By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for courtside seats
Little Dribblers. The name does not conjure up pictures of robust athletic types, more the senior citizen types trying to manage their soup. Still, if the five-year-old was to play basketball, he had to start young, and at the beginning…Little Dribblers.
If you are going to have little people playing basketball with small sized basketballs, and goals lowered to eight feet, you would think their uniforms would also be downsized. Not so judging from the size of the uniform he brought home which was supposed to be extra small.
At first I thought he had brought home uniforms for the entire team, or maybe a tent. I tried pulling his shorts up, but that only made him look like he was wearing a strapless dress. I pulled the string in the waist band up to fit him, but then that left six yards of string left trailing behind him. The shirt wasn't much better. When he put it on, it managed to clear the floor by a good two inches. After some major alternations, he was able to take the court looking not unlike one of those blue polyester fluffy balls you use in the bath.
It didn't matter any way. We got down to our last game of the season having yet to win a game. My little dribbler was standing next to me watching the other team warm up; rather, I should say watching #10 on the opposing team sink basket after basket. "I'm dead meat," replied my little polyester ball. The opposing team had stopped warm-ups for a quick drink and to pose for parents to capture those "last game" photos; well, except for #10, he kept sinking baskets. "I'm officially dead meat," came from my little puff ball. I tried to bolster his confidence, but even I knew he was "dead meat."
After the first quarter, the score was 12 to 0 with #10 scoring all the points. The others were there just to make the team official. #10 was a one man team. He stole the ball, he rebound the ball, he dribbled the ball, and he sunk the ball. I expected to see a Nicks scout in the audience. At one point when #10 was momentarily distracted, one of our team members actually scored a goal. The crowd went wild. Ok, all of our parents went wild. I think that may have been the only basket we made during a game all year.
At half-time the score was 20 to 3. I was hoping that in Little Dribblers, they didn't count any score above 20. During this time, both teams were guzzling Gatorade while three of the opposing team members took to the stage in this gymna-cafetorium and gave us some original Fosse choreography while #10 continued to shoot hoops.
It was obvious the others on the "team" knew they were window dressing. One entertained himself by doing a hop-skip-and-jump down the court as #10 sunk basket number seven. Another one tried cartwheels while #10 stole the basketball from one of our players and dribbled down the court for basket number eight.
During the second half, #10 was sidelined for a few minutes to give us a chance, I guess. He cried so hard, the coach finally put him back him. I would have, too. His team mates had each had about three chances to shoot the ball and none of them had scored. During the second half, while #10 added five more goals to the score, his teammates entertained us with an imaginary soccer game using an imaginary ball, a karate exhibition with an invisible foe, and more skipping and jumping.
With a score of 30 to 3, the game was finally over. Both teams gathered around their respective coaches for the presentation of the plastic trophies and the goodie bags filled with candy and gum…well, except for #10, he was still out there shooting hoops.
As we got in the car to leave, the five-year-old turned to his sister and said "Told you I was dead meat." "Yep, totally, can I have some of your gum?" was her sisterly comment.
On the way home, I day dreamed about what it must be like to be the mother of a one man team, of a child so athletically talented with college scholarships flooding in years from now, a future NBA star. My daydream was interrupted by a little hand tapping on my shoulder. "Want to hold my trophy? It's real gold!" "You bet" and I placed the trophy on the dash. I wondered if #10's mom was day dreaming about us.