Letters to Younger Me

Dribbling More Than Twice

6-on-6 basketball is stupid. They think girls can only dribble twice? I can dribble between my legs AND behind my back AND I beat Brent in P.E. It’s so dumb. I hate it. I wish I could play with the boys.”

October 28, 1992

My Dearest Lil’Wonky,

You are completely correct when you say 6-on-6 basketball is stupid. There should have been another name for it, one that did not include the word “basketball.” Perhaps “Half-courtsy Ball” or “Girls should know their place. And their place is only one side of the court Ball.” I feel like that might have been a bit much for an Iowa State Tournament marketing brochure, but may they could have just written on half of the brochure. Stay on brand.

I would like to tell you to be grateful that they did not make you play in a dress. Don’t overlook that small blessing.

People say it was “faster,” but what they really mean is “We like the little ladies to have strict rules lest they think they get to decide things for themselves.”

I know all the reasons you hated that you had one year of it. I remember the eye-rolling involved during your seventh grade year when the entire state of Iowa went berserk deciding whether or not to let girls play actual basketball. It reached Lincoln-Douglas debate levels. I’m surprised there wasn’t a dual at dawn.

I remember you having to sit there while your parents read the paper, reading out loud for you the arguments presented to keep this abomination.

People would threaten you with running more as though the joy of getting to dribble the ball while running didn’t matter at all. (While we’re here, I’d like to warn you to avoid going out for track later that year. Your high jump prowess will never take off and they will, in fact, make you run in an event. Being the third leg of the 4×400 relay will not be listed on your college applications and you will later only be grateful that smartphones did not exist so there is no record of your approximate 8-minute lap around the track.)

Congratulations on beating Brent in P.E., though. Excellent use of an example for your potential achievements should you be allowed to play the boy’s game. Future coaches will definitely excuse your shoddy defense when you simply explain that man were you a rock star that day.

It might behoove you, though, to not talk back to your coaches next year when they yell at you for said shoddy defense. Try to stop before you say, “I can’t play defense because I was a forward last year in 6-on-6! It damaged me!” You won’t stop, though. I’m familiar with your work.

Cheers to waiting only one year for progress. Hang in there.

You in 29 years,


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