On Sunday night I went to Devoto court sometime around 5pm. The day was slightly humid and overcast so, technically, good ball weather. However, when I arrived the court was empty, except for one shirtless guy. We shot around, patiently waiting for others to show up and commented on how strange it was that no one was there.
After a little bit, two kids came up to the court. After watching me shoot a couple in, one of them directed himself to me.
“Is it hard?” he asked.
My response: “Depends what you consider hard.”
He hung out for a bit and started asking me for techniques on how to shoot. I gave him some tips: feet together, bend your knees, bringing the energy from the ground, up through your body and arms. His shots were going in and he became happy. He had good court manners by sharing the ball and I kept encouraging him to shoot and dribble. There was other advice I gave him, apart from the technical stuff:
“If you start in a club now, in four years you’ll be great. I guess since your 12 they would put you in, um…I’m not sure what level…”
My shirtless friend spoke up: “Mini. They’d put him in mini.”
The sport system here is different from that in the Canada. There it is more of an exclusive ordeal: in order to reach a high level basketball, you must to go to university. Here, in Argentina, anyone can try out in a club, regardless of their education or income. I believe that with some talent and determination, anyone can climb to a fairly high level.
I started to think about my own team situation. Early last week Cate had asked me if I’d be interested in playing on another team, at a more competitive level. The possibility brought me a lot of determination and energy. That night I called both my parents past midnight (11pm in Canada = bed time). My dad was sleeping and promised he’d call back the next day. I also woke my mom up, but she stayed on the line long enough to hear my excitement. I was so happy; I wanted to announce this news to the whole world.
After a couple of days, the initial energy wore off and I started to take a good look at the reality of the situation: two teams, trainings back to back, with long travel times in between. This would be added on to my job and other commitments. Of course I could do it, and the thought of playing, training, and being pushed at a higher level really interested me. But would I enjoy it over the stress and exhaustion of travelling?
I think the final deciding factor was that I wouldn’t have enough time (and maybe prohibited) from playing pick-up with guys. Right then, I knew it wouldn’t work.
However, the whole process made me realize that if I DID want to play at a more competitive level, I COULD. This was positive idea in my mind, along with the realizations that doing the best where you are right now is the best thing you can do.
“So, what time are you coming next week?”
The little boy’s confidence made me smile.
“I have a game next week, but you should come and shoot.”
He looked at me with a sad face for a moment and then said, “Yeah, maybe I will.”