It snowed all day.
School was cancelled.
I have to get out of my apartment, mom is driving me crazy.
Crossing ninth avenue, I head down Windsor Place, hang a right on Howard Place.
I grab some snow off a parked car and make a snowball. It’s good packing.
I fire a fastball towards the lot on Windsor. Feels like I’m playing baseball. The lot is where we play pick-up baseball.
Few people are shoveling their sidewalks. The sun is trying to come out. Some of the snow is melting. It’s not too cold.
There’s a kid in front of his house on Howard Place trying to make a snowman. He’s alone. Wearing a black snowsuit. Probably around nine years old. He’s struggling. I pick up some more snow, make another snowball and throw it at him. Just missing his head. He doesn’t even notice.
Entering the schoolyard I see Gammie and Edgar shoveling the middle court.
These guys are nuts.
“Yo Red, grab a shovel,” Gammie shouts.
I look around and think, I don’t have one.
Gammie points over towards the fence on Howard Place.
Against the fence, just a few yards away is a small shovel so I grab it, walk through the snow and help them push the rest of the snow off the court.
Looks like they have been here for a while.
It’s what we do. Shovel the court so we can play ball.
When I played on the basketball team at Holy Name, this is where we practiced.
Right here in the boys schoolyard.
Just the yard.
Our coaches made us shovel the court.
Basketball practice was never cancelled.
Parents never complained. They let the coaches coach.
After 10 minutes we have a clear path to work on our dribbling.
From one baseline to another.
Looks like the yellow brick road from Wizard of Oz.
Gammie grabs a ball which was sitting in the snow and starts to go up the court towards the church wall.
He’s not wearing gloves. But he has a really cool hat on.
Edgar watches closely and soon as Gammie gets to half court he starts real low and dribbles forward. No gloves either. No hat.
The dribble is always out in front.
I’m left standing there on the baseline without a ball. Watching these two great point guards do their thing. Working on their handle.
Gammie plays for John Jay, Edgar at Bishop Ford.
Soon as Gammie gets to the other end of the court he throws his ball in the air down to me. Full court pass, perfect. I didn’t have to move. Gammie is known for his passing.
“GO AHEAD RED!” he shouts.
Follow the leader.
I start to dribble towards them.
“GET LOW RED,” Edgar shouts.
Dribbling fundamental 101: Always stay low and keep your head up.
It starts to snow.
Fuck it, let it snow. I don’t care.