Friday, July 1, 2011

From the Estranged Dad at Summer League

By the sweat on your orange jersey, I can tell that it's halftime already.

Sorry I'm late,but I picked up some overtime at work.  I could use the extra money to pay your mom this child support. Plus your birthday's coming up and well...

Here. I brought you a Gatorade, the red one, just the kind you like.

Remember we'd go to the courts when you were nine and play ball?  You didn't like to use your left hand on the lay-up but I see you've got that down now. 

You told me "Paul" helped you with that.

I can see you're a little taller now.  Uncle Brian is 6'4 so there's a chance you'll get pretty big.  Michigan State, huh? I hear it gets cold there. You know I don't like to fly, but leave me a game ticket and I'll come see you.

Underneath the trees is a good spot to watch.  It's cooler here and besides, your grandmother still hasn't forgiven me.  You'll understand when you get married.

On second thought, I hope you never have to understand.

You jog up the court, handling the rock effortlessly.  I recognize the gait as my own.

I think you have all of my good traits; pray that you've none of the bad.

Traces of a mustache have formed on your top lip. I wonder if you're into girls yet. Plenty of time for that.  Stay focused on your books...and the ball.

A jumpshot rises, peaks, and tumbles through the net. A teammate slaps you five.

A tear forms in my eye.

Two minutes remain.

I hand the Gatorade to your coach as you run the lane on the fastbreak. "Tell him it's from his dad," I say.

I start back to my car with a chest full of regret. The disappointment you've suffered while rooting for me can only be known by Greg Oden fans.

I start my engine as the final horn sounds and drive away hoping that you saw me.

Nice game, son.

2 comments:

  1. I don't have time for this mane. I almost broke down. It reminds me of the MTV Unplugged, with Jay-Z. He finished a live set of "Song Cry" and there was a silence. He mentioned that he zoned out and took an actual trip down memory lane (Nas pun). I've never been a baller, but I reminisce about times I wish my pops was there (although in this story pops was there unbeknownst to the athlete)and how much more I could've achieved had I been motivated or influenced to do more by a man I always wanted to be...until I became a man and learned the error of his ways. I'm unsure of the motivation of this story; but, being a youngster moving toward the days of starting a family I must say, I'll dig a ditch before Paul helps my son with his left hand.

    -BROWN

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