Monday, September 15, 2014

The Extra Pass

You're open, but somebody has it better. You're path looks clear, but someone else's path is better. The anticipation, the patience, & the motion. All these make the action a lesson to those who understand the game, but it's the purpose that causes it to be the most beautiful part of the game; The Extra Pass.

We don't have to take it, give it away, or even accept it in a part of our game, but those who understand the concept already know more than those that don't.

When I have the ball I generally try to drive the lane, and I have three moves I go toward; kick back out, push for a layup, or step back and fade. I generally fade. I'm a simple player. Those who integrate the style of play where the ball is used as a weapon and they space the floor to get the best possible shot, they make the game easy or so the illusion makes it seem.

There are times where we have an easy bucket in front of us, but we recognize the coverage and anticipate a way out. We make the pass that we know we don't need to make, but it exemplifies that small spark that the game keeps reminding us, there's more than just you.

There's five players on the floor. When all execute a system that doesn't involve a single ego, you see fluidity that rarely is displayed in other facets of life. Selflessness, understanding, sacrifice, awareness, and appreciation. Life lessons all in a split second.

Without the extra pass in life, there's no way we evolve. Our ability to grasp other ideals, opinions, and perspectives would become mute. Our love and respect would wilt, and our surroundings of other ingenuities would become insignificant. Others around us would see us as a great player, but also somebody unwilling to look and take another position. Our simplicity would become exposed, and out flexibility would shrink.

As I run through life, and come across many half-court sets, I hope to find a system that incorporates the extra pass. For it's the purpose, complexity, and beauty of life that I seek. Not the simple, and praise driven way. The extra pass is silent, simple, and grows a much bigger garden than the one great plant over arching the rest. It's simple, yet complex, because those willing to step outside of the glory to give it to others, is something hardly noticed today. Something that doesn't go noticed, doesn't mean it won't improve and make the light brighter in other area's on the court of life.

Make the extra pass.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Heated Feet

The clamoring of the feet, the jawing of the opponent, and the ankle support we all need after a blacktop affair. The one thing we can all relate towards, whether it’s sports or hard work, heated feet are something we either relish or we limp on. Blisters, rashes, and perpetual stinging are the only thing that has tough actin’ tinactin screaming its name. The constant quick cut of a defensive shift, a deep key cut to either drive the lane or pull up from 15 feet, the heated feet always chatter in the back of our minds.

Why let it talk? Why let it speak to our toughness and allow us the ultimately decide our fate when it's just a layer of skin facing an assault of constant sock warmth creating the skin to bubble? Let it burst, let it bleed, or let your man take it to the hole for another deuce that you can't afford to let him take again.

The game will keep itself warm, but if you let the heat get to you, might as well call it a wrap because your mind has already checked out hours ago. We can't let what's going on below our ankles dictate what's going on in our mind. It isn't the shoes, it isn't the way your shoes are tied, let's face it, look in the mirror.

The true answers lay in you to decide whether those heated feet deserve to bleed, how many layers of skin are you willing to lose? Are you willing to fight to the bone, or are you as shallow as that first layer of skin? From what it looks you're willing to let the heat get to you. Nothing wrong with taking a break postgame, but at this split second, you have a defensive place you need to be, a hop step, or a landing position that will tear a layer of skin whether you like it or not. The only question is now, is it the team you are willing to fight for, or is it that layer of skin that's screaming at you to slow it down. Shallow or deep, we'll find a way to swim, but in this instance, the blister losses, for love will always prevail through to the bone.

My Vibe

Yes. You're wondering why I'm finally coming back to this. This is the game I truly deeply love and that I have found a new way to write about something I plan on getting back to. This sport, this game, just the ball itself; It's my vibe. The motion, the passion, the feeling of the twine that the sound flows through your body when a perfect shot sinks the bottom of the net. This is my sanctuary, and I have forsaken it. I can see the light, and I know that the light will be brighter. I know that every shot will bring a better timeframe than the timeframe from before. That the next layup, pump fake, and fade away jumper will revive the strength that I need to take another out in this place we call the real world, for it hasn't been safe for some, but for the strength we need to grasp for this real world, we need to run just one more suicide, for we won't commit it for the love of others.

