Old Dog, New Trick

Basketball Hoop, Spring 2013 in Kansas

Basketball Hoop, Spring 2013 in Kansas

I have a basketball hoop over the garage. We bought it last fall at a garage sale and my husband ‘installed it’ and bought me a basketball for my birthday. I don’t know much about basketball, in fact, I have never actually played basketball but I like to shoot hoops. It’s good exercise, especially if you miss a lot, like I do. The driveway is flat and wide so there’s plenty of space under the hoop. That’s good when the ball goes IN the hoop.  The problem is – not far from the edge of the concrete slab the property declines sharply into the woods. When my wild shots ping off the backboard I scrabble to stop the ball before it begins its rolling decent down the hill. If I miss, which is plenty, I end up chasing the ball down the hill or into the woods. It’s a steep hill. But that’s okay because the scramble counts as my aerobic exercise and the climb back up earns ‘flights of stairs’ credit on my fitbit. (The fitbit step counter measures incline and awards a flight of stairs credit for every 10 feet of elevation.)  The strategic placement of my basketball hoop gives me my own built in version of the endurance training where basketball players sprint up and down the bleachers.

When I shoot hoops my two dogs sit side by side inside the yard at the gate and watch. I think they are laughing. The good thing about them watching is that when I lose sight of my ricocheting ball I can get a clue to the direction it’s rolling by taking a quick glance at the dogs to see which way they are looking.

Shooting hoops, when you miss a lot, is also a good way to get waist bend exercises because of all the times you have to bend over to pick up the ball.

But I’m preparing to change all that. I’m going to California where I have several nephews who play basketball. They are tall lanky high school boys and they love to shoot hoops. They, like my dogs, are amused that I will shoot hoops with them watching. I won’t earn any stair credits because these nephews live in the Sacramento Valley where it’s totally flat. And I won’t get in as many waist bend exercises while shooting hoops with the boys because they chase the ball for me. Nice, right? And best of all, although they are very respectful of their ‘old’ auntie, they aren’t shy about giving me pointers. Last summer they taught me how to use the backboard to aim my ball into the net. “Aunt Barb – aim for the corner and it will pop right in!” Who knew? So, its summer time and I’m going back for more quality time on the court with my nephews.  I’ll come home and show those dogs of mine that it’s not too late to teach an old dog a new trick!