Blog: What On Earth?

(originally written 10/14/12)

The scene: Shenandoah Park, American Canyon. I am alone on the basketball court, running and working on my jumper.

A boy, about age eight, rides up on a scooter. "Do you know how to play basketball?" His eyes are wide; he actually looks kind of insane.

 

I reply, "Yes, do you?"

Boy: "I know how to play 21! I CHALLENGE YOU TO 21!"

What On Earth?

Kids occasionally do try to join me on the hoop court, and I always let them–after all, they're kids. Usually we just shoot around or do trick shots, although a couple of months ago a 13-year-old challenged me to 21. And I beat him 21-zip. But I'm not here to talk about the past.

So I play into the kid's fantasy. After he takes off his shirt–takes off his shirt–he dribbles...and dribbles...and dribbles...endlessly. I actually grow impatient and remind him that he has to shoot the ball sooner or later, that I'm not just gonna chase him all over the court. He DOES make one shot and decides to talk smack. "GET OUTTA MY KITCHEN!" "GET OUTTA MY KITCHEN!" "I'M ON THE LOOSE!"

What On Earth?

After about ten minutes of this (during which time he shot four times), I have enough and send the reluctant boy on his way before either A) I punt him, or B) I'm accused by a 21st-century panic mom of trying to molest him. (He's still shirtless.)

Not five minutes after he leaves, I take a breather. A young couple heads my way; the male invites me to his church where I'll have the opportunity to "learn about the Bible" and "ask questions about Jesus". Obviously, I politely refuse. He does not approach the man shooting around at the other hoop, nor does he approach anyone else in the park. Rather, he and his girl go sit down on a bench.

What On Earth?

Soon I'm back in action. A different dude, an older one, actually walks onto the court while I'm shooting, to make his pitch. He begins with small talk but we both know where this is headed.

"Do you believe in God?"
"Sometimes. Depends on the day." 
"Did you know Jesus died for our sins?"
"I heard."
"Blah blah blah, Jesus blah blah Christ blah blah salvation blah."
"Hey, man, I'm just trying to get through today. Thank you for the message but I just want to keep shooting hoops."

What On Earth?

At that point, I immediately left before a group of Christ devotees encircled me and forced me to church at gunpoint.

Then I thought back.


Last week some guy knocked on my door trying to invite me to his church, as well. Clearly, I'm emitting something blasphemous. 
Are there Photoshopped JPEGs of me online with a tramp in each arm and my cock hanging out?
Am I coveting my neighbor's wife? (Ew)
Could it be that somehow, without my knowledge, I've been convicted of murder and am on Death Row?

Whatever the case may be, if Jesus has something to do with the positive direction my life is headed in, I thank him sincerely. But I don't want his minions pushing themselves on me...

...unless they can get weird kids off the court in return.