P

eaches returned to the basketball court over the weekend. It was a wondrous sight to behold.

Ten months taller and playing with kids her own age rather than those two and three years older, seven-year-old Peaches took the ball inbounds and down the court for her team who, really, can use all the help it can get.

This first outing wasn’t a real game, exactly; there were as many adults in striped shirts sitting on the sidelines as there were parents. The Y used scrimmages between teams of six- and seven-year-olds to help its officials brush up on their skills before the season begins in earnest. Meanwhile, the opposing team’s coach got to exercise his vocal cords yelling, ‘All the way!’ over and over again at the same bunch of six- and seven-year-olds, so I’d say everyone got something out of Saturday’s match-up of the mighty-mites.

One of the best parts about watching Peaches play was seeing the places where her emerging skills might easily be made stronger. The moderate pace of the game helped a great deal—again, they’re seven—or else I would have missed them.

Take the bounce pass, for example. Peaches doesn’t know how to make one. When she needs to unload the ball, Peaches finds a teammate and chucks it as hard as she can at his or her face. And, almost without fail, that long bomb gets plucked out of the air by the other team.

Or the fractured homing instinct that reliably drives Peaches directly into the corner of the court farthest away from the basket. Incorporating her coach’s instruction, she has begun pushing as far as she can imagine herself going down court, into enemy territory. But without looking up in order to plan her approach, Peaches misses opportunities to position herself better. Under the basket or just closer to the center of the action, anything would be better than finding yourself boxed into that super-shiny corner.

All of which made me think about my own game—of which there are actually a few. Like you, I’m responsible for the reasonable fulfillment of a number of roles within my family and without, and that’s not even counting the additional ones I sometimes make up for myself (see: this blog).

I wonder what the people who love me see in the way I play my games, where I might be able to position myself to better serve not only them, but me, too. And, let’s face it, I could probably stand to brush up on my bounce pass, too—whatever the parenting (or writing or partner-ing) equivalent might be. Because it’s those missed connections that start things unraveling, confusing the team and leaving me stranded off in a shiny corner somewhere.