Posts Tagged ‘Josh Wilker’

He Shoots, He Scores! Oh-oh.

May 17, 2010

I cringed hard when I read Josh Wilker‘s account of scoring his first basket for his seventh-grade team in his excellent memoir, Cardboard Gods. It was an away game and his joy was uncontainable . . . for a brief shining moment before it all turned to dust. I cringed all the harder because unfortunately, I could relate. My own story follows this excerpt from Josh’s book.

The ref handed my teammate Chris the ball and Chris slapped it with his right hand, a signal to the rest of us to start milling around, pretending we had set plays. In a rare burst of on-court assertiveness, I cut hard to my left, breaking free of the listless scrum of bodies near the center jump circle. I caught the inbounds pass in stride and started dribbling toward the wide-open hoop. I had not yet scored the first basket of my career in organized ball, so as I dribbled a kind of joy bubbled up through my rib cage and into my throat.

Previous to that moment there had only been an aimless Saturday morning murmur of voices in the gym. Suddenly the murmur spiked, went weird. I’d never heard the sound before and hope to never hear it again: A generalized, ingrown gasp, like a note from a choir on a record played backward. I pressed onward, dribbling, still preposterously open, ignoring.

I stopped just inside the foul line and hoisted the side-holstered push shot that all kids use before they get the hang of a real jump shot. Improbably, the basketball grazed the inside of the rim and nestled through the net. The strange sound that had risen up all around me ceased. I turned, smiling, expecting to see my teammates smiling back. Jesus, the look on their faces. The (more…)