Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
Subscribe and Save up to 45%
We divided ourselves up until the teams were formed correctly, evenly. In other words, until the white kids were satisfied. No one had declared them the leaders, but, like most enduring traditions, the rule had become quietly understood, rooted in our fledgling muscles and minds.
Six weeks ago my wife walked into our living room to find me curled up on the couch, sobbing. In our twenty-one years of marriage we had experienced a lot of griefs, big and little, but she’d never seen me cry like this.
My eyes filled again. Filippo came by and murmured, “Think of the little light in your chest,” and somehow I understood him. I don’t know how. I let the light shine.
I snuggled closer to him to show my loyalty. See, I am your grandson. I belong to you. Placing my head lightly against his shoulder, I could smell the oil, the sweat, the Old Milwaukee.
They fished three tournaments together without breaking the top fifty before I told him to sign me up as his partner instead. At least I knew the difference between monofilament and fluorocarbon. I mean, damn.
Earlier that same afternoon All-Star slugger Dave “The Cobra” Parker had revealed to me the secret of hitting: “Hit the fucker hard, and hope it goes far.” I keep this revelation enshrined in the same chamber of my heart where my rabbinical ancestors kept their favorite Scriptures.
After barre, Mme. Francesca follows me to the locker room and tells me I’m officially going to the Cupids dance program this summer and I just can’t stand it.
Dear Ross: How can you miss on purpose? If I’m late getting back on defense, you’ll bounce the ball off the bottom of the rim and catch the “rebound” for a point. Alone under the basket. Missing.
Dear Noah: Bouncing the ball off the bottom of the rim is, as you say, a poorly missed shot, but also a perfectly missed one, because it results in a point in our game, which means it’s a way for me to stay on the court. If there were a way I could stay on the court without cheating — without those perfectly, beautifully missed shots — believe me, I would do it.
Today is the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. I am watching it on television in Brooklyn while the Puerto Ricans are parading up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.