… on old dogs and new tricks


So sixteen isn’t really old.

Or, like… a dog.

But these days, when kids are supposed to pick their sports area of expertise by the age of 2 (they get until 3 to choose their academic pursuits – I mean, c’mon, society isn’t cruel) … anyway, in a world where kids seem to commit to their sport super early and then play it all freakin’ year long because the idea of a single season of sports has just flown out the window… well, I can see how 16 might feel a little ‘old’ to try something new.


The Self Proclaimed Perfect Boy Gabe has played soccer since he was pew-ny and he and his bestest friend Mitchell Wheeler signed up for kids kick soccer (I think they were four years old). Mitch’s dad was the coach, the Nearly Perfect Husband was the assistant coach (The Nearly Perfect Husband knew nothing about soccer but he cheered everyone on with much enthusiasm).  And the boys and the Dads played and coached together for years on town soccer teams. And then suddenly there was also winter soccer (which was, thank Gawd, held indoors).

And then, one day during winter soccer, a very nice man in a red uniform came over to talk with us about Gabe potentially playing club soccer and Gabe was very excited.

Not necessarily about the soccer. About the idea if he played on this coach’s team in the spring, Gabe would get his name on the back of a brand new uniform that was red (and Gabe loved red).

At that time, Gabe had odd views on what contributed to soccer success. For instance, he also asked us to call him ‘Gabiago’ because he said it sounded more Brazilian and professional.

He was 8.

So anyway, the idea of the club team that included his name on the back of his jersey cemented the deal. Gabe was playing soccer pretty much all year long. He took summers off.

Now he trains in the summer.

I should state that this is all driven by him, as the Nearly Perfect Husband and I are allergic to parentally-driven kid interests and/or success. We pretty much just follow him around, being his designated drivers, and try to support him.

Because Gabe is all soccer, soccer, soccer.

But sadly…

The Nearly Perfect Husband loves basketball.

It was his favorite sport to play in high school. Once, he even got to play on the parquet floor of the old Boston Garden. He was also a maniacal Celtics fan.

And Gabe is six-foot five.

Poor JoHn.

So every year, for many, many years, JoHn has excitedly asked Gabe if he would try basketball. He has begged and pleaded and – yep – attempted to bribe him.

It never worked. Not once.

But now…

Gabe is dating the captain of the girls’ varsity basketball team.

Oh ya.

And Gabe was at her house for dinner a couple of weeks ago and came home and said he was sort of interested in playing no-experience-required town basketball.

I’m pretty sure the Nearly Perfect Husband saw angels.

And then Gabe explained that his girlfriend’s Dad… let’s call him Mr. Girlfriend, shall we?… Okay, so Gabe only wants to play if he is on Mr. Girlfriend’s team because he is also friends with Mr. Girlfriend’s son (who is on the team).

And also, since Gabe is late signing up, Mr. Girlfriend would say that he would tell his fellow town coaches that he would ‘sacrifice’ and take Gabe onto his team (ya, the 6’5 kid would be the ‘pity pick’ in the draft (yep, there is a draft))… but if JoHn agreed to be the ‘Assistant Coach’, and he was Gabe’s ride, then Gabe being on Mr. Girlfriend’s team was pretty much a lock.


John is so happy! And Gabe is trying a new sport, which is cool. And it turns out that there are a bunch of kids from soccer who decided to play this year as first time basketball players and many were drafted to Gabe’s team.

And on Saturday, they played their first game.




I want to impress upon you that the following photos were all taken during Gabe’s very first, very serious basketball game. 

Firstly, Gabe decided that, if he wasn’t going to light it up with basketball finesse, he was going to impress with his footwear (both socks and shoes):


Teal and hot pink. The choices of champions.

Then, I noticed that he didn’t have to move all that much to be impressive…


“Do you want this? Huh, punk… do ya?

and he did take everything about the game extremely seriously…


The guy laughing in front of him, with the rather wide sweat band? Fellow soccer player, Matt. Every single soccer player wore a conspicuous sweat band, ‘because that’s what basketball players do’.

And even JoHn took it all very seriously as an assistant coach…


Oh, I’m sorry. Can’t see him? Let me zoom in for you…


Gabe’s first basket? I joined several fellow soccer parents when I yelled, “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL” from the stands.

And even when I got home and went through the photos of my youngest cherub, playing his first basketball game at the ripe old age of 16, I was completely out of my element.

I don’t understand a thing about basketball.

So when Gabe did this:


purposefully blurred and black and white-d because I wanted it to look like a spy photo…

I was all confused and asked JoHn, and he told me it was something official and basketball-y called ‘Boxing Out’.

Ya. That’s not gonna work for me.

Now, and forever more, it shall be called ‘The Poop Move’.

A competition that encourages poop moves as key elements of success?

Count. Me. In.

Thanks for readin’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs always, you can come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment or just hang out.