Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Basketball Sam

There's a new passion at my house.

Late in the afternoon Sam heads to the driveway to shoot hoops.  He pauses for a moment, carefully considering the first shot. He goes into his layup position. And shoots the ball directly up through the hoop and then watches the ball gleefully as it makes its decent back down through the net. Since it went through the hoop twice, does it count for double points? No matter. Mission accomplished. Sam dissolves into incontrollable laughter. 

“Sam,” I admonish. “Do it the right way. Come on, sink it.” He smirks and casually throws the ball up, hitting the backboard. As he catches it on the rebound he announces, “Awww. You missed it.” Shooting again, he sinks the ball with ease. He lays up for a second shot and sinks that as well. 

“Come on,” I call out. “Three it a row. You can do it.

And he can do it. I’ve seen him. But apparently not today. He is having far more fun playing the game by his rules and getting a reaction out of me.  

“Sam,” I say. “How are you ever going to play for the NBA if you shoot that way?”  He laughs, “Awww. Mommy is sad. Waaah, waaah, waaah.”  Hopeless, I think.

Sam is occupied so I leave for a moment to grab a sweater. I discretely check from my upstairs window. To my surprise he begins to play the game as it should be played, narrating his shots all the while:

“Jump shot!” he announces. Though his feet never leave the ground, he sinks it. From another angle he sinks it again, saying “Again!” When the next one skirts the rim without making it through he encourages himself with, “Nice try!” With the next shot, as it hits the backboard and ricochets back, he emits a low, “Not quite.” He repositions and sinks another and punctuates with a simple, “Yes!” He catches most of the rebounds and sinks the majority of his shots.

The words I hear are not his, of course. Somewhere he is playing with Tom, Brendan or Dante, echoing the words he has heard them say.

On my return Sam immediately heads under the net to toss the ball up and through. The Sam I saw through my window has disappeared. As he slyly glances at me his expression seems to say basketball rules were meant to be broken and mothers exist to be annoyed.

I read while he plays for another 15 minutes or so. The game ends when the ball hits backboard and he misses as it quickly bounces, picks up momentum and lands over the wall and deep into the woods. “Game over!” He announces with a smile. And into the house we go.

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  1. Just curious if Sam likes watching basketball (or other sports) on tv? My older son (13, autism) likes playing sports (kinda), but has no interest in watching them on tv.

    1. No, can't say he is much of a sports watcher. He does like a live game, though. To Sam, TV's best use is for rewinding DVDs or watching Nick reruns.