San Diego Soliloquies

Monday, February 23, 2004

Watching Sunday Morning Junior Basketball

So Marian and I spent part of Sunday morning watching my brother coach his son, a nephew, and assorted over-achievers through their last game of the season in junior basketball. They lost, but that is not even beside the point. I watched a group of kids passing the ball, setting up for shots, blocking out on free throws, cheering for each other and rebounding. And we cheered every time we saw a crisp pass, good shot, tenacious defense and (sometimes lucky) rebound. That is the point.

We don’t have kids, we have nieces and nephews instead. It’s the best of all possible worlds in most ways. You kind of get to be grandparents without being a parent. You’re the mysterious adult presence that grows familiar, but without the contempt parents sometimes get. With a little work, and a lot of luck, you can also get respect. Maybe Marian and I are getting there with our nephews and nieces, but only because they are really good kids with exceptional parents. We integrate ourselves into the web of family, society and love that surrounds these kids to help them, and ourselves.

We are a part of other families as well, and this is the point of this canoodling. Watching the couples line up in San Francisco and New Mexico, I can’t help but feel a kinship with them. They want to connect into the web that holds society together, to be the boring salt of the earth that mows their lawn, pays their taxes, worries about anniversary gifts, and tries to cheer the good parts of society on. Good on them. It will add to the supportive roar in small places, like junior basketball games, school plays, and youth orchestras, choirs and theaters.


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