I JUST PLAYED BASKETBALL AGAINST 3 CHILDREN I DON'T KNOW

  1. I'm shooting some hoops at a church parking lot at sunset, minding my own business, when suddenly I become aware of two little boys eyeing me nervously.
  2. Soon they are playing rock paper scissors, to determine who will be the one to come over and talk to me.
  3. So they don't have to be nervous anymore, I say "Hi!" and they're like, "Can we play with you?" Sure!
  4. They are Flynn and Billy. When we start playing, Audrey comes over too.
  5. Flynn is 9ish, sporty, athletic (and he totally laughs at my jokes, so obviously I love him)
  6. Billy is 7ish, with a mop of bright red hair, tiny, enthusiastic, and just an absolute delight
  7. Audrey is 12ish, and I know I should be like "girl power!" and all, but she keeps making up her own rules and isn't super into my jokes, so I wasn't the biggest fan
  8. Audrey soon tires of the game and goes off with some girls to eat food (I respect her for that, because eating food sounds like a great idea. We get each other. I like Audrey a little more now. Too bad she's leaving.)
  9. After I play loose defense and miss a shot, Billy asks me "Have you ever played basketball before, or is this your first time?"
  10. UH YEAH, Billy. I've played for 20 years. And coached for 5. I guess it's time for me to stop going so easy on you even though you're half my height. Jeez. (But I forgive him immediately. He's adorable.)
  11. Flynn scores a ton of baskets, and sweetly overlooks all the traveling Billy is doing.
  12. Billy gets very into the announcing of our game. He wants each of us to have a number, so that he can say things like "Number 15 shooting two free throws!" He wants to be the ref, the coach, the announcer, and a player all at the same time. Love this kid.
  13. A distant voice whose owner I can't see calls "Flynn! Time to go!"
  14. The boys leave without saying goodbye. Oh.
  15. I take a couple more shots. But it's getting too dark. And I miss Billy. It's time to go home.