Monday, January 31, 2011

the sport court

Upon failing to sell my father on a bridge several years ago, the intrepid young salesman approached him with a new tactic.

"Sir, I can see you're building a house, and I can see you've lost count of the number of children you have, as well as small details like when and where they were born, and some of their names. Wouldn't it be a good idea to encourage those children to get out of the house and play sports?"

My dad thought about that for a few minutes, and pondered his career playing football as a youth in high school. Pictures of his prodigious progeny playing sports passed before his optimistic eyes.

The salesman could see he was making headway, so he went for the jugular.

"Why don't you try putting in a Sport Court?" he said.

"Why, what's a sport court?" my dad asked, puzzled and confused.

He prided himself at living at the cutting edge of technology, having been the first person in town to purchase a cell phone the size of a waffle iron. He was an early adopter of the personal computer, and he had a large collection of video recording devices with which he filmed birds singing in the Uintah wilderness, which was not a subject of scorn and derision ever in our household.1 Somehow he had missed this Sport Court trend. He thanked his lucky stars this lone bridge salesman was here to show him the way.

"Well, it's sort of like a basketball court, except built with a basketball hoop that will rust over in approximately thirty seconds. And it's sort of like a tennis court, except the size of a postage stamp. And it's sort of like a badminton court, except every time your son Chris takes women out to play badminton, they'll immediately think him feminized and will never speak to him again,"2 the salesman explained.

My dad pondered this for a moment, and immediately gave his acceptance for the scheme. He then conspired with the architect to ensure a fence would line said court, so that if any child ever did decide to use the court, they could spend most of the afternoon ripping their favorite pants3 while climbing the fence and chasing balls.

All he had to do next was convince my mother, AKA His Complete Polar Opposite, that building said future court was a good idea. The conversation went something like this:

Dad: Hey, what do you think about us putting a Sport Court in the backyard?

Mom: What's that?

Dad: You mean, you haven't heard of a Sport Court? You are so far behind the times! It's this magical court that will transport us and our family into dimension X, or somewhere beyond the Crab Nebula, where the laws of physics break down, and suddenly we'll find ourselves in a reality in which our children go outside to play instead of spending their lives huddled next to a damp piano singing Broadway showtunes.4


Mom: Please, for the love of all that is good on this earth, make the screaming stop!

And so it came to pass that a Sport Court was installed. I cannot imagine the surprise on my dad's face when, instead of a cement truck showing up to pour the court, a plastic truck stopped by. And I wish I could have seen his face when, instead of placing down what one might describe as a "court", the plastic men covered the ground with millimeter-thick rectangular plastic waffle tiles. I do, however, remember the joy of watching as the court sat unused for a period of over twenty years, as his children slowly enfattened on delicious sweet rolls, and the magic plastic magically disintegrated and sank to the center of the earth.

1. I think now is an appropriate time to admit that I at one point forced my brothers to act in "films", one of which consisted of them hopping around singing, "I like to sing and dance in my shiny pants". This demonstrated, of course, incredible foresight on my part, knowing exactly how to blackmail them as adults. It should not be taken as evidence of any other kind, especially as evidence of my being weird kind. And these films just happened to be shown to their girlfriends over the holidays. Whoops. Just try getting married before me, you little punks. I play dirty.
2. Incredibly, one of my coworkers admitted to me, while drunk, that he played competitive badminton. He almost fought me after I inadvertently laughed and spit coke in his face. I tried to convince him that in "my culture", badminton is a sport for ninety-year-old women in long skirts, and we play it as a joke. After swearing to inflict no small amount of harm on my person, he resorted to yelling, "It's a sport! It's a real sport! It's a sport!" and challenging me to a badminton duel.
3. I have a hard time saying pants without registering the fact that, in the UK pants = underwear, and trousers = pants. I am writing in American, and thus am referring to trousers. This is the sort of confusion that caused me no small amount of shock recently when walking a South African woman home to hear her say she was going inside to put on pants. Thankfully, very thankfully, South Africans mean trousers when they say pants, it was discovered after several awkward moments.
4. My brother spent the majority of our youth demanding we turn the car radio to "SHOWTUNES SATURDAY NIGHT!!!!!!"

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