Germany rules when Germany makes the rules

It took six hours to assemble our new basketball backboard and bracket. Thanks to instructions compiled by competing factions of preschoolers, those six hours transpired thus: two hours of making progress; two hours of undoing my supposed progress; and two hours of actual assembly, incorporating all I learned about the deficiencies of the instructions during the previous four hours.

Next came two hours of removing the rust-encrusted, old hardware from the pole. This didn’t come with instructions, which is why it did not require six hours. It would have taken less time if I’d been swift enough to cut through the bolts sooner, rather than waste time tugging at intractable nuts. The time I wasted tugging at intractable nuts is embarrassing.

set shot

When I play against him, I feel like an NBA superstar, because I’m not expected to play defense.

It was all worth it. My son loves the new backboard.

He wants to play basketball all the time now. I can see the hoop dreams in his eyes as he calls dibs, “I’m gonna be Michigan State!” Then he wants to know if I want to be the University of Michigan. I’d be justified in spanking him for even asking such a question, but I just roll my eyes.

“Or do you want to play Olympics?” he asks, sensing my disgust at his previous suggestion.

“Let’s play Olympics.”

“Okay. I’m Germany.” If you were five and saw a picture of your great-grandfather wearing his Pickelhaube, you’d want to be Germany too. “Do you want to be your favorite country?”

he scores

If it goes in, he wins. If it doesn’t, his opponent loses. So this is a pretty important shot.

“You mean the one in live in?”

“Okay. You’re USA.”

The thing to know about “Olympic” basketball is that Germany always keeps score. And he doesn’t do it by the generally accepted principles of addition.

The rules of international play are foreign to those familiar with American basketball, and arithmetic. When Germany falls behind, the scores are sometimes transposed, magically jumping him into the lead. Germany’s opponent is not allowed to “get in the way” of Germany’s shot. Germany gets extra points for an otherwise routine shot if his heels are on a particular crack in the concrete.

3 pointer

The three-point line. You have to have your heel on it just so, and you have to be Germany.

When Germany is off on a juice break, any shots his opponent makes don’t count, but when that same opponent steps away to attend to one of Germany’s little brothers, Germany is free to rack up points in his absence.

Germany’s opponent sometimes gets points deducted from his score for inadequate deference to the need for Germany to have the most points by the end of the game.

toddler in the way

“You go move Buster off of the court and I’ll see how many points I can accumulate while you’re doing it.”

But I have a say in the rules too. Being a stickler for such things, I insist Germany dribbles the ball occasionally as he moves about the court. To his credit, Germany complies, whenever he doesn’t forget.

At one point, Germany actually let himself fall behind in a game. I grew concerned that his endurance was flagging. But he rallied, creatively score-keeping his way back into the lead.

Germany is undefeated, having bested the USA, Mexico, Canada, and Italy. I haven’t decided what nation I’ll select to be his next victim.


20 comments on “Germany rules when Germany makes the rules

  1. Lynn says:

    Germany appears to have it all figured out. Buster creates a distraction while he goes in for the points! Crafty little buggers, aren’t they? Seriously, this is adorable on so many levels. Love the last pic, Germany looks like he might want to attempt shot put as an alternative to Olympic basketball:-) Better start clearing the yard!

  2. Germany’s shot mechanics are a mess. Time to enroll him in a month long basketball camp, set up two hours of drills in the off season so he can “work” on his game, start putting together a highlight reel for college coaches, and get him in to see a sports psychologist. Or, you could just let him enjoy playing.

  3. tom w says:

    Tell him you want to be the USA or Britain. Then, show him pictures of FDR and Churchill and explain to him what those men did to pushy Germans.

  4. Germany has always been difficult to deal with, that’s for sure. He’s really gotten tall, that one. I worked for a commander who played football at Michigan State and he’d be onboard with your anti-University of Michigan stance. His real hatred is for Notre Dame though. I think he hurt his knee against them or something.

    • Yeah, I’m not chomping at the bit to be Notre Dame either, but that will be more of an issue when we play football. We may have to move this growing boy to power forward.

      • What are Germany’s thoughts on the World Cup final? I think Argentina is going to pull off the upset, but I’m not entirely convinced enough to wager more than $10.

        • He was pretty excited about the result of the Brazil game. His mantra now is, “If Germany can beat Brazil, they can beat anybody.” I’m trying to get him to understand the nuance between “can” and “will”. He’s convinced they are the same thing.

  5. pieterk515 says:

    When deciding on the countries, please don’t choose Brazil, for they have suffered enough defeat and embarrassment at the hands of Germany. Oh, and it would also be wrong to pick Israel. It’s a Jew thing.

  6. Traci says:

    What does Germany receive for such a stellar record of victories?

  7. A. van Nerel says:

    I’d say your son is on his way of become a great sportsman (even if he ends up playing for Germany, that’s not half bad(

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