Slow jams by my grandsons

What could be more fun than watching my grandsons shoot baskets in their backyard?

four year old playing basketball

Why, shooting them shooting those baskets in their backyard, of course.

In slow motion!

First up, Bubby...

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The B-baller and his brother

Look who's old enough to play on a youth basketball team. He couldn't be more happy about it.

youth basketball player

Look who's not old enough to play on a youth basketball team. He couldn't be more unhappy about it.

unhappy toddler

Poor Mac. Such is the injustice of being the little brother.

Photos courtesy Megan, of course. Thanks, Meg!

Today's question:

Where do you fall in the line of siblings and would you have preferred a different position?

Sports and my efforts to be a fan

Sharing a love for sports, watching a game (or round or match or any other term for an organized competetion) together seems to be the ultimate bonding experience.

I'm a loser when it comes to such a bonding experience, for I really stink at watching sports. I try. But something always grabs my attention far more easily than the action on the field or court or whatever.

I wanted to be a football fan. I even bought a Tebow jersey last season when Tim Tebow seemed to be the savior of the Broncos (of course, real fans would have plenty to say about that statement). I did enthusiastically watch the televised games in which Tebow played. But I must admit that more so than his throwing game—or lack thereof—I continually found myself entranced by that yellow line that magically appeared on the field to show where the ball is...or should go for there to be a first down...or something like that. I marveled again and again, much to the chagrin of Jim and Brianna who really did want to watch the game not bond with my babbling self, about the money surely made by the guy who came up with that magical line on the field, the marking that's not really on the field but visible only to those watching from home. Forget post-game interviews with game MVPs and winners and losers—I want to hear from the genius that invented that line.

Basketball distractions are similar. Sort of. It's not really anything magical or technical that distracts me when watching the tall and tattooed (and, honestly, rather thug like) players dart from end to end, passing and shooting, though. It's the squeaking that distracts me. Yes, squeaking. That incessant squeaking of their darn athletic shoes catching on the shiny court floor. Makes. Me. Nuts. So nuts, in fact, that I can't concentrate. So nuts that I usually won't watch. If I end up with no choice but to watch, I'm not really watching, I'm thinking about those squeaks and shoes. Or thinking about something completely different as I try to not think about those <cuss> squeaks.

Thinking about something totally different is typically my default game while watching baseball, too. I try, I really do try to keep up with an inning, from beginning to end. But I can't. I'll watch one hit, maybe two. Or possibly a few strikes or balls or whatever else takes place. But then I realize everyone around me is cheering—or booing—and I have no idea why. Because I'm lost. Not by way of misunderstanding the game, but by simply being lost in thought about something monumental and important. Like how much it might cost for the advertising signs lining the ballpark fence. Or how hot the mascot might be in his or her costume. Or how often birds must duck and dodge foul balls.

I'm just not meant to be a sports fan, I think.

Jim, on the other hand—like most normal folks—seems to manage just fine, despite not being one of those heavy hitter widow makers who watches any and all sports on television, season in and season out. Yet his first question to Brianna about a guy she recently went on a date with was, "What kind of sports does he like?" Which, of course, created a moment of bonding between Jim and Brianna.

Sports are undoubtedly important to men. And many women, too. My longtime friend Debbie is a top-notch Rockies and Broncos fan, rivaled in her dedication to the orange and blue of the Broncos only by my diehard, forever fan Carol. Most of my sisters? Football fans. Brianna and Andrea? Well, they're fans of most sports, too.

Fortunately my middle daughter, Megan, is much like me when it comes to sports. At least baseball. Which was quite fortunate the evening my entire family spent at a Sky Sox game (that's the local AA team, for those readers as unsporty as I am). Megan and I chatted, roamed the place with Mac and Bubby. As others bonded while watching the game, Megan and I bonded while not watching the game...but still at the game, giving the illusion we were just as much sports-bonding fans as the next guy. Or gal.

While at the stadium, Mac made it abundantly clear he's more like his grandma and his mom in his inability to concentrate on the game, as he required lots of distraction by lots of different family members. Of course, he just recently turned one, so what else might we expect. Odds are it won't be long before Mac's right there in the thick of spectating along with all the other sporty folk with whom I can't quite relate.

Odds are even higher, though, that Mac won't be one of those watching sports but will be one of those out on the field playing, especially considering his early prowess at ball play.

I look forward to such games. They may be just the ticket to making me a fan, as I have no doubt I'll be fully engaged in watching Mac—or Bubby or any other grandchild in the future—from the first whistle to the last.

I may not be a sports fan, but I'm definitely a fan of my grandchildren—even if they choose to be one of those squeaky kids on the basketball court.

Today's question:

What organized sports to your grandkids and/or kids play?

One for the record books

John Wooden on his 96th birthday.I'm not much of a basketball fan. In fact, I'm not really a big sports fan at all. I enjoyed watching a variety of sports when the girls were in school: soccer, swimming, track, volleyball, cross country. But if I don't have a child ... or soon, a grandchild ... on a team, it's unlikely you'll find me sitting in the stands.

I have attended a few professional sporting events, thanks mostly to free tickets I used to get from my former employer. And I do enjoy going to baseball games with friends and family now and then. But watching sports is not something I do often, from either the stands or from my couch when there's a game on television.

The sport I'm least likely to watch, other than golf or NASCAR, is basketball. Yes, basketball is exciting and all, but the darn squeaking of the shoes on the court drives me absolutely batty for some reason, and I can concentrate on nothing but that grating noise while watching the game. (Note to Megan and Preston: I promise to overcome such nonsense when Bubby starts playing basketball; I will watch his games any time, anywhere, regardless of how much shoe squeaking goes on!)

But -- and as Pee-Wee Herman once noted, "everyone I know has a big but" -- by not being a basketball fan, I think I've missed out on familiarizing myself with what seems to have been a truly great man.

John Wooden, one of the most successful coaches ever, winning 10 national titles in 12 years for UCLA, died last week at the age of 99. Yeah, I saw the news reports and didn't really think too much about it. He was old, he lived a long life, sounds like he accomplished a lot during his 99 years.

Then yesterday I received my daily Shelf Awareness newsletter about the book industry, and it included a tribute of sorts to Coach Wooden. Seems Wooden not only rallied his teams to success, he was a rather successful writer, having written several books selling millions of copies. And although I don't care a whole heckuva lot about basketball, I do love quotes, and the Shelf Awareness newsletter included some of Wooden's most oft-quoted aphorisms:

"It isn't what you do, but how you do it."

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."

"Be quick but don't hurry."

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

"Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."

"Listen if you want to be heard."

"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"

That is one smart man, one brilliant man, one thoughtful, caring, wise man. And now I regret having never watched such a man in action.

According to Shelf Awareness, a book commemorating Wooden's life was scheduled to publish in October in honor of his 100th birthday. Titled The Wisdom of Wooden: A Century of Family, Faith, and Friends, written with Steve Jamison, Wooden did have the opportunity to proof and approve of the final product. Upon his death, the publication date has been moved up to July.

So in July, despite my general disdain of the squeaky game called basketball, I will be buying a book about a basketball coach, a book about a remarkably wise man.

And starting today, I will try to do something daily for someone who will never be able to repay me.

Today's question:

What's your favorite sport to watch?

My answer: Like I said, I don't watch a lot of sports, but when I do, hockey is my favorite.