The sanctuary has been dimly lit for too long. The bouncing rubber on the pavement, the echo of the screeching sneakers on top of the damp pavement in the misty fog, it's growing stronger by the step. The jump, the lift, the release; the only answer is the clang, the swish, the gong of the backboard, or nothing at all. But somehow it restores our faith in what hasn't been righteous, what we don't find safe, where we fear to return to. We look for the compassion and the attention from others, but we know that's not going to come. It's the repeated process of our incestuous will to keep throwing the rubber at the iron.

The multiple ways of throwing the ball feels different every time even when it looks the same to others. It feels like water from the ground up at one moment, the next it feels like a cold silver spoon laid upon a shoulder as our feet leave the floor to release the ball. Shuffling the feet, it feels like that is happening. Jitters feel constant and swift on many occasions, but the fullness of the ball leaving our hands feels similar to watching our loved ones leave us once again. On to the next one, as Jay-Z runs through our brains.

When the practice is in session, the jumper is fluid at first. It feels fresh. Then the sensation of tense and length of time between the last time I did this creeps in. How come I didn't stick with this? How come I didn't stay with this when I was younger? Why did I waste my talent when I had the opportunity in front of my face? It was hand given to me and I laughed in the faces of others who truly saw the potential I possessed. I start to reminisce and frustrate at my own failures; jumper 493 is released at this point.

The motion is the same every time, but it always feel different. It never feels consistent, even when the ball goes in the same way over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over... the satisfaction doesn't settle and my mind wonders again. I feel the importance lays somewhere else, that my life will become fluid in some other field, that I'll never be good enough to ultimately do what I want to do with my life. It's like a jumper, it'll be beautiful, but that the people behind the puppets will be nothing but foolery and petty.

The motion, fluidity of the arms, the arc of the ball, the angle of the shot, the following of the shot, it grows dull with time as it feels when I release the same thing as I have since I was 7. The same result I expect, the relief I look for, the attention that doesn't exist that I expect to be there, it won't ever come. I'll die shooting the jumper, but I won't expand my game unless I open up my options, unless I find a way to be taught, but I love the jumper... because It's all I know.

It's where I've received my praises, it's safe, relieves me from the feelings of regret, escaped me from the pain I once felt, the pain I never want to go home to, the hard concrete where those jumpers were born is where I would rather sleep, where I would rather live, where I would rather die. There's shelter in that concrete, there's love, passion, solidification that I strive to plant my stick so that everybody knows I come to fight with my guns blazing when everybody else is in a knife fight in the middle of the paint. I'm the outlet, the corner, the escape route, the Plan Z. All I want to do is help.

If all I did was run up and down the court, get the ball once and let it go, the clang, the bong off the backboard, or nothing would be fine with me, but my teammates minds would differ. In a game, the feeling of empty... the lack of confidence creeps in, the water legs, and especially empty energy flows when I let it go from the corner for where my cornerstone doesn't exist. That moment, when I'm open in the game, I'm not free. I'm confined. For my whole life leading to that moment has been filled with hostility, threat, and insecurity of what's flowing through my mind, all in that split second. For the game, the life, that I love has all been confined and set up in a particular manner that I know I'm prepared to take on, but for I ultimately don't know what to expect. Even though I've been getting ready for that moment over thousands of times, yet the failure of the moment strikes me as the option I ultimately choose to take.

I choose my vibe. I choose to do what has kept me in high spirits in my mind. New Balance shoes. Old Shorts. A White Shirt. A Crusty piece of rubber between my hands, once again thrown in a way that many would claim as beauty, I would claim to be "it is what it is." It's all I know in my trying times. It's my vibe.

[I wrote this listening to Kendrick Lamar's: Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe.]