I woke up from a siesta and saw snowflakes in the air when I looked out my window. It made me wanna take my doggie to the park, so I told her we were going, she got all excited.
The ground was slightly covered with snowy patches, but the road looked clear. I thought about bringin' my shovel with me to get a head start on clearing the walk from the parking lot to the court, and the court itself; but thinking that the weather will warm up a bit in coming days, I found it pointless to start shoveling yet, so I left it at home.
Even though it's only just down the road, it seemed like there was more snow at the park than there was at my place, but it was no big deal. When I got to the ball court and saw it start coverin' over with thickening slush I kinda wished I brought the shovel, but that was only for a moment. I like the gnarly stuff, so I enjoyed it for what it was.
Shootin' baskets in any kind of thick wet snow and slush brings some definite adjustments into play for sure. Yeah, freezing numb hands make it tougher to shoot 'cause I can't feel the ball, but that's just minor stuff. It's the bounce of the ball in the slush and what the wet snow does when it is stuck to the side of it is where the challenge sits.
I'm not too great at bending over, so reaching down to the ground is tough. Slush doesn't let the ball bounce too well, so I have to bend down to pick up the ball after pretty much every shot. I didn't really enjoy that.
Aside from the bounce after a shot, it also meant I had to be conscious to put more umph into dribbling the ball. Every time the ball hit the ground I'd feel the cold splash of the slush on my legs. Each one feeling like a refreshing little pop of adrenaline. I did enjoy that.
The biggest adjustment to shootin' baskets in wet snow is when it clings to the ball causing the weight to be be severely lopsided and unbalanced. It does strange things with the flight of the ball, especially when it hits the peak of its arc and starts dropping down. Instead of the nice symmetrical path it usually takes, on the downside of its flight it drops off much more rapidly. The degree of that too depends on how much snow is stuck to the ball.
Sure, ballin' in the hot summer sun is great, and it's wonderfully magikal under the dark sky lit up by the moon, but I like the challenge of shootin' ball in the snow and slush. Frozen hands that I can't feel, a ball that doesn't bounce, and the inconsistent lopsided flight of the ball does something wondrous with the senses.
On top of shooting with the natural feel of the ball there's also all the different calculations needed to be made in regards to trajectory and velocity of shots. Ignoring all the implications of harsher conditions and finding the rhythm within it all is quite amazing. That's when the true essence of the experience really comes through for me...transcending the harshest conditions to find the beauty of it all. That's why I do it.
I've been in my new place for 6 months now, and tonight was the first time I shot baskets under moonlight. I forgot how majestic it is, and especially how much I missed it.
The odd time, when I am in town in the middle of the night, I'll go to the Hume School to toss up some hoops under faint shadows from the distant streetlights on Nelson Ave. I love doing that...a lot! I do the same thing, shooting under distant light, at Mt. Sentinel High school and Lion's Park too. There really is something special about it. When the cresting moon starts appearing over the mountain ridge and lights up the ball hoop in the pitch dark sky it is a different kind of special though.
When there's nobody out but the crisp air, the shadows of my wandering doggie, the silhouette of the ball hoop, and me with a ball I can barely see...siiiigh...is a piece of heaven on earth for me. It's just so serene in a really beautiful way. I was happy to get reminded of that tonight.
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.