Hoop dreams

Another conflicted blog/sports post, though I think it’s more the former than the latter.

I know I’ve talked some about basketball before- I recall a particular entry about Dennis and I, and our experiences in community leagues and against each other. Maybe I’ll link that, I think it’s a good reference for this piece.

One of the ideas for a novel that often bounced around in my head in my younger years was a full length blog-ish thing on basketball and life, weaving back and forth- similar to my posts there, or my earlier entry on curling. As a writer, it’s an instinct to find meaning and themes and symbolism between sports and life, and I think that’s part of why I like both- sports AND stories. And what connects them.

(We can ignore that I don’t know nearly enough about life to make that kind of memoir compelling for now, let’s work with the main premise.)

I’ve always tried to make that kind of writing not so rooted in the sport that you need to be a fan like me to understand it, but enough so that the meaning comes across clearly, and a basic understanding of it is rewarding for the reader. Most of my favourite “sports” books are ones that are more about life than the sport- books that aren’t afraid to see parallels, and use them to draw the story out more.

Sports are less important than life, and much simpler on the surface. But in any really good sport- as in anything worth understanding in life- there can be layers of meaning and symbolism to those observing. It’s not always visible in the moment- In the middle of any event requiring our attention, we don’t tend to reflect on it. In writing, it gets drawn out, poked and prodded, given that meaning that sportswriters like to ascribe to it. Is that a romantic notion, to want to see that meaning? To want it to be more than a contest?

In a really good combination post, this is what I want to wrestle with: Is it life that explains the sport? Or the sport that explains life?


One thought on “Hoop dreams

  1. Ben

    Maybe it is BECAUSE sports are a simpler, more defined form of interaction that we find valuable insights on life and people in them. I often saw shy, cautious young guys become determined, relentless rulers of the court, and heroes on the court became boring, even annoying away from the rectangle. Basketball seems to bring out the best in some people, in others the worst…

    Sports is done by human beings, who bring their personality along when they play, and so, things found in life reappear in sports, and are probably more visible in some respects. My on-court persona was quite like my usual self – I played with my brain, at the same time trying to take opportunities as they arose. Even my sloppy, lazy side made its mark, sadly, especially on my defense. 😉 Some days, I couldn’t have defended a 100-year-old, obese, 4’9” version of Shawn Bradley.

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