A conversation in four quarters
By Brian Doyle
Another thing we do not talk about when we talk about love is how often we cannot talk to each other even when we love each other intensely, so we have to use code, because if we tried to talk without it, seething misunderstandings and roaring arguments would result, and both parties would stomp away furious.
So we thrash to find languages we can speak in, and to other people perhaps we sound inane and insipid, but if that is the only way we can speak, then that is how we speak.
My son and I speak basketball. We do not seem to be able to communicate in languages other than basketball. If we try to speak about school, jobs, alcohol, chores, the future, or love, we each stomp away furious.
We had a lovely conversation in code yesterday, and I was so moved by its weird subtle love that I wish to recount it here.
Did you apply for the job? I ask.
Celtics might trade Rajon Rondo.
Why keep him now with no one to pass to?
Because he’s only 27 years old, and he’s the best passing guard in the league.
Trade him for draft picks.
But you couldn’t draft anyone better than him. Why quit on him?
Build around him?
Yeh. Reboot with a great passer to teach the new kids. Have faith.
Is he the best?
Close but no—Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Derrick Rose. Deron Williams?
Is Rose really a point guard?
Eight assists a game don’t lie, pop.
Is he Allen Iverson?
Six assists per game for his career, pop. People forget. Eight assists a game in his great years.
I’d love not to ask about jobs and homework and stuff.
And I’d love it if you didn’t.
But I …
The Warriors for real, pop?
Well—fun to watch, but I bet they don’t win 50 this year. More fun to watch than any team in the league though. A terrific backcourt and horse rebounders. No defense.
Back surgery don’t lie, son. Dwight Howard will slow them down, I think. Poor passer.
I could see Clippers versus Oklahoma for the West. You?
Never bet against the Spurs, pop. Have faith.
Still? They are all like 90 years old.
People been saying their window is closed for 10 years. Their window never closes.
That’s what I am trying to say to you.
To beat Miami? No. Never bet against LeBron. Plus they have no point guard.
Oklahoma beats Miami in seven. Durant earns his first MVP this year.
I’ll take Miami for $10.
I have faith.
One step at a time, pop.
Although what if Rondo went to the Pacers? Then they’d have a point guard.
I love ball. Ball is the greatest sport ever. With respect to Australian football.
Me too. There’s basketball, and there’s everything else.
Do people love other sports like we love ball?
Supposedly. I don’t believe it.
Best sandwich ever.
I have to go. Back by midnight.
Have faith, pop. Have faith.
Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland magazine at the University of Portland, and the author most recently of the novel Mink River. He writes the weekly Epiphanies column at theamericanscholar.org.
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