You spend a lot of your youth wishing you were an adult, only to become one, only to constantly wish you were young again.
I was reminded of this watching Kobe Bryant in his last game last night…But this isn’t a sports post, and it it’s not a Kobe post; it’s a life post, and a reminder how quickly time flies.
Growing up, I would say that my first passion was basketball, and my favourite team was the Lakers, by far. I mocked the Kareem “sky hook” as a player, and would copy every Magic Johnson play I would see on the playground. I remember watching the NBA Finals with my friends in the basement of their house, and the Lakers losing, so I later on refused to watch the games with others because I thought it was bad luck. That was how deep I was into the team.
I still remember the day that Magic announced that he had contracted the HIV virus, and being devastated at practice, not really understanding what was going on what that meant. I bled (and still do) purple and gold, and seemingly live and die with this team.
After years of bad teams, the Lakers announced that they had signed free agent Shaquille O’neal, one of the best basketball players in the world, and definitely a team changer. I was beyond myself with excitement as what this would hold for the future of the team. This was all happening while I was in university, and there was a professional player named Willie Murdaugh who actually lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where I was living at the time, who had a tryout that same year in 1996. As he was the last cut on the team, I remember him coming back after the experience in Lakers’ attire, and was so thrilled to be able to ask him questions about his experience. My first question was about Shaq, and how good he was, and I remember him saying something that stunned me. “Shaq is really good, but they just drafted this kid named Kobe Bryant, and he is going to be a pretty amazing player.” My first reaction was, “Who?”, and I just kind of moved on from there.
I found myself 20 years later, cheering for Kobe as he scored 60 points in his final game of his career, jumping up and down, screaming in a hotel room, and thinking, “this is amazing for such an old player”, soon realizing I am four years older.
As I cheered in my hotel room watching, I remember that day I first heard about Kobe Bryant, along with his first championship with the Lakers, and this moment that was happening right now, and all I could think about was how everything seemed so close together and that it all happened in a blink of an eye.
The first time I heard of Kobe Bryant, I was in university and had to pay for computer use in our lab since this was more of a luxury than a norm.
For his first championship, I lived in a tiny house, and had a computer with a 20gb hard drive (top of the line at that time) and dial up internet while “Napster” was all the rage.
Last night, I watched the game on my MacBook Air in a hotel room, while the Warriors team won their 73rd game on the TV, and I tweeted from my phone.
So much has changed in what seems like such a short time.
When someone asks me how long I have been an educator, I have to think about what year it is and count backwards from there. I hear about people who have taught for 15 years and think, “wow..that’s a long time”, only to realize I have taught longer. It has all happened so fast and so much has changed. I have had my ups and downs, lost more people in my life than I like to think about, and am still growing.
As I watched the game, I thought about the day that my dad put up a green backboard, that wasn’t oddly shaped and crooked, so I could practice outside in my driveway. He would come home after work, and shoot with me underhanded for awhile, and then go inside. That kid is still there. That moment is so close, yet so far away. I would do anything to have one more game of basketball with my dad on that terrible green backboard.
I was reminded last night, watching someone that I basically grew up into adulthood end his career, and just think how things happen seemingly in the blink of an eye.
Even though it is just a game, I have watched so many of the players that I have loved retire, leave the game, even pass away, while a new crop of players comes up and does amazing things. Last night wasn’t just about watching a basketball game, but it reminded me that life is short, and that I need to continue focus on making every moment count, because those moments are what makes up life, both the highs and lows. They have all happened in the blink of an eye, and although these moments make up our life, I just wish sometimes they wouldn’t happen so fast.
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