Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Basketball Blues

I've finished writing the first three chapters of Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters. When I proposed this as the third book in the series, I forgot one little tiny thing: I don't know anything about basketball.

At the time I was just thinking of an activitiy that could work within the structure that I had created. In each book, inveterate curmudgeon Mason resists engaging in some activity forced upon him by his well-meaning but overly anxious parents: Oh, Mason, you're an only child, it would be so good for you to have a pet! (Mason Dixon: Pet Disasters). Oh, Mason, you're starting fourth grade, and we know you hate being up on stage singing, but it would be so good for you to join the all-school singing group! (Mason Dixon: Fourth Grade Disasters). Oh, Mason, you've never done a team sport, and it would be so good for you to try one! (Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters).

Now, I don't know much about pets, either, but I do have the experience of acquiring my first-ever pet at the age of fifty, my now-adored cat Snickers. I did sing in girls' choir in high school, and my boys were in the Mesa Elementary School singing group, the Mesa M&Ms - indeed, every kid in Mesa was in the group, even though it met before school and was technically voluntary. But when it comes to basketball - well, my boys WERE on basketball teams, for a couple of years apiece. And I'm actually the author of another book about basketball, Gus and Grandpa at Basketball, which was named an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year, so you might even say that I'm the author of an award-winning book about basketball. Still, the manuscript for that book was 1000 words long. It didn't have real scenes of basketball action, where one character fakes to the left as another charges to the right and then sinks a basket with a certain kind of shot - layup? hook? jump? Help!!

So I went to the library last week and got a bunch of nonfiction kids' books on basketball, which I read. At least I know the names of the positions now and that you aren't supposed to double dribble. And after all, Mason doesn't know anything about basketball, either. He's going to have to learn all this, too.

Best, I hit upon the idea of having his very reluctant and clueless dad get roped into being the coach for the team. His dad orders a book online, a book on basketball coaching for the baffled parent - which I just ordered myself yesterday. So Mason's dad and I can figure this out together.

And in a book called Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters, I guess the more basketball disasters for all of us, the better.

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