The SportsAndrea Krause
I was not what they refer to as a natural.
My lack of hand-eye coordination
was apparent, well-known to myself,
at least. Clavicles hunched, imploding
shoulders providing ample hiding space
for fumbling. I held my fresh perm high,
spherical volume, showy bangs winning
Best in Show, headband a staunch fabric
leash. My DIY uniform: cut-off stretch pants,
Hard Rock t-shirt (Bahamas, knockoff),
makeshift jersey of a pre-pubescent jester.
Deranged couture was my sixth-grade forte.
It was certainly not the traveling league,
but my teammates still knew more than
just what a basketball was, the extent
of my knowledge, and really, my skills.
But for an instant, I was the Big Dog
in the grip of talent. An open shot. Possible
glory. Dashed—valiant miss, my first
open-mouth kiss of the rim. I grabbed
the rebound, fueled only by imminent
swish. I would not be slowed by the odd lack
of defense. I would not be slowed by
confused faces, as the ball flew askew
to another miss. During the hang time,
I realized—this was my team’s hoop.
Having racked up two assists and two
rebounds, (best game of the season),
I blamed the perm chemicals for my
apparently low IQ. I ran away fast
and far, to join the cross country team.
The Slap Shot and Its Many Lessons
Someone, somewhere, probably said
that possibility is a slapshot to the face.
Too bad possibility doesn’t miss
at least some of the shots it takes.
In 8th grade gym, an adult with a degree
thought giving pubescent payphones
hockey sticks and a plastic puck was a valid
learning endeavor. My parents should
have rescinded their property taxes.
The wince of lip into braces, more shock
than blood, more rage than bent metal.
I’ll never forgive name redacted.
25+ years later, earth still orbits
my zeal for revenge. Given the imaginary
chance, I biff 100% of the shots
I pretend to take. You may be tempted
to describe my technique as mentally sloppy,
but I rollerblade religiously
and huff a daily multivitamin,
so your assessment of my acumen
would be very wrong. What is the lesson
in all this? That there’s a person
out there I never think of, who is
taking metaphorical slapshots
of non-forgiveness at my face?
Because that’s pretty fucked up.