Picture the scene….elementary school…recess…upper playground…2 groups of adolescent boys that divided themselves into the “Georgia Hoopers” and “Florida Hoopers“. Running, jumping and shooting like their life depended on it, while an adolescent SoJo stood on the sidelines looking like this –> ♥_♥ . But those lovey-dovey eyes were not directed at my musty boyfriend, who was balling his heart out on the Florida Hooper team. Nope. The eyes (and heart) were following the ball up and down the court….
Sometimes, it surprises people how much I enjoy basketball. Now, I can’t roll stats off of my tongue or call plays or anything like that. But take me to a game (anywhere from rec ball to a professional arena) and you’ll see that familiar glazing over, heart-struck look in my eyes.
I think that it’s because my happiest family memories were basketball related. When I was a kid, every Sunday afternoon after church, I would be in the kitchen with my mother. Sunday dinner would have been prepared, but she would be busy making snacks. Baking cookies, squeezing lemons to make fresh lemonade, preparing fruit salad or sandwiches – the works. And every few minutes, she’d look out of the kitchen window and her face would light up. A soft smile would appear. What was she looking at?
My daddy and his brothers. When we first moved into our house, one of its selling points was the gigantic backyard w/ 2 patios. It was large enough that while my mom had her garden and I had my playspace, my father still had room to construct a makeshift b-ball court. They nailed a hoop to one of the trees and stripped the grass in that area. Papa SoJo and the fellas were set for life. Sometimes the neighborhood boys would come hoop, but on Sundays it was reserved for the B-Boyz (my dad and uncles).
My grandmother gave birth to 6 boys – all of them were hoopers. When they were younger, they ran the PJ’s playing for money. My dad injured his knee playing football in college, so he didn’t have a chance to join the basketball team. One of my uncles played in college, but he was killed his sophomore year in a car accident. The remaining 5 kept their close bond by having a standing appointment in our backyard as grown men. They were AMAZING!
I used to peek out of the window or sit on the patio and watch them run, shoot, dunk, pass, everything. Sometimes, they’d put me on their shoulders while they played and let me dunk. In fact, I even have a mean 3 point shot…which I suppose I get honestly .
When they were finally done, they’d all burst through the patio door that led to the kitchen and stuff their faces. All of their identical slanted eyes would look like slits because they were laughing so hard. My mom would have her head tilted to the side while she made eye contact with my dad and they looked happy…peaceful….in love.
My childhood was definitely a less than perfect, but in those very moments, that was as close to perfect as I’d ever seen.
Oh…and #GoHawks!!! ♥_♥