Posts tagged not books
Posts tagged not books
I only recently started watching Arrested Development (I know! Quel scandale!) so I am new to how funny it is and scared of annoying people by talking about how much I like it. (This might be a thing that only happens to people who live in Brooklyn.) But, guys, I have already watched the moment above a few dozen times and it is still killing me every time. Instant snort laughter. Completely perfect.
Am I The Worst Basketball Player In New York City? by David Hill. My day, week, summer: all made.
Quick correction, though, in re: “I expected the Word league to be the kind of league with lots of timeouts for people’s glasses falling off. This was going to be a whole different thing.”
We actually do take timeouts for that. I’m not a monster!
The weird thing about watching through X-Files again is realizing that basically 85% of my romantic history can be explained by me wanting to date/be one of The Lone Gunmen.
My contribution to The How-To Issue is How To Complete A Layup.
As the commissioner of a basketball league for book people, I meet a lot of enthusiastic nerds who have no idea how to play basketball. There are a few basic skills I tell them to start with. The basic layup is the primary offensive skill. As a side note, it’s even easier to learn basic defensive skills, but that’s more of an in-person how-to.*
I am going to assume complete basketball ignorance here, without judging, which is why this post begins with a video of a layup. What Allen Iverson does after stealing the ball is a layup.
We’re going to learn to complete a basic layup on the right side of the basket because it uses more of the right hand than the left, and most people are right-handed, so it’s a little easier. But know this can be completely replicated on the left side, by just changing the words “right” and “left” in this guide, and should be, by both right- and left-handed people.
The layup uses two fundamental basketball skills: dribbling and shooting, so as a quick reminder, you are not allowed to move your feet in basketball without dribbling, or bouncing the ball against the ground. Generally the rule is that you cannot go more than one step without doing this, but the rule is slightly bent for layups, and for all professional basketball players who make more than $3 million a year.
Okay. So this is what you do.
1. Start at the right-hand top of the key (this is the top of the large rectangle facing the basket, and it is called a key because it is shaped like the little cards you get to open your room in a hotel**) with a ball in hand.
2. Step towards the basket with your left foot while dribbling once with your right hand.
3. Collect the ball as it comes back up from the dribble, controlling with both hands, as your right foot hits the ground.
4. As your left foot hits the ground, bring the ball up and across your body. Instead of letting your left foot land on the ground and stay there, you should land on the ball of the left foot and sort of launch yourself right back off it. Shoot the ball, using your right hand to launch the ball and your left hand to protect and guide it.
4a. Aim for the square painted on the backboard. If there’s no square, aim for the spot on the backboard where it would be. (Imagine the rim flipped straight back on a hinge and then traced around. That’s basically where it would be.)***
4b. Did you know that a standard basketball rim can accommodate two basketballs passing through it at exactly the same time? It can. I mention this because a lot of new basketball players think it looks very small and combative because of the angle. But there’s plenty of room in there, so be confident.
5. Once the ball goes through the hoop, try not to look to proud of yourself, hustle back to play defense, and keep an eye out for teammates reaching a hand in your direction, because that means they want to give you a high-five for your accomplishment.
Please note: this should all be done in about two seconds.
Possible mitigating factors:
1. You might want to, or have to, start your layup further away from the basket. Make sure you keep dribbling in that case, and do your best to make sure you are on your left foot when you get to the top of the key. (You cannot stop dribbling and then start again, as an FYI.)
2. It is rare to attempt a layup with no defensive pressure in a game situtation (although you should practice that way at first, to get the hang of it). There are a few things you can do about this; my favorite is to pump-fake, which is when you cut the fluid motion of the layup and instead land squarely on both feet at the end, PRETEND to shoot, then pull the ball back and wait a tick while your defender jumps to block your shot, and then once they land ineffectually and are off-balance for a moment, shoot. This is very satisfying when it works.
3. A defensive player might strike your body in some way, probably an arm, while trying to keep you from making the layup. If they do, you have been fouled, and play will stop. Depending on the circumstance, your team will either get to re-set the offense or you will get to shoot some foul shots. This is generally a good thing and many people will try for a layup up with this exact intent, which is called “drawing a foul.” Sometimes if you feel you have messed up your layup in some way when you’re in the middle of it, it’s good to try to draw a foul, to salvage something from the situation.
3a. If the defensive player only hits the ball, though, that is legal and called a “block.” It’s a little embarrassing, but it happens to everybody from time to time, so shake it off when it happens to you.
I am happy to teach you this in person any weekend morning this summer at the courts at American Playground in Greenpoint. Good luck!
