Basketball is an essential part of my and my neighborhood’s life. There’s so much that can be written about playground basketball culture. Here’s one piece.
Yesterday while on my way to the store, i noticed some friends shooting around in the park. As is usually the case for me and so many people in the neighborhood, my reaction was to approach them, put my hands up, and ask, “Yo! Can I Get A Shot?!”
In a way, this interaction is like a rite of passage for a bballer growing up in the hood. As children having fun on the court, all of us have had to “give up the rock” to an older person demanding a quick shot before going about their business. This genuinely annoying fact of life is a generally tolerated and accepted part of the local playground culture. Once we’re older, we switch place and become the person demanding a quick shot.
Of course, as a person with a highly sensitive moral consciousness, i often question the way i have seen people go about asking for a shot, obviously meaning to take the ball whether the youth cares or not. In the past i have even seen people “jokingly threaten” in a very believable manner to take the young person’s ball and walk away with it if they didn’t give it up for that moment. Also, i’ve seen people abuse their position in the arbitrary age hierarchy and “hog the ball” for periods of 10 to even 30 minutes!
C’mon my peers! We can do better!
Anyway, i asked for the shot the only way i could as the unique individual i am in these projects: politely but in an assertive tone.
The first shot, a three-pointer from the corner, was a brick—an “airball”. After i grabbed the next rebound, i took two steps forward along the baseline and drained a set shot. Getting my “respect”, that second shot awarded after making a first, i took two steps back, called it, and let a jumper rip, restricted as i was in my belted jeans, tucked in button down shirt, and North Face coat. After going in, the shot came back out, rolled on the rim, then uneventfully went down between the iron. How sweet it was! i proceeded to the store with a smile. More park stories to come.