Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Home Court

I had no intention of playing basketball yesterday. I had coughed violently the previous night, for some reason, and only went to the JCC to use the steam room, which is a great help when I'm in respiratory distress. But all four courts were free, without the divider lowered, and I couldn't resist. Although I eventually had to share the space with a large -- but mellow -- family, I got in twenty minutes of shooting in solitude. And it felt great, even though my legs were heavy and my range was off.

I have enormously fond memories of shooting outdoors in the snow as a teenager, wearing just shorts and a T-shirt. And at the school in Hamburg, during my first month in Germany, when I barely understood any of the language and each trek through my Eppendorf neighborhood was like anthropological research. And in Vallejo, at the junior high, when the Laotian kid would sometimes show up and ask why I was studying English if I already knew it so well. But the court I was on yesterday, at the JCC is hallowed ground too, though my associations with Tucson are less than positive as a whole.

This is where I'd bring two-year-old Skylar to play on the mats; where I shot even in the grip of pneumonia that made walking up stairs feel like mountain climbing; where I played one-on-one every week with my improbable novelist friend even though my right knee was in such bad shape that it would take me five minutes to get out of my seat at the movies; where I played with sixty-year-olds and ten-year-olds, sometimes in the same game; where former U of A player Corey Williams ever so politely declined the screen I was trying to set for him, saying it was the fundamentally sound thing to do but would hinder his freedom driving to the hole, all while dribbling on the wing; and where Skylar made her first turnaround off the glass from the low block, the shot I taught her so she'll have a go-to move when the going gets rough.

There are some things about Tucson I won't miss a bit and many others for which my melancholy will be mild at best. But the big gym with the excessively hard wood floors, hot and oppressive as it can be, is one place I will miss terribly, all the more so because it's unlikely that I'll get to visit it again after I move. I'm sure I'll be back for the mountains and cactus, for Sonoran hot dogs and Raging Sage, but the likelihood of taking the time to go shoot hoops on a trip, not to mention finding someone to get me in on a guest pass, is not great. That's why I'm making it a point to savor my JCC experiences now, because there's always a chance that I'll be somewhere else next year and a much greater chance that I'll have moved in a couple years.
Tags: autobiography, everyday, nostalgia, sports, tucson

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