*In a nutshell, though, in case you have a game tomorrow: keep low, keep your thighs as parallel to the ground as possible, move on the balls of your feet, look at stomachs instead of faces, and keep your hands in the air.
**Kidding! It is actually called the key because it used to look like a skeleton key, as it does in this stellar video of a up-and-coming teenage Wilt Chamberlin. But it’s been widened twice (in the 50s and then the 60s in response to the domination of a few very good big men, since you are not allowed to be in the paint for more than three seconds at a time, and then they had to move around more, which supposedly made the game more fair. The 60s widening being due in part to Mr Chamberlin.)
***Though you may have noticed while watching basketball on TV that the backboard seems more like a decorative touch than a part of the court—as a people, we like the swoosh, I guess—the basic layup should rely heavily on the backboard, which is why it’s such a good place to learn on offense. Or as a former coach of mine liked to say: “Do you think God invented backboards just so you could ignore them, Anderson? Huh?”
Today’s discovery: binder clips make pretty good hair accessories. Has stayed like this for about an hour now.
This picture is a good representation of my friendship with Dustin. (Thanks, Steven, for capturing it.)
We are going to start a podcast, Dustin and I. We will open each episode by challenging each other. First, I will name a sports term, like “free throw” or “running back” and ask him to identify which sport it belongs to, and what the phrase means. Then, he will read some poetry and ask me to identify the poet’s nationality, and what the poem means. Then we will tell each other what we are reading, and fight about those titles until the end of the hour, whether or not we’ve both read the books in question. The podcast will end after exactly sixty minutes regardless of whether we are still arguing.
I expect we will only have five or six regular listeners, but they will all be slavishly devoted!
You should just hang out with my arrogant tall sisters, who think I am short when I am in fact above-average in height!
Look, everyone under 5’7” is the same height to us, and that height is: short. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
(But let’s be real: tall-girl arrogance is just a cover for feeling like a big monsterface most of the time of most days! Think of it the same way you think of cats hissing, and feel sympathy.)
(Also, if you get a chance, can you find out where they buy their shoes?)
I have accepted that most women’s shoes are not available in my size (the forboding twelve, which lurks around the edges of clothing catalogs like a forgotten ghost) even though my inability to find shoes outside of Payless and a few select boutique shoe shops usually leads me to feel like some sort of Sasquatchian freak that will eventually just need to tie tree bark to my feet with fishing line in order to take part in human company. I am tall and I have big feet; okay. Breathe in, breathe out. Tall people need big feet. Without them, we might topple over, imbalanced. That might get messy.
But today, I went shopping for basketball sneakers, and they did not have them in my size. This, I cannot accept without complaining. Shoes for basketball. You know, the sport for tall people? The sport I have played most of my life despite not having any intrinsic athletic ability because, as dozens of coaches have joked to my face, you can’t teach height? I am actually pretty short for a tall girl, in basketball terms, and to be totally honest, my feet are bigger than I am tall. Given my feet, I should really be about 6’1” and I am not sure what happened there, as I’d like to be that tall. Anyway, my feet are weird almost everywhere else, but under the soothing fluorescent gym lighting of the basketball world, they are average. So I would like to be able to put actual shoes on my feet, please.
I already hate going into shoe stores, telling the nice girl my size, watching her eyes widen and look at my feet like they might explode, feeling like I might Hulk out in the wimpiest possible way (DON’T MAKE ME EMBARRASSED. YOU WOULDN’T LIKE ME WHEN I’M EMBARRASSED). The athletic store should be my refuge. They should train the nice girls what to do with hulking monsters like me. I want to give them all my money because their clothing and shoes make me feel normal for a hot minute. Let me give you all my money, athletic stores. Make me some shoes.
Well which kind of coconut water? They taste really different. (The little white bottles of raw stuff at Whole Foods are the tastiest, but the expensivist too.) (Yay primal booze!)
It’s the not-very-fancy Zico, on sale at my grocery store. I will try it with the raw stuff, too, when I happen upon it. That might elevate this to being an actual cocktail!
Easy to stock, easy to make: ice in a pint glass, then equal parts red wine and coconut water. Doesn’t actually taste like much—I think the flavors are canceling each other out a bit. Maybe it tastes a little like butter? Fruity butter? Cold fruit butter. A little peppery? Peppery cold fruit butter wine mouth. Aren’t you intrigued?
It’s actually very refreshing.
Also, I can pretend it’s healthy, because it’s primal. Woohoo! If I drink one every night, by the end of the summer, I will be ready to live forever!
All it needs now is a name.