“You can’t play rez ball the rest of your life…”

Rez ball is somewhat of a lawless form of basketball often played on dirt courts, plywood backboards, using a ball covered in bullheads. There’s usually not an out of bounds, or three-point line, and painfully there are normally no fouls. If you ever played rez ball, you would understand what I mean.

I was in northern Arizona one time, at a camp meeting. My Dad, was preaching and I was out playing ball during the day. I lost track of time, and before I knew it people started coming out of the service. I kept playing ball, and soon some of the adults started joining. There weren’t any rules, and we were just more or less shooting around. As the shooting progressed, we became more and more competitive, not really playing any particular game; just rez ball. One of the older, bigger gentleman, got the ball. I ran up to him, punched him in the stomach, and said, “give me the ball, fat boy.” I was 7 or 8, and he was in college. My Dad popped up out of nowhere. He took me around back and whooped me. Needless to say, I wasn’t allowed to play rez ball.

Sometime this past year my Dad and I were talking. In my later years of life, we’ve become philosophical in our conversations. Contemplating life, identity, ceremonies, etc. He brought up to me about playing rez ball. He said, “Remember playing rez ball, and eventually you started playing in that club team?” I said, “yeah, I remember.” My Dad went on, “You can’t play rez ball the rest of your life, eventually you gotta learn the rules of the game if you want to move to the next level.”

We literally applied that concept to different things in our life. I applied it to thought of going from high school to college. We mentioned it in regards of churches. Eventually we need to learn the rules if we’re going to play at another level. I was lucky to have a Dad that put people in my path that new rules to different games. Whether it was fixing door knobs, laying flagstone, getting into graduate school, etc. It’s hard as parents to know that we don’t have all the answers for our kids, but I’m glad that I have family and friends who can help me along the way… It makes me happy to know, Luna or Gordie won’t be stuck just playing rez ball the rest of their life.

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