Basketball and Babies

Hello and welcome to a long overdue post, nearly one year after my last one. This is probably going to get a bit lengthy as I draw a couple of analogies between basketball and babies. Why don’t we just get started with basketball?

In case you didn’t already know this, I’m 7’0″ (213 cm) tall. That puts me well over the third sigma in height, which is fairly freakish. Everywhere I go, I get a lot of stupid questions. The most common is “how tall are you”, but also frequent are “are your parents tall”, “do you have trouble finding clothes”, and “when did you get to be that tall”. I live in a state with two colleges that frequently win the national NCAA title for basketball, so after the obliged “how tall are you”, I almost always get “do you play basketball”.

Before I talk about my usual answer, I am going to go off on a bit of a tangent. At my former place of employment, one day there were flyers in the conference rooms with little questions to spark interesting discussion during meetings. I don’t think anybody paid them much attention, but I did catch one line saying “what is the main ingredient for success?”. My immediate gut reaction was passion. I’d never really formed the thought that passion is necessary for success until this point but it hit me like a bolt of lightning. Instinctively, I knew this to be true. Passion gives that extra push to keep on trying even when common sense says otherwise. It’s like having ten Shia LeBouves screaming in your ear to “JUST DO IT”. Lack of passion is what causes you to give up early and just try something else. In other words, you have to want to do something before you’ll ever be good at it.

So, going back to basketball, just why is it that I don’t play basketball? I have no passion for it. When people ask if I play basketball and I say no, the followup question I get is “why not”. I respond with “I don’t want to”. “Oh, but you’d be good at it!”. Well, no I wouldn’t be. I’m not passionate about it. I’ve played some and it’s not very fun for me. I usually get injured, either jamming a finger or twisting an ankle. The fitness benefit of playing basketball is nullified since I can stay fit with activities I actually enjoy. Now, I can see why other people find it fun and interesting, but that doesn’t mean the sport is fun and interesting for everybody.

What’s this got to do with babies? I’ll just lay it out on the table. I don’t want to raise any children. I simply don’t have a passion for fatherhood. I’m not going to enter into it knowingly if I don’t really want to do it. It’s not fair to me or the child. I like (most) children, and the children I have frequent contact with, I would even say I love like my own family. I have a nephew, a whole pile of cousins-once-removed, two godchildren, and many friends’ children that I enjoy spending time with. I don’t feel the need to create my own to get that kind of connection.

A lot of people have told me that I would be a great father. While it’s true, I could probably pull it off if I really had to, I can’t be certain that I’d be all in. But, if I was a in a situation where I was a child’s last hope, I would certainly do my best.

This is not just a short phase in my life. I really thought hard about this about seven years ago (I’m 37 now) and I was absolutely sure this was how I felt. We kind of grow up thinking that some day we’ll get a job, buy a house, get married, and have children. It’s the default template of our lives. If you don’t think about it long and hard, you might actually believe the default template will work for you too. That’s not to say it won’t, but wouldn’t it be better to follow that path with purpose? I can see why other people have the desire to raise children, but that doesn’t mean raising children is desirable for everybody.

Now let’s bring this thing home! What does basketball have to do with making babies?

  • Most people assume that I play basketball because I am tall. Most people assume everyone should have children because that’s part of the default template of life or because their reproductive systems work. Just because an idea or an activity is desirable to you doesn’t mean it’s desirable to everybody.
  • I don’t desire to play basketball because I have no passion for it. I don’t desire to raise children for the same reason.

I guess that’s about it. If this post shocked you for some reason, ask yourself why that is. Are you trapped in the thinking of the default template of life?