I've kept this post in reserve because 1) I didn't want to show how lame I am since my readers reader thinks I'm somewhat cool and 2) I didn't want to have to point out to the pros in the NBA how they should be shooting, and thinking about shooting, those precious baskets that win games. But after last night's Game Three of the 2008 NBA Finals I felt the time had come for me to do a little schooling.
I grew up playing basketball in a relatively competitive town. Our teams were good at just about everything. So when I finally had the privilege of playing in high school (I'm sure I made the team simply because I only puked once during the tryout drills and said puke actually made it into one of four designated buckets at the corners of the court AND only my left leg gave out during the extended wall squats AND my dad, at some point, weighed 367 lbs when he went to go sign his pro wrestling papers - Gorilla Bo Joe - and was super athletic and the whole town had some kind of fear AND I didn't know how to shut up so I was always yelling encouraging things, even to those girls who didn't make it to the buckets *inhale breath* AND I showed promise under the boards but I'll take it away from this extended sidebar now and get back on topic) I also had the, um, oh, um, privilege of having a tough coach. Well, he wasn't exactly my coach because I was on the freshman squad and he was the varsity coach but he was one of those guys who watched us all, all the time. Well this coach didn't like my free throws. Nope, not one bit. To tell the truth, I didn't either b/c I never made any. Really. I could box out, get rebounds, throw the ball back up court or, offensively, put the ball back up and in and draw the foul. But I could never make my free throws.
As my free throws got worse, my jumpers got worse. My morale, confidence and desire were hitting the skids. Until the day that coach grabbed a hoop and told me to wear it while running lap after lap and proclaiming loudly, "I CAN GET THE LITTLE BALL IN THE BIG HOLE."
So I ran those laps. Day after day after day*. Always with a smile and always in a loud voice. Here I am at 14 years old running my laps:
There have been several games over the season, particularly during the playoffs and again last night during Game Three, where I had flashbacks to these laps around the court. I'm not saying this particular tactic would work in the NBA and, just to prove that I still had it in me, I ran the neighborhood this morning with the 'ole hoop around my waist. This being nearly *gulp* 20 years later, however, and seeing as I'm carrying around my Playoff Pounds (come on now, I can't be the only one with added playoff poundage happening), I was able to run with my hands in the air and the hoop nestled on my hips.
It got me psyched up to play a little ball on my return so I shot around then went for some dunks. I'm glad to say I still have it in me.
My hang time is still so great that I have time to turn and smile at the camera.
Oh, sorry. I digress. My whole point here is that there is a severe mental factor to basketball. Our boys KG and Pierce have to not let last night's horror show of shots haunt them. Instead, they have to remember that they can indeed get the little ball in the big hole and bring it home.
In other Balcony Gal NBA news, I decided to sneak up on David Stern to ask him a few questions about this reffing thing and what he feels about the fact that anyone who loves the NBA thinks it's time for him to go. His response was pure David Stern:
I'm sure I'm not the only lover of hoops who wanted to gather the neighborhood kids, hand them a bunch of random things like apples and paint brushes and eggs and crayons and toy phones and frogs to throw them at Stern:
I'm just saying my two Balcony Cents and thinking out loud that the NBA needs a new leader. I'm available but I'll need a little help and I'm pretty biased. If you're interested in starting a petition to get Stern out and a new person in, because, you know, these sorts of things really work, really, trust me, add your comments in the comment section. Even if you sign in anonymously it could help things along.
Meanwhile, GO CELTICS!
*Just for this particular season. Then I developed such a disslike of that coach and his tactics and a complete insecurity that I never wanted to be on his team so I turned to other extra curricular activities. Until college when I got gleefully back in the game. But that's a story for another time.