Nope. It’s not the sport with the pointy orange ball


‘I become a Blazers Fan. For a few days, anyway.’

There’s a scene in a Woody Allen movie where Woody’s character is making nervous small talk with a woman on their first date. He asks her what her favorite sport is and she says “swimming.” “Swimming?” he sputters. “Swimming? Swimming isn’t a sport. Basketball is a sport. Swimming is what you do when the boat sinks.”

My Mom, ready to swim. ‘Cause it looks like that raft’s ready to sink

Well, I was always kinda with the date on this one. I’ve never been that into team sports. Not even when I was at the University of Missouri, which was, and probably still is, a Big Football School (Mel Gray and John Matuszak ate in my cafeteria). I used to gamely sit in the bleachers with my eventually-to-be-First-Husband-the-Frat-Boy, guarding my nylons from splinters, corsage pinned to my insubstantial breast. Surreptitious sips of Mad Dog 20/20 helped. Sort of.

That was the sport with the pointy orange ball. As for basketball and its bouncy round orange ball (see an example in the photo at the top of this post, being held, pre-bounce, by The Child), I actually got off to a good start, playing H-O-R-S-E with my brothers around the hoop perched over our driveway. But then my bros got so they didn’t want to play with “girls” — or, to be fair, maybe it was me who didn’t want to play with “boys” — at any rate, around sixth grade it was no more H-O-R-S-E. And for me, no more basketball.

Me, at about the age when I thought I was too cool for H-O-R-S-E

There was plenty of basketball at my high school, but only boys played it. If you were a girl, basketball meant trying out for cheerleader. And, not only was I totally inept at the fancy footwork involved in “cheering” (have you ever tried to do a cartwheel?) but I simply wasn’t the Cheerleader Type. I mean, I was reasonably attractive and all, but cheerleaders had cute little figures and were perky and bouncy. I didn’t have a perky bouncy bone in my lanky gawky body.

But hey. I was cute enough to snag a hunky prom date. A date who was on the basketball team, I’ll have you know. (Yes, I made that dress)

So. Where was I going with this? Ah, the Blazers. Actually, they are called the Portland Trail Blazers. And, not to get all sportscaster on you, but when I was out west visiting my Mom for Mother’s Day, the Blazers just happened to be duking it out with the Denver Nuggets for some Big Championship which would mean they would then vie for the NBA title. (Whew. I feel like I’m channeling Howard Cosell.)

So, of course we watched. And I must admit it was exciting. Maybe not as exciting as swimming for your life because your boat just sank, but exciting nonetheless. There was deft ball handling, cool three-point shot-making, and even — with two brothers playing against each other (the Currys) — Family Drama. Speaking of Family Drama, my Lovely Niece Emma made a video of we three moms (me, my sister, and our mom) noisily getting our Blazers on:

I seem to have a knack for showing up for a Mom Visit when there’s some exciting Big Deal Team Sport Event going on. Like the time I innocently traveled west for my Mom’s birthday, only to find my visit coincided with the Chicago Cubs’ run-up to their history-making World Series victory.

Yup. They won. But we didn’t know this was going to happen when I was visiting. It was pretty tense around that TV

The presidential debates were also on TV — remember Trump looming over Hillary? — but no Henrys seemed to care. It was all about baseball and the Cubs. I did manage to sneak off and watch a debate on my iPad, but basically, that visit was a crash course in baseball’s finer points. (Baseball is the one with the smallish non-pointy white ball.) After watching a few of those playoff games, I was talking “double-play” and “pinch-hitter” and “closer” with the best of the Henrys. I even had a Favorite Player (Javier “Javvy” Baez).

Mom’s Birthday, the year she got gifted a Cubs World Series win

And do I have a Favorite Spectator Sport? Yes indeed. It’s the one played with the small fuzzy yellow ball. Not only are there no teams involved, in my mind there is only one player. And he’s playing right now in the French Open. So, in a weird way it’s good that the Blazers flamed out, since I wouldn’t be able to pay them any mind. Because when Roger Federer is on, everyone else takes second place.

