Thursday, May 06, 2010

My Daughter's Homework: "He Loved Basketball"

Basketball Goal
(Image from Wikipedia)

I've mentioned before that my wife and I took our daughter Sa-Rah out of her Korean middle school and enrolled her in an online American school. We're fairly satisfied that she's getting a good education. She's 13 and in the 7th grade, but the school already has the students doing research and writing, which is more than I did in my middle school days. One of her recent writing assignments was "Turning Telling into Showing," and she wrote this little vignette on one of the topics offered:

"He Loved Basketball"
I could see immediately how good he was at playing basketball, and how much he loved it. His eyes shining with passion, hair wet with sweat, muscular arms and legs bruised various places, dribbling, shooting, running and jumping . . .

"He used to come here every day after school, and practiced until sunset," Jamie said. "And now that summer vacation’s started, he comes here every morning and practices all day. He seems to never get tired of it."

I turned my head toward Jamie and listened more to him talking about the boy who was nearly 6 feet tall, and how much he enjoyed playing basketball.

"The first day I saw him," Jamie continued, "he couldn't make a single goal. The ball wouldn't even reach the net. I guess one of the reasons was him being only 5 feet 6 inches. He's grown 5 inches since then, and is still growing, but anyway, he was very short for a 16-year-old boy to start playing basketball."

I nodded, and waited for Jamie to go on. Jamie looked briefly at the boy, shooting and making goals with the ball, and continued.

"He picked up one of the balls sitting at the end of the court, and started to practice one skill after another, from dribbling to shooting. He didn't have anyone to practice passing the ball with, so I decided to be his partner. Every time I got tired of practicing, and wanted to rest, he would keep on dribbling and shooting. He always looked like he wanted to practice more and more until he was better. After a week or so, he made his first goal and came running to me saying, 'Coach, coach! I've done it, I've made a goal!' and that's when he started calling me coach. I can still remember the big proud smile that spread across his face."

Jamie paused, looking away with a warm smile, as if remembering the whole thing.

"Well," Jamie said in a lighter tone, "now that he's better than any other kid in the neighborhood, and is still improving, I feel very proud." Jamie suddenly stood up and shouted to the boy drinking a cup of water, "Hey, Jackson! Let's practice!" And he tossed him a basketball.

The boy called Jackson replied, "Sure, coach! I think I could score more than you now!"
That's a good deal better than I could write at 13 . . . if I recall correctly. I actually don't remember having many writing assignments at that age. I do recall doing a lot of grammar lessons, which I was quite good at, for a hillbilly, anyway.

Sa-Rah doesn't have a lot of experience with basketball, and probably overestimates the difficulty of making a goal. I doubt that even a newbie would need a whole week to make a goal.

But there it is . . .



At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the ball goes through the hoop for a score, it is not called a "goal." It is called a "basket."

By the way, I didn't start writing as well as your child until I reached 22. Haha...oi.



At 9:57 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yeah, I wondered about that term "goal," but I've been gone so long (over twenty years) that I couldn't remember anymore.

Thanks for jogging my memory.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sa-Rah doesn't have a lot of experience with basketball, and probably overestimates the difficulty of making a goal. I doubt that even a newbie would need a whole week to make a goal."
--Horace Jeffery Hodges

Well, the difficulty of the accompishment would depend on what kind of "goal" it was. A "layup" can be made fairly easily by a healthy 5'6" 16 year old male. A "jump shot" from 15ft would be impossible for a young boy who had weak legs. By "weak," I mean "be able to generate enough force in the jump to even be able to take a jump shot."

But I think "Jackson," as envisioned by Sa-Rah, is probably a "set-shooter." This is a kind of shot in which the shooter does a slight hop in the act of shooting, instead of leaping high into the air. These kinds of shots are also difficult to make from 15ft without a good base. Most people try to chuck the ball using their upper body only instead. If "Jackson" ended up being a consistent shooter within a week, I'd say that that's pretty good.

Incidentally, 15 feet is the horizontal distance from the "free-throw" line to the point perpendicular to the backboard. Most people begin practicing their shot by standing at the free throw line and shooting without letting the toes leave the ground. Perhaps this is what Sa-Rah had in mind?



At 10:16 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I probably gave the impression that I didn't know much about basketball, but I grew up in a place where it was the second-most-popular religion after the Baptists.

My brothers and I all played. I was the least talented of the five of us, but I did develop good jumping skills and could dunk two-handed by the time I was 18, but only after I'd already graduated from high school.

My shooting skills were mediocre, and my dribbling skills were okay, but I could pass well, and I was great on defense because I could block shots.

So . . . I know a little about the game, but I do forget English terms, living in the Outland so long.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My classmate, Jim Webb, who helped Viola High School win their first state basketball championship in 1957, went on to play college basketball, then coached high school athletics. and was athletic director in East Texas Baptist University until his retirement, would always relate a story about Viola basketball days.
He said whenever someone living in Viola had a newborn baby boy, as soon as he was able to reach for objects, they would place a book and a basketball in front of him.
If he reached for the book, they would just knock him in the head, and try for another baby.


At 10:38 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, thanks for that anecdote from the good old days. Folks just don't have values like that no more.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I probably gave the impression that I didn't know much about basketball, but I grew up in a place where it was the second-most-popular religion after the Baptists."
--Horace Jeffery Hodges

That's what happens when you lapse in the practice of your true religion. Now get on your knees and make a half-court prayer!!!


At 3:36 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Next time I'm in the sanctity of a gymnasium, I'll be sure to do that.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is amazing! I love it. I don't think I could write that well until ... well ... perhaps I still can't!

Pass on my "OMG, awesome!" to Sa-Rah, please.

Melissa in Daejeon

PS: Word verification is "prop host". Perfect!

At 7:13 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Melissa. I'll let Sa-Rah know.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:44 AM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

I love that little story!

Goodness, perhaps Sa-Rah could write a book incorporating En-Uk's artwork on Kim Jong-Il. What a team!

Congratulations to Sa-Rah.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Sa-Rah said...

Thank you, "Consevative in Virginia"!

This is Sa-Rah. I am very glad that you liked my little story - although I wish I knew more about basketball so that I could write a more realistic story.

Oh, and maybe I 'should' actually write a book that incorporates En-Uk's Kim Jung-Il drawing series.

Thank you(:


At 11:43 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

CIV, En-Uk did mention a cartoon series on the Dreary Leader, so perhaps something can be worked out . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:45 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sa-Rah, I see that you are willing on this book thing. Should I make this a homework assignment?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:33 PM, Blogger Skryfblok said...

Sa-Rah's definitely got the showing (rather than telling) thing down. An excellent writer for a 13 year old!

At 4:19 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks. She'll be encouraged to hear that since she's more fluent in Korean and worries that her English isn't good enough.

Jeffery Hodges

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