My best friend’s name was Monica

Day Eighteen:

When you were nine years old… 

When I was nine years old, I was in the fourth grade. Mrs. Orndoff was my teacher and she taught me how to take care of houseplants. I remember her teaching me how to tell if the plant needed to be watered and how to gauge how much water to give the plant throughout the week.

My best friend’s name was Monica.

This was also the year I started to play basketball. My father and Monica’s older brother, Will, were the coaches. Monica was on the team too.

We were on team Thunder and my jersey number was twelve. Twelve would remain my number for the next few years to come – and to this day it’s my lucky number. I once won a free subway sandwich with that number. It’s a good one. You can borrow it if you’d like.

I don’t remember a lot from that first year of basketball. I remember having white and navy basketball shoes, Nike’s of course. I had the longest, blonde ponytail you ever did see. We probably weren’t very good but I had a lot of fun – enough so that I would go on to play basketball for the next four years.

My dad commuted to Washington D.C. each day which meant as kids we didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time with him. He worked long hours and as a young adult I now recognize how tiring it must have been to commute back and forth each day. Basketball provided me a way to spend some time throughout the week with him.

My dad played basketball as a teenager. I figured this was a good way to find something that would allow me to relate to him and see him a little bit more.

I promptly quit basketball the first year he was no longer able to be my coach. I will never understand why my new school wouldn’t allow parents to be involved in the coaching of their student teams. It was their loss.

When I was nine years old, I learned about teamwork. I learned about athletics. I learned the importance of practice.

Most importantly, I learned about houseplants.

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