Friday, February 05, 2016

Not Like Riding a Bike

You pick up the ball, but it feels awkward in your hands.  Too heavy, or maybe too light.  It's hard to believe there was once a time you were even decent at this at all.

You look at the goal, but it seems too high or too far away.  You decide to dribble a couple of times, an attempt to get a feel for the game once again.

There's no one around, so you shoot.  You miss the goal by a foot and the ball bounds harmlessly, first on the pavement then into the grass.

Air ball.

It was always your tradition, or compulsion, to make your last shot of the day.  Which today might very well be your first shot of the day.  So you retrieve the ball, dribble back to the same spot and try again.

Though it feels as clumsy as the first, this time the ball clangs off the backboard then the side of the rim.  A little closer.

As you try and miss a third time, you wonder if it will ever feel as it once did, years ago when you could sometimes sense where the goal was and make the basket without even looking.

You think most likely not.  O, how you took those times for granted.

Finally, on your seventh or eighth or ninth attempt, the ball drops through the rim unscathed, making that sweet, once-familiar sound as it swishes through the nylon.

And you think maybe -- with good weather, countless hours of practice and frustration, and help from above -- you can learn to write again.

Just pray no one sees that first shot.

"Keep on dreamin' even if it breaks your heart..."