Charles couldn’t help but think about the boy he’d seen playing basketball the day before. He decided to take a walk instead of warming the bench. Casually outlining the park perimeter with his steps, Charles reminisced of his own time on the court. It was in those days the people of Magnolia Springs began to call him “Pop.” The name stuck after an article referred to him as such in the Baldwin Herald. They wrote about how his jump shot just seemed to pop out of nowhere from anywhere outside the paint.
Yes, Charles “Pop” Warner was the talk of the town. He started as a freshman at Auburn, and was scouted for the Atlanta Hawks until a gunshot took out his right knee cap. Charles was robbed, shot, and beaten one night while walking back to his dorm from an off campus restaurant. Charles hadn’t picked up a ball since. He was relieved to have a daughter who had little interest in the sport, so he was convinced he’d never have to associate with basketball again. The guy who crippled his basketball career was never charged or convicted. Charles chose to seek his own peace and justice by changing his major. For over two decades he reigned as the beloved police chief of Magnolia Springs.
There. There he was! The boy on the basketball court again. Charles had never seen this kid before, and all of a sudden there he was two days in a row. This boy resonated within him, and he had to know why. He had to communicate with him. He just felt he had to, but how? Charles walked over to a table outside the court fence. This was his chance. This would be the first day in five years he’d talk to someone other than himself. He didn’t really want to talk to this boy. He just felt like he had to. After all, that firework thing he said to his friend gave Charles a sleepless night. His routine was out of whack, but needless to say he wasn’t even grumpy. Was it curiosity? All Charles knew was that he needed to talk to this boy to validate some things.
“Hey boy! 1,2 step!” Charles just knew the boy would take his advice, but instead he was being ignored. “Hey! I said 1,2 step boy!” “Yo, who you hollering for old man?” the boy asked before he took another shot. “Ain’t you the only boy on this court? So I must be talking to you!” Charles called out. The boy snarled back.“nah you ain’t talking to me. I don’t take no advice from homeless strangers.” Charles walked on the court. Now he felt disrespected. He snatched the ball from the boy, and made the smoothest left handed lay up the boy had ever seen.
Charles chucked the ball back at the boy. “Now 1,2 step like I told ya.” The boy walked over to the foul line and sank another shot,“didn’t I tell you? I don’t take no advice from no homeless strangers. Glad you got your exercise in today. Now be gone old man.” Charles got a look on his face the Hulk himself would be afraid of. He walked over to the boy; staring him right in the eyes, but the boy’s demeanor wasn’t fazed. He stared back at Charles almost as if he were in awe.
Charles postured, “what is your problem boy? You don’t stare a man in his eyes unless you see something wrong.” “Nothing,” the boy replied . “You just got eyes like my mama. I never seen blue around nobody’s eyes like that; except for my mama.” “Let her keep looking at you then. I don’t have time for a little rascal fool anyhow,” Charles stated in return. The boy retorted, “I would, but she’s dead.” “That figures. I should’ve known you didn’t have any home training,” said Charles. The boy sneered back,“whatever ‘no homie’. ‘Least I got a pot to piss in.” Charles laughed at the boy as he turned to walk back to his truck, “the joke’s on you Buckwheat. So do I.”
The boy knows his lay ups need work. Why won’t he take Charles’s advice?
Why do you think Charles reacted to the little boy that way?
Have you ever been harsh with someone by accident because something else inside was bothering you?
Do you think this is the situation with Charles and the boy?
Is his emotional intelligence a little off?
Buns of Steel.Stay Tuned…