Thursday, February 25, 2016

Senior League

It wasn't long ago that the cry of "Kobe" as a shot went up meant that "swish" was the expectation as the basketball came down. I should know-- for a long time I have had a mini basketball hoop and a duct tape strip on the carpet about 10 feet away from it in my classroom, and I have heard that cry for years.

On most days the "Lollipop Line" is open in the three minutes between third period and the bell for lunch. Any student who feels like it can stop by, grab one of the ten or so mini-basketballs from the milk crate by the line, and take a shot to win the choice of a piece of candy from the large plastic barrel I keep behind my desk.

Oh, there are rules: hit the lights or the ceiling? Then you are out for the day. Otherwise, follow your shot, get your rebound, and hustle back in line for another chance. On any given day two or three kids out of the 15 or so who show up make the shot, but everyone has a good time, including me as I referee and cheer each student on. It is a simple way to build rapport and community in three minutes a day, as evidenced by the fact that I rarely have behavior issues with any of the regulars.

This year there is one student who always waits until the bell has rung and his classmates are gone. "Will you take a shot?" he asks me every day.

"Sure," I tell him, and I don't mind it when I miss, because it shows that I'm willing to take a chance.

Today was just such a day; the shot I took was way off.

"Kobe!" he cried when I missed.

I raised my eyebrows at him.

"You're just like Kobe Bryant!" he continued, in case I didn't get the reference. "He misses all the time, too! There is one difference though... He's old!"

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