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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The unexpected journey

I never really thought I had it in me,
A compulsion of a different nature.
Lived out over two seasons, never ending
And unconnected to the weather; Summer and Winter by name,

Developing, building, returning to the 'fundamentals',
Religiously searching for 'the answer',
And of course, realizing,
The futility of
That search.

The danger, always there,
Of devotion to the victor's cause, at the expense of the 'pawns',
The players, noticeable, tempting,

The tone, volume of my voice,
Representative of power?
A strategy which devalues 'the other'
Team, forgetting,
Their human richness;
And similarity to 'us';

Or even falling for the Aussie,
Penchant for undercutting,
Of the upholder of standards in black and white,
Could he/she actually be wrong/right?
The ref, 'c'mon ref!'
Exploiting technicalities for advantage,
All of this,
Representative of an inability to win,
Or for that matter,
Lose well.

This unexpected journey,
Started slowly,
For me, called up to
Coach 'the team',
My son, seven, my daughter nine.

Slowly, with few ideas,
Having played the game socially,
12 years ago.
Let's try a layup!
Dribble races, shoot a few goals if you can.

To no avail, first game 82 -
2, scoreline against us,
Still a win in that our only scorer
The littlest of all,

Also notice, the us, in
'against us',
And my vicarious participation in
this game.

It is to be these little victories that count
For more,
In the long run
Than the emphatic.

As I enter into the world
Of the pacing
Scrawling X and O
Onto whiteboard
Having learnt from YouTube,
A manual, another coach,
Using too many words, instead of listening -

- To the wise
Prophet, four foot guard,
In no unlikely terms,
"coaches put their hands in too",
"I just went on!",
and the inevitable tears of
the misunderstood.

So in the end,
My spirit of connection,
To the cause,
Cemented by my return,
To competitive basketball,
After fourteen years away,
Is strengthened by the wins,

Like Amelia's.
Coming from fourth on
The hierarchy,
And overcoming the team with
No losses
By surprise and

Making it through overtime,
Winning on the buzzer,
But more than all of this,
Winning when everyone
Thinks we've lost.