Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan

Getting schooled in basketball -- Baumgartner Vaughan

All aboard the college basketball train, taking us on a journey of stellar players, coaching drama, unbelievable shots, mascot merriment, rivalries and all that is the gloriousness of March Madness.

For most of us, it’s all enjoyed from the comfort of our living rooms (or workplaces) and we’re experiencing it through television and computer screens, Twitter feeds and everyday conversations.

The great thing about March Madness is that it is rain or shine. The weather forecast being a bit squirrelly won’t change our basketball viewing plans. It might change whether or not we go shoot some hoops, though.

I played basketball in a park recently, and hilarity ensued.

As I’ve shared with you over the years, my son plays basketball so last month I spent a fair amount of time in a gym, watching him and the other kids play. I looked forward to those games after work and on Saturdays. After those weekend games, he and his teammates would play on the playground for a while. There’s also an outdoor basketball court at the park, but it’s usually full of teenagers playing pretty serious street ball. But one Saturday, the court was empty. So my kid, a teammate and a few other kids went over to play and needed a few adults to fill out the teams. I decided to play. I was wearing jeans.

These kids, man. Eight-year-olds have some serious stamina. Their parents, on the other hand -- well. My husband is a volunteer coach so he’s used to it. Not me. I like standing and shooting baskets and I’ve always thought basketball was fun. Actually playing is different. So anyway, I fouled my own kid and we went tumbling onto the blacktop. Hard.

He scratched his head, jumped up and was ready to play again. I sat on the court like an unnamed ACC player who likes to flop. But I was actually injured. I landed on my hands and knee so hard I ripped a hole in my jeans. I don’t think I’ve ripped a hole in my pants in my life, much less at my age. (My age is timeless, if you were wondering.)

Weak grownup that I was, I hobbled to the side and sat by the fence, watching the game proceed. They were having fun without me. So I fished a Band-Aid out of my purse that I carry for my kid’s potential scrapes, used it on myself and got back in the game. And it was fun, really fun. The kids schooled me in the game, but also about getting back in the game, bloody knee or not.

His season ended a few weeks ago.

“I miss basketball,” my son said.

“But the UNC-Duke game is coming on,” I told him.

“That just makes me miss playing it more,” he said.


But there are parks and gyms and such for playing pickup games. His baseball season is starting soon, with games at that same park that has that outdoor basketball court. Maybe if it’s free one day we’ll go over there. I’ll know better than to play in jeans next time. And bring extra Band-Aids.