Raising a Benchwarmer

I don’t sit enough at home watching the Knicks suck up the joint again. Now, I have to rush home from work over the GW to a high school gym in Northern Westchester County. Only to watch my 1st born’s crazy glued ass on the bench from start to finish. In his Senior Year, on the Varsity basketball team no less. Some all star creation you produced Steve. At 6,4, my 1st born really is a waste of height.

Of course, the one time my son catches fire was against an all Japanese team when I was outside the gym squeezing in a smoke. Josh scored 3 three pointers within the 3 minutes I was gone contemplating how I’m even related to this kid.  When I was his age, I had a cannon arm on the stick ball streets off the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. Nobody got hits on me.

My son’s soft. This is what I get for busting my ass selling plastics for a living, for a 90 million dollar packing company in Union, New Jersey. So we can afford to live in a fancy suburb 15 minutes North of the Bronx where I grew up off Pond Place. Where real ball player legends were made like Tiny Archibald and Lou Al Cinder. Some good teaching my son Lou Al Cinder’s infamous sky hook did. Then again, I can’t say my son ever did a proper sky hook because technically speaking you need to leave the ground before launching one high off the glass.

Hunch more over the bench Josh. At least, look ready to play if Coach Fitzsimmons calls your number in case we start getting blown out again. Late into the 4th quarter as the game enters serious garbage time. I used to love playing ball with my friends after school in the Bronx. We lived for it. What does my son live for? More Snapple and Stouffer’s frozen Pizza?

I was the editor for the school newspaper at Dewitt Clinton. Actually, attended the last city championship game ever at Madison Square Garden before a full blown riot ensued. My son would’ve dealt with such instant bedlam well.  Sorry, I’m not feeling bad for this kid. He got to grow up in Scarsdale, NY. I had to take 2 buses and a subway to work and hide hold up money in my sock for safe keeping.

I can’t believe I lost my hair over raising this kid. That’s right, lick your lips some more on the bench Josh. My son looks like a gay LL Cool J. What was I thinking letting Carol dress up my son in those sky blue baby outfits in Queens. We loved living in Forrest Hills. I still played ball with my friends back then. Then again, I still had friends to play with before this kid was born and his mother called time out on me having fun with my druggy friends from the Bronx forever. I stopped smoking pot in college after meeting Carol, Acid also. I used to sell both of it to pay for our ballooning habits with my frat brother Lubes.

Caught my son high on a Saturday night at home. I told him to stop acting like a loser. A least get out of the house if you’re going to get high in the 1st place I screamed in abject disgust. Only my son would start smoking pot and become more of a nervous wreck than ever before. When I used to coach him in rec ball, he’d constantly jam his fingers.Every time our point guard Carmine would whip him a pass in the lane, my son would tense on impact and proceed to jam all fingers at once immediately.

My father used to call me an idiot all the time when he’d help me with my calculus homework. So I’m not going to feel bad for my 1st born.  You’d think me yelling at him would help him develop thicker skin already. Has my son even hit puberty yet? I’ve never met a 17 year old boy before who actually prances down the court on his tippi toes. Which looks ridiculous because my son looks like he’s running in high heels instead of high tops.

Now my son knows why I don’t attend his Varsity basketball games. Knowing, there’s nothing to see. I raised a soft, spoiled benchwarmer.  At least, his younger brother is a killer on the football field. I never pushed Josh to play football because he had a complicated type of neck surgery as a kid.

I wish he never had that surgery. I wish, we never left Queens. I wish my son was a better athlete. I wish he wasn’t so slow and dumb. My kid had to take the SAT’s untimed for Christ sake. Not that it made much of a difference. His mom got a perfect score on her Math SAT. So what the hell happened to him? I didn’t do that much acid in college. I wish my son wasn’t so fat. He really is a human shovel. Stop playing with your balls son. You don’t have any to play with in the 1st place. Coach walks toward the end of the bench. You ready to show me something already Josh? With a minute 30 left coach? I think I need some more warm up time than that.

The End


Michael Kornbluth




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