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The Ball Bounced Backward

The Ball Bounced Backward

SKU: 9.78E+12

By William Dennis


When Doug Elliot found an envelope of old photographs in the garage, memories flooded back of his time coaching son, Travis, and a fourth-grade basketball team. It all seems so distant now.


Doug’s memories of those days 25 years ago remain warm…mostly. More so in reflection than at the time. He remembers the cacophony of shrill, laughing young voices and the hollow sound of bouncing basketballs; spirited kids, running up and down the court, playing as hard as they could; jubilant boys, shoveling down pizza, and wearing big grins. And, the games his team won.


But Doug also remembers a situation more complicated than teaching young boys a game. He does not so warmly recall the demands of parents blowing hot and cold, a mysterious figure at work intent on exploiting his kids to satisfy a personal agenda, opposing coaches ranging from fatherly to abusive, a nun serving as school principal and disciplinarian, players too self-centered to worry about the team, and his own competitive instincts that were not always gratified. And, he recalls facing the trade-off between winning games and giving every team member extended playing opportunities. When eventually forced to address that trade-off, Doug wonders if coaching his son’s team was worth the stress.

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