A Former Basketball Player Playing With His Kids – Short Story Book Review

Now then, as a former athlete, I know a thing or two about discussing glory days. Those times in our life when we were younger, playing sports, and had everything under control. Our bodies were full of agility, adrenaline, and testosterone. We were fearless, unstoppable, and best of all we knew it. We realized that we could will events to occur, that nothing was impossible, and that we would never get hurt, that nothing would happen to us. Of course, as you grow older, and experience more in sports, the competition gets tougher and you realize that you actually can get hurt, seriously in fact.

Not long ago I read a very interesting short story that reminded me of this, of the glory days. The name of the short story is; “Two on Two” by Brain Doyle, who is also the Editor of the Portland Magazine, University of Oregon at Portland. It indeed talks about a father who remembers a time when he was a basketball star, he reflects back on his own glory days; playing basketball in the park, in high school, and college, and eventually getting hurt and tweaking his back. It’s as if he wants to relive this vicariously through his own children, even though they are only ages one and two, so he plays with them on the driveway, with a small plastic basketball hoop not more than 3 feet high.

In this story he notes that he is sitting down about 8 feet away from the basket, he dribbles the ball a couple of times, and his kids try to grab it out of his hands. He then puts it behind his back, and one of his kids pulls his hair, the other reaches around and tugs on the ball, eventually he is able to get away from them, and as he tries to shoot, they are still all over him. As he reflects back, he also reflects forward, thinking that he wished he had a dad like that, one who played with him when he was growing up. He wonders if his kids will also become sports stars like he had.

It’s quite a touching story for a dad, for a father of very young children, wondering if he can become a great father, perhaps making up for his own dad’s shortcomings. How often do you think this happens in real life? Probably more than it should, and I think that’s what makes this story so memorable. It truly puts us in another man’s shoes, from his perspective of going from athlete, to injured, to father. Please consider all this and think on it.