OK. Here’s a post I admit is weird for a blog where I write about love and relationships and promote the sappy feel-good romantic fiction I write. And it’s going to have a love song in it, because it’s still that theme for another two weeks here on the blog before I put some new short fiction up. But today everybody gets advanced basketball metaphors. (I told you it’s weird. I know it is.)
I love basketball. Particularly college basketball. It’s probably my favorite sport to watch, and I like watching many sports. Baseball. Tennis. Football. Soccer. Horse racing. Hockey. Most Olympic events. Hell, I’ll watch GOLF on the right day. Basketball is my favorite though. In the past couple of years, I’ve lost the zeal I used to have for sport, because life has kind of taken over with more pressing, important things, but I followed college basketball avidly from childhood into my early 30’s. And I still love it. I love March Madness tournament time, especially. Anyway, I know, like most romance writers, my major demographic audience is women, aged 25-60. And I know that doesn’t statistically line up with the major demographic for avid college basketball fans. So…a bit of a glossary for basketball lingo to start, and some following in parentheses, to make sure everyone reading knows what the hell I’m talking about.
In basketball, when a player misses a shot, and they either get their own rebound or one of their teammates gets the rebound from the miss and immediately scores, it’s called a put back. It’s the quickest way to secure second chance points, which is when a team maintains possession of the ball and gets another chance to score after a missed shot. Second chance points are a big deal in basketball, because nobody makes every shot. Some shots are really pretty looking, but just don’t go in. They rim out (ball rolls around the edge of the rim, but won’t fall into the net…maddening and heartbreaking because SO CLOSE). They don’t count because of an offensive foul or some other rules violation like traveling (a player can’t advance with the ball more than a step-ish when driving toward the basket without dribbling (constantly bouncing the ball without picking it up…if they pick it up, they have to pass or shoot)…if they do, that’s traveling). Some missed shots are ugly. They’re bricks (a shot that clangs loudly and violently off the rim instead of going in). They’re airballs (a shot so bad it misses everything…the rim, the backboard…and very rarely even lends an opportunity for second chance points…there’s even a special chant crowds do for shots this bad). The thing is though? Even bricks and airballs have some effort and gravitas put into setting them up. Sometimes just as much or maybe even MORE than beautiful, perfectly timed, nothing but net (shot so perfect it doesn’t touch the rim or backboard at all, but unlike an airball, it swishes right through the net…the only thing it touches) three-pointers. Sometimes, bricks and airballs get thrown up in desperation in an effort to score before the shot clock or the game clock runs out. Either way, still effort. Still gravitas. That’s why missed shots hurt so bad when they don’t go in. And not always, but usually, the tallest/biggest players on the team are depended upon to get those put backs and rebounds to allow the opportunity for second chance points.
My novella, Opening Doors is basically a story about second chance points. It’s the story of two people whose initial shot at committed love and family didn’t work out. Their first shots were bricks. But sometimes, a bricked shot turns into a great rebound and crucial second chance points. Sure everybody likes a beautiful, perfect shot, I guess. It’s what everyone wants in love…that perfect shot…nothing but net. Some of us are lucky enough to get that. But lots of people don’t, and I wanted to write a story that shows that’s not always a reason to despair. Because second chance points can be the most glorified shots in basketball. They’re often down to the wire, intense game-winners. Second chance points can win championships. They can clear stands of fans in stadiums and send people out into the streets with exuberant, unbridled joy.
I think Russ considers his relationship with Beth the best put back of his life. And Beth thinks so too. Their relationship is one of those celebration worthy sets of second chance points. So here’s a happy, joyful song about finally finding love after missing a shot or two before, and one I imagine Russ and Beth thinking about their amazing rebound… Stevie Wonder’s For Once in My Life.