During the third quarter of the USC-Notre Dame game Saturday (PHEEEENOMENAL game, it should go without saying. It provoked massive use of picture-in-picture, a blister on my remote thumb, and my biggest yell for a college football game my alma mater wasn’t involved in since Kordell went deep against Michigan in 1994) it was time for M’s afternoon snack. I sat her in her high chair, positioned some mac & cheese and green beans on her tray, made sure her sippy cup was full, and slipped into the living room so I could continue to watch. Since I had to stay upright so I could keep an eye on her, I ended up grabbing her basketball and shooting turn-around jumpers from across the room. I was pretty impressed with myself after hitting six of eight. That’s when I noticed she was laughing at me. It seems that each time I bent over to pick up the ball, she thought I was playing peekaboo. I’d bend over, snatch the ball, then reappear. Giggles from the kitchen. It was fun, but I didn’t think anything of it.

When she was done, I wiped her hands and face, set her on her feet, and began cleaning up her seat and tray. I didn’t notice that she immediately took off for the living room. When I finished my cleaning and returned to the couch, I found her standing in front of her hoop, on her tip-toes, pushing the ball up and over the rim into the hoop. She had her game face on; there was no laughing now. As soon as the ball dropped through, she’d chase it down and start again. Naturally, by the time I got the camcorder out, she had tired of her little game though. But I’m pleased to announce that my daughter is probably the best Under 2 hoopster on the block! It’s as if she knew this was the weekend that college basketball teams started practicing. Perhaps the many hours her daddy has spent in front of the TV the last two weeks watching baseball triggered something in her head that made her think it was time to get serious about using that birthday present so she could help daddy work off his stress once basketball season starts. I’m mostly glad I don’t have to pick her up anymore to shoot some hoops. My back couldn’t take it much longer.