The One and Only Fed at Wimbledon a couple of years ago. I was watching him play while on a flight out to visit — you guessed it — my Mom

Amagansett, New York. May 2019

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18 thoughts on “Nope. It’s not the sport with the pointy orange ball

  1. I’ve never been a huge fan of watching sports, but at school I enjoyed playing netball. I was goal shooter and actually quite good… not as good anymore though. Im sure if my son joins the football (soccer) team I’m sure I will enjoy watching and cheering him on. I did play basketball but netball was the favourite.
    For some wierd reason, the boys played basketball and the girls played netball. Im not sure if that is the same in the UK today.

    • First, thank you! So glad to hear from a sporty non-watcher like myself. The Child wasn’t into team sports (she was a track-and-field kinda kid. But I know I would have watched her in just about anything! As for the boy/girl sports division, it was the same when I was a kid, though we didn’t have netball. So glad things are different today!

    • Hah! You remind me of myself. When I was stuck in the bleachers watching big guys fight over a football, I used to think “why not give both sides their own ball, they each want that one so much.”

  2. josypheen

    I always love your memories Alice (and wowza! I love that dress!)

    I have always been a bit mystified by spectator sports. I just don’t get that excited about them…

    • Girl after my own heart, dear Josy. Thank you for the nice comment about my dress. We didn’t have a lot of $$$ for clothes, so I sewed most of my own. I had a lot of fun with prom dresses! As for spectator sports, I enjoy watching YOU find amazing gifs!!

      • josypheen

        My mum used to make clothes for us too…but I never picked up that skill. I would LOVE to be able to make my own dresses (with pockets.)

        I just have enough hobbies for now. If I started, I wouldn’t have time to do it properly, so it seems like a bit of a waste!

  3. I’m not a massive fan of sports, but I do love to see young people being involved in all kinds of sport. I think it’s a very healthy pass time. Physically and mentally.
    I played camogie when I was younger, but after two black eyes, and multiple bruises my parents wouldn’t let me play anymore. It was during the time when rock hard camogie sticks were in fashion, and it’s no wonder they went back to the wooden ones, because those plastic ones were deadly.
    I also enjoyed watching my son play football. That’s the only time I ever went to football matches.
    I love the photo of Mom in the boat. It takes me wayyyy back to my childhood days of playing and swimming in the river. Happy memories! Enjoyed reading this.

    • “Camogie”??? I just love hearing about sports like “camogie”! It is such a fun word that even non-team-sports-playing me would get a kick out of playing it. Maybe. But your talk of “black eyes” “multiple bruises” might be a deterrent, cool name notwithstanding. I’m gonna google it, big time. Meanwhile, thank you so much for reading and for commenting, dear Gloria!

      • Nowadays they wear helmets so it’s not that dangerous! Great sport. The men’s version of the same sport is called Hurley. A very skilled game!

  4. Great memories you’ve shared here! Your dotty dress was a creative wonder, well done, and also with your prom date being on the basketball team! It’s so interesting to read the passion you all seem to have for different sports to us here in Australia. By the way I also love watching the Fed!!

    • I always appreciate comments from readers who live in parts of the world with different spectator sports! It takes true dedication to read a piece about some ball-chasing game that you’ve never played — and don’t “get”. So thank you! The One Thing the whole world shares, though, is a passion for the Fed!

  5. Fun–and I love that polka dotted dress! I do enjoy basketball, especially now that my boys play. But I prefer college over pro–I guess I’ve lived in the south that long. And those tennis guys are sure fun to look at!

    • Thanks, Becca! If I had been a better seamstress I would have ‘matched’ those dots. But, hey, I was pretty durned proud of that dress at the time. I hear you about those gorgeous tennis guys! xoxo

  6. Ruth Meisenheimer

    I’ll bet your Mom kept the pretzels dry if the raft totally gave up! I know she swam after, and caught, Rogers small sailboat one time. We took adult swimming class one summer, so we could swim in the “deep end” without kids jumping on us, and I nearly broke my back trying to learn to dive off the diving board. Fun memories❣ I’m with you … Not a spectator fan.

    • Wow! I never knew you and Mom took swimming lessons. I would have loved to have been the fly on the (wet) wall. And of course I didn’t know Mom caught Roger’s sailboat — THAT would have beensome sight to see as well. Here’s a big thank you for reading — and commenting — hoping you’re getting along swimmingly! xoxo

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