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Write What You Love - The Basketball Edition

Basketball is on my mind today. All three of my young daughters play basketball. It's always been my favorite sport to watch and play. I'm a good player for a 40-something woman, but I'm not good. It was my idea for our kids to play basketball. I could have signed them up for softball, or swimming, or pushed harder for soccer. But I love basketball, and I think it's good for girls because it promotes fierceness, confidence, and teamwork.


I've been coaching their teams for a few years, always as an assistant coach (because, again, not very good.) Tonight at practice, I'll be head coach for our fourteen 10-12-year old girls, since our usual top dog coach has a scheduling conflict. So basketball is on my mind. I'm a great coach, but less great as an instructor of the sport of basketball. My experience with the game is playing it in 7th-9th grades, and I am by no means a basketball fanatic. But the game excites me. What many white people don't like about the game ("Why do they have to act so tough?" "Why are their shorts so long?" "What's with all the tattoos and dyed hair?") is some of what I like about the game. Maybe I think I'm "street" because I grew up in NYC. But I'm not. I'm a private school kid whose parents owned a brownstone on the Upper West Side. I was no more "street" than the kids from "Gossip Girl."


In college I had a "friend" who seemed to have a different persona for every night out. Some nights she wore her "cowboy chic" look, sometimes her "steampunk" look, and sometimes her "hip-hop" look. As the friendship began to wane, I began to judge her need to put on the costumes for different personalities, like she was hiding from herself and everyone else. I feel like a poser when I love on basketball. What right do I have to be so attracted to basketball when I barely played it as a kid and I'm not terribly good at it?


This post is not about me writing a basketball movie, because I'm not. But it is about doing what you love. Even if you look like a poser doing it. I'm a 40-something white woman who loves watching basketball movies.



You know who else loves basketball? Adam Sandler. And he produced "Hustle." You know who else? Spike Lee. And he wrote and directed "He Got Game." You know who else? Jamie Foxx. And he wrote "All-Star Weekend." And you know else? Sports fan and former professional baseball player, Ron Shelton. And he wrote "White Men Can't Jump."


 

Spike Lee's "He Got Game" with Denzel Washington and basketball star, Ray Allen.


Adam Sandler produced "Hustle," starring himself and basketball star, Juancho Hernangomez.


Ron Shelton's "White Men Can't Jump," starring Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes.


 

Unfortunately, there are no clips from "All-Star Weekend," Jamie Foxx's sports comedy, because the film has never seen the light of day. Online articles blame cancel culture and Jamie Foxx's perfectionism as a filmmaker for the film never being released. Too bad- I would definitely watch it.


If you love basketball, write a movie about basketball. If you love gardening, write a book about gardening. If you're a 60-year-old heterosexual black man who loves Madonna, dance like no one's watching.


Embrace what you love, even if you don't fit the mold. Explore it. Learn more about it. Get better at it.


And on that note, I'm going to go watch some basketball coaching videos before tonight's practice.

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