in the crowd she just started giggling, then skipped back down the court to play defense.

She had been close before. In the 2nd game of the season she intercepted a pass and dribbled down the court and missed two layups. She was devastated.

This was also the first time she had ever scored in any sport, ever. Three years of soccer -- no goals. Five games of basketball and up til now -- zippo. So when it finally happened it was like the weight of the world flew off her shoulders.

As for me, I was filled with so much happiness I could barely contain myself. I knew how much this meant to Ashley and when she scored I swelled up with emotion. It wasn't a "hey look at my kid!" type of thing. I was just thrilled for my daughter because she had been working hard at this for weeks.

As some of you know, I play basketball a few times a week. On Tuesdays I have been taking Ashley with me to get in about an hour of shooting before my 30 and over old man league starts. She gets better every week. She has this little spin move down that works on other 3rd grade girls 90% of the time. She's just so small that she needs an extra second to really get a shot off.

Physically she's a carbon copy of her mother and if you know me -- you will immediately recognize how lucky she is that:

A: She looks like my beautiful wife
B: She does not look like me. A female version of Bill -- no one wants to see that.

It's weird, because as a kid I was a gargantuan 3rd grader. Some of that was genes but a lot of that was my grandmother's biscuits and gravy. I really hoped that Ashley would get more of her mom's looks-- as believe me growing up an overweight kid is a bitch. In fact it wasn't until I was in college that I lost about 80 pounds and reached some level of acceptance with my weight. 185 is so much nicer than 265.

I did not want Ashley to go through that -- especially as a girl.

Well, she's a mighty mite. The smallest girl on the team, but the funny thing about that is she's normal, height/weight wise according to the doc. It may be just me, but kids are freaking huge today. Just plain fat. I should know. I was one. On her team pot bellies are the norm. Some of that is baby fat but some is also Cheetos.

Anyway, today Ashley plays at 3:45.

I told her I expect a triple double.