Thursday, February 22, 2007

over and back

My alarm clock is set to turn on the radio when it alarms. I like one of the local oldies stations, "KOMA", so usually I can count on knowing the song that orders me out of bed into the productive world of work. This morning they were talking about women's college basketball and how the local university teams were doing. I turned it off, bemoaning the morning, and proceeded with my morning routine.

In the shower I started thinking about playing basketball. I played in a youth league as a kid, but I was no Pistol Pete. I really like to watch basketball games -- live -- tv basketball tends to make me to go sleep. I especially like watching high school basketball, most especially Wildcat games with my uncle who has a designated seat behind the team.

And, lo, a memory:

When I was working on my degree in education I really wanted to find some way to make me a really marketable teacher. After all, good looks and charm can only get a girl so far. I studied the course catalog and was excited to find a class that I knew would land me the perfect middle school English-teaching gig.

That's right. I signed up for a class called Coaching Women's Basketball. It was a lower level credit and I really thought that I would be able to figure it out. After all, I'd watched all kinds of basketball games...

The first day I walked in and there were seven people in the class. They obviously knew each other because they had all been talking and then went silent when I took a seat. They looked at me. I looked at them. For a girl I'm tall, but they were mammoth. I was fit*, but they were built. Something was wrong with this picture.

Then the teacher came into the room and looked at me like I was lost. He said, "This is the coaching basketball class." I nodded. I was in the right place, if only literally and not figuratively. My behemoth classmates talked to the young teacher like they all knew each other.

He handed out the syllabus and explained what we would do and be responsible for in the class. He said we would be watching a lot of tapes of the games and discuss plays and such. He went on, but the whole time he was talking, he was mostly looking at me, and I'm sure it wasn't because of my good looks and personal charm.

We went around the room and told each other what we wanted out of the class. As I had expected, my companions were all actively playing basketball for the university. When it was my turn to speak I told them about coaching middle school basketball. They looked at each other and nodded, making faces that implied I wouldn't be setting the curve on those exams.

After I'd finished the day's studies I went back to my dorm room and dropped the class, the only class I dropped the whole time I was at MTSU. It wasn't meant to be, but it makes a good story!
I should have known to be wary of those things basketball. The year before I had taken a Foreign Literature in Translation class. I wrote a stellar paper that was a big basketball analogy. It was beautiful. I compared the journey that the protagonist of the story made and the reactions of his family and friends to basketball plays and fouls. It was one of the papers I was most proud to turn in... but, lo, my professor did not understand basketball. I made a C on an A+ paper. Subsequently, I did not make any other sports metaphors on further assignments.

And now? The Hater and I play basketball video games. I love to play the zone under the basket. We are a devastating force to beat. We're currently bringing Creighton to its glory, and hoping for an opportunity to move to a midmajor school soon.

My last second three-pointer just swished the net. Sweet.

* That was the same semester where I did 950 consecutive sit-ups in a weight-lifting class.


Molly Jane said...

You know...I've experienced that feeling of being a "foreigner." It ain't no fun. At least you made what would have been an otherwise ordinary first day of class interesting for some mediocre basketball players.

I can do 20 situps...wah wah waaaaah (Debbie Downer theme...)

If this is your last day of work I hope it goes smoother than soft serve on a hot summer afternoon.

Love ya girl!

Anonymous said...

Neat post. Coincidentally the Lady Cats host the first round of the Region Tournament tonight at 7:00 against M'boro Seigel. Think good thoughts. You can check out the game at For basketball fans the next few weeks are special times. Tonight I will look across the gymnasium and wave to the drummer.....and remember.

Kate said...

Holy hell.. 950 situps?!