dribbling for sam (on love, fatherhood, and basketball)
Disclaimer: What follows is neither urgent social commentary nor music criticism. Instead, in honor of Father's Day, I'm sharing a short essay with you. I guess it's one of those "daddy pieces"--something I never thought I'd find myself writing but, then again, I'm doing a lot of things these days that I never thought I'd be doing. It's on love of son and sport, and about growing older.
Happy Father's Day.
Dribbling for Sam
By Larry Blumenfeld
"Don't make the mistake daddy did," I hear myself saying. "Don't limit yourself."
It's a lesson for my boy, Sam--about choices, about life. About basketball. It's simple enough: If you're right-handed, learn to dribble and shoot with your left (if you're a lefty, practice going right). I didn't. Sure, in compensation I worked out a half-hook layup from the right side and a righty up-and-under move from the left. But I'm not fooling anyone about what's coming.
There's plenty of time yet to impart court philosophy. What's got me worried is sharing the game itself, physically. I can do the math. He's 1. I'm 48. His first real jump shots and dribble drives? I'm mid-to-late-50s. Game taking shape? Wrong side of 60. Ready to compete with grown men? Thinking about having my hip checked out. That's why I'm achy from a couple hundred jumpers in an empty gym. The clock is ticking; as his muscles learn their jobs, mine are forgetting theirs.
Sam was never going to blessed with advantages of height, brute strength, or flat-out talent. But I believe there to be some helpfully refined fast-twitch muscles, perhaps even an innate scrappiness and stamina, in those genes I've passed on. These days I focus mostly on just not passing out. I'm training hard for the first time, less for the integrity of my game than the promise of Sam's
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Dave Douglas: Greenleaf Music
point of departure
Jazz Journalists Association
Steve Smith: nightafternight
Willard Jenkins: Open Sky Jazz
music/food/justice in NOLA
Howard Mandel's JazzBeyondJazz