THE ART OF BLUNT ROLLING: PART 2
The 2006 NBA Finals was about to start: Miami Heat vs the Dallas Mavericks. I was in my dorm room alone while my other teammates gathered to watch and cheer and break down each game like only college ball players could.
I watched as Dwayne Wade dribbled the ball up the court before muting the TV and closing my eyes. Wade was the player I most saw in myself. He’s who I wanted to be. Muting the TV wasn’t enough. I shut it off and left my room.
Alone again for game two.
The TV was still off even though I knew it was a few minutes past tip-off. My finger’s gliding over the power button at the same time tears are building up.
I can’t do this.
Long before I got injured, one of my professors asked me what I would do if I wasn’t playing basketball.
I said it without any hesitation or uncertainty. I hadn’t started my first novel yet, hadn’t really even throught about it, but I knew that was what I wanted to do.
Instead of pressing my finger down on the power button, I cracked another Dutch. I emptied the blunt trash in the garbage can under my desk, filled the Dutch with a gram of weed, and left my room.
Miami’s first win after going down 0-2. I remember listening to my teammates talk about the first two games. How they thought Dallas might actually win, that Shaq was getting old, that Wade was too young to carry a team.
I was 22 and my journey with basketball was over, a journey that started with Ricky Doodooman teaching me how to play outside of Gulfstream public school. I was only nine, didn’t know the rules but loved watching the game. Ricky put me through dribbling drills, taught me how to shoot, made me believe I could be special. I carried that belief for over a decade.
Read my novel Boys and Girls Screaming
Now it’s game four.
Miami wins again. I only know because of the box score. I spend the entire game with a towel underneath my dorm room door, windows open taking puffs then outing the blunt, another few puffs then outing it again, one more puff, one more puff.
Game five and I haven’t watched more than a minute of action the entire series.
My mom tells me that I need to talk to my coach. Tell him that I want to keep trying. Tell him that I know my injury is severe, but I’m not ready to give up. I tell her I will. That I’ll walk into his office the next day. She sounds hopeful.
The next day, I walked past my coach's office. It was mostly basketball players and other athletes on campus. The semester was over but summer sessions had started. I knew people from the town who were fans. They gave me free weed in return for pictures they could share with their parents.
They met Kern Carter. The basketball player. Except I wasn’t a basketball player.
Final game. Miami wins! Miami wins! Dwayne Wade was MVP. They celebrate. Everyone celebrates. I put the lighter to the tip of my blunt and inhale.