The Benefits of Sports Equipment and Sticks

I try to be athletic. I did a lot better at this when I was in college, living next to tennis courts and just down the road from basketball courts. Still have the equipment, at least, so I can dream about putting up a basketball hoop on the garage so I can at least practice my skills with angles.

And it’s a good thing I do still have the equipment because tonight, I was tossing a rope around with my dog and it landed on the porch roof.

I was on the side of the house and threw it up, almost hitting the electric line, which was probably a bad sign. It came back down this time, so the dog went after it, carried it around for a bit, and then bounded back toward me. I took the rope, feeling rather tired, and just flung it. Aim totally nonexistent.

There it went. Up on the porch roof, toward the left side as I was looking at it. Within reaching distance if I had a ladder, but I didn’t. Within reaching distance if I had a long pole and leaned out the window of the second story, but I had no such thing.

What I did possess was a basketball, a leash and a stick. The ball was a bit flat, but nonetheless, still round and I could throw it. So what I did was climb up to the second floor, what we call the sewing room, even though I haven’t the faintest idea how to sew (that’s not really true, I stitched together my backpack once), and opened the window and leaned out of it.

I decided to try the tossing the leash first in an attempt to hook it around the rope and drag it back toward the window.

Well, that turned out to be kind of boring (and as a side note, was unsuccessful), so I decided to throw the basketball out the window, strong toward the rope.

If you know me, at this point, you’re wondering, when comes the part that she fell headfirst out of the window and on to the roof?

Luckily, that did not happen. Unluckily, I realized that my hiatus from pretending I was an athlete helped me not at all when throwing the basketball. It was a pathetic throw that missed completely, landing the ball on the sidewalk with a discouraging flat nonbounce.

So naturally, with fallen pride, I ran downstairs, out the door, grabbed the ball and ran back upstairs and tried it again.

Same thing. Lucky me. Guess I needed a lesson in athletic humility.

After gathering up the ball for a second time, I stood outside in the front yard and threw the ball up on the roof for ten minutes trying to aim it right to knock the rope off (just like that little kid’s game of rolling the kickballs on the roof and catching it when it comes back to Earth). Each time the ball fell toward the ground, my dog burst toward it, paws out, as if she was going to play soccer. I tried to convince her it was the wrong sport, but she didn’t listen. She gave it her all.

The ball trick never worked. I could never hit the mark. It was terrible.

I stood in the yard looking at the gathering clouds. “It’s going to storm tonight. That’ll do it.”

Then I thought about the rules of friction when it comes to rope against shingles in the rain, and I just wasn’t so sure. So I said, “I am me. I am not giving up.”

I thought about what else I had, and as I looked around the yard, I saw the long red line and stake that I use for the dog when I need to keep her outside. Aha! I thought. This one’s longer than that leash.

I ran back upstairs, tore open the window again (I had shut it earlier, glass falling out of the runners in the process, so I had to put the window back together), and threaded the line and stake out onto the roof.

At this point, I had gained confidence. Earlier in the process, I had pulled my head in whenever a car passed. I don’t want them to see me! I would think. They would think I was crazy! Now, I was saying, Who cares! Maybe somebody with a ladder will stop by. 

The long line worked. I was able to rope the rope and start pulling it toward the window….and then I lost it. The rope started rolling down the slope toward the ground. Hurray! I silently cheered.

A moment too soon. The rope rolled right into the gutter. And stayed.

Oy. Talk about flattened enthusiasm.

Then I perked up again as I realized the perfect solution: basketball!

So I went out into the yard, gathered up the basketball and threw it up the roof. Took a couple of tries, but I was able to roll the basketball right to the rope…and right over it, flattening it into the gutter like a rolling pin over bread sticks. Steamrolled. Stuck. Still no ladder.

Well, I don’t live in a ring of trees for nothin’. Stick pile, here I come.

I found the perfect stick with a Y look to it, then stood on the porch steps and went fishing in my gutter. That rope came down with a thunk. It was rather anticlimactic. I expected there should have been much more of a show to it coming down. Confetti and a song, at least.

At any rate, the dog was excited and went for it. Then I decided to see if I could get some of the things growing in my gutter out of there with the stick. To no avail. Wasn’t tall enough.

I threw the stick down. The dog ignored the rope and went after the stick. I watched her trip over it for a while. And then we went inside.

And that is why everyone should have sports equipment and sticks available at all times.

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