When I was growing up, we had a basketball goal in our backyard and this would be the closest I ever came to participating in sports, our prompt for today. My friends and I used to take turns attempting to make baskets, but never really played the actual game itself. Instead we played a game called “Around The World” where we would each attempt to make baskets from specific locations around the court. The court in this case was our backyard patio. There was never a rousing game of one-on-one that I can remember, at least, one played with me involved. I was always thrilled by the amazing skills of the Harlem Globetrotters back then and wished I could actually do all of the things they did. After spending hours one afternoon attempting to balance a spinning basketball on the tip of my finger, I soon realized that we are each happily meant for different paths in life. Though I could often make a basket, it only ever felt like dumb luck and not something that came with the confidence of a learned skill. This complete lack of true talent, however, never stopped me from enjoying each and every bungling moment.
Another version of the game that we played was HORSE. In this game, your opponent tried a basket from a certain location and, if they made it in, you had to perform the same feat. If you failed, you were given a letter until the first person to spell HORSE was ejected from the game. This was great fun, but due to my short attention span I usually suggested we play PIG instead and just zoom along to find our winner. More often than not, we’d start our game to find an only slightly inflated basketball that sort of flopped more than dribbled. One of us might retrieve the pump to inflate it, but since our game didn’t require dribbling, we were often too lazy to bother. We’d just keep flinging that floppy ball into the air hoping it made it into the net, rather enjoying the satisfying splat that came at the end. And several Harlem Globetrotters, wherever they were trotting at that moment in the world, mysteriously cringed, and could only wonder why.
These days, it’s me who cringes when someone’s ask me if I’m “into sports” as though that’s enough of a description. Do they mean every sport ever invented? Or when someone asks, “what sports are you into” which is equally disturbing in its assumption that I must pick at least one. In truth, I don’t watch or follow a sport of any kind. It’s quite a commitment to follow sports and really more like a hobby and I already have plenty of those. But when there’s a basketball game on in some restaurant or bar, I do often find myself sneaking glances. Deep within me, that childhood urge to spin that ball like a pro and fly through the air toward that basket must still be there. And yet, I can’t name a single team of nearly any sport. Having been in advertising, I did often attend Super Bowl parties, but we were only there to watch the commercials and spent the actual game moments drinking on the terrace. So these days, I just think back fondly to those times I engaged in a bit of sport. Even if nothing I imagined came true, there’s still magic to be found in those backyard basketball dreams.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Cobalt Turquoise and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!