My 3rd grade son has started playing basketball in our town's large elementary school league. It's been interesting for about 5000 reasons, which 4999 of them are for a different blog post that I will never get around to writing. The referees rotate, but several times we have one that is my very, very favorite. He is one of the older ones, and by that I mean that he is old enough to not only buy beer, but possibly have a child that is old enough to buy beer. The other ones are clearly doing this either for community service or beer money which they will give to their older sibling who is actually old enough to purchase it. I don't know this refs name, but for the purpose of this story, let's call him Fred. Fred is clearly doing this little Saturday morning gig because he enjoys the sport and seeing the kids learn. Fred does things like stop the game so a kid can tie his shoes or explain to a kiddo what he did wrong rather than just calling a foul. Or helping turn them around so they play the right side on the right side of the court, which happens about twice a game at this level. Fred is a good guy and possibly the only ref that doesn't get yelled at by the overbearing parents that act like we are watching the Final Four.
At the last game I noticed that he was calling out something that sounded like "jump ball" a lot. And I had no idea what that meant. But that certainly doesn't mean anything because I don't have any idea of a lot of the things he calls out. By the second period and 5th jump ball call, I realized he was actually calling "Junk Ball". Now, all the moms I sit with are much more versed in the ways of the elementary league basketball terms than I am (and some other things, but again, a different blog post) and I didn't feel like I could ask what the hell Junk Ball was without being laughed at. And right now my goal is to not get laughed at or get in a parking lot brawl with anyone that feels the need to scream "TURN AROUND MADDOX!!! EYES ON THE BALL MADDOX!!!" or anything else that ends with Maddox. You know why? Because Maddox is my kid. And unless you are saying "GOOD JOB MADDOX", shut your damn mouth. In fact, I don't care who you are yelling at, because THEY ARE THIRD GRADERS, PEOPLE!! I am not above decking you in the parking lot. And with 6 more weeks of this shit to go, I think we can probably assume that it's going to happen. I've been working on my right hook, and I'm feeling pretty confident in it. And that's to say nothing of my kicking abilities.
So, not wanting to out myself as an idiot, I rushed my non-sports-mom self over to my son's team coach, who I spent the better part of a decade married to, and asked what the hell Junk Ball means. To my surprise, I wasn't given the typically eye roll I usually get when I ask sports questions. He laughed and said he had no idea, it just must be this refs "thing". I can't tell you the delight I got in telling all those moms who had no clue but would have never let on that they didn't know either. As the game progressed I realize that Junk Ball is when things take a turn that can only get ugly. Its Fred's way of calming things down before it becomes Foul City or someone gets hurt. Once Junk Ball is called, he rotates teams or picks the team most in the right to throw it in and start the game again. It's the 3rd grade boy sports equivalent of let's all just calm the fuck down. It's control/alt/delete in an F5 sort of way. It's a Try Again. The sweet man called 32 Junk Balls in that one game. God love him.
Now, hold that thought while I go somewhere else—I'm going to bring you around the bend, I swear.
I like little mantras. Things I can pull out of nowhere to remind myself of…..whatever I need to remind myself of. A little go-to phrase that brings me back to the present moment instead of going down the 10 mile path of worry and stress that I often travel for no necessary reason.
Yesterday I had the most fabulous day. Nothing big happened—either bad or good. Actually, that's a lie. I found a pair of jeans on sale that fit me like a giant hug that I would actually like receiving. And I think we can all agree that's a huge thing. That's a once in a lifetime thing. Because about the only thing I hate worse than forced hugs is trying to find jeans that fit. But jeans thing aside, it was a great day. I saw some of my favorite people, got some good news, and you know, the jeans. I was the best version of myself. Then I hit a little random speed bump of worry or anxiety or the other 648 emotions that by force of habit, give me a little pause. And out of nowhere, I found myself saying, oh that's just a Junk Ball.
I'm telling you people, use it. It's the next big thing. I'm going to make this ref famous. I'll have him on Oprah by the end of the season. :)
Oh, and in addition to the jeans, I got a new boyfriend. His name is Mike.