(This post will make more sense if you’re already familiar with Kobe Bryant’s Dear Basketball poem!)
From the moment
I started pulling up those knee pads
And hitting imaginary
“Straight down” spikes
Against the wall in the gym
I knew one thing was real:
You were my least favorite sport.
You were simply a way to pass the
time between basketball
and baseball seasons in 8th grade.
As a 14-year-old boy
I made fun of you
As a “girls sport” that we boys were messing around with.
You seemed so uncool
And with different shoes.
And so I jumped.
I shuffled side to side on the court
Learning to dive and sprawl.
You asked for my knees
I gave you my shoulder
Because I began to see the power in you.
I played through the bloody chin
Not because I was told to
But because YOU were different.
Girls were watching
And my vertical was increasing
And I knew that might help
Me to dunk when basketball season rolled around.
You gave a young athlete another option
And I’ll always love you for it.
And I’ll keep loving you for as long as I can move.
You’ve given to me and I’m trying to pass it on to others.
My legs don’t propel me up like they used to
My shoulder still hurts after two surgeries
But my heart won’t let me say goodbye.
And that’s OK.
I now have to do squats and bands.
I’m adding box jumps too
So that I can maximize the time I have left to play.
The wins and the losses.
I’ve had them both
And they will both continue as a player and as a coach.
And we both know, no matter how old I get
I’ll always be that kid
Shorter than the blockers
Standing 5’10” on an 8-foot net
Match point against us
Calling for the ball
4! 4! 4!
Love you always,