Here is a short passage from my new novel, Overtime: A Basketball Parable. In the book, the protagonist, who spent his life coaching high-school basketball, gets a look at a player who reminds him of his earliest and best days in coaching. These are the thoughts that race through his mind upon being so reminded. You can get the book here for $3.49.
The sight of this, the recognition, it hits me with a pang I do not anticipate and the likes of which I have not felt – have not gotten near – in all my time here on this bench. Maybe the effect is so great because I have actually felt no encouragement for so long. These emotions now are completely unlike those stirred by the sad twilight drama I must witness every evening. In every way, the memories aroused – at least the immediate ones – are positive, but I am almost overcome, almost sickened, by the force of it.
It is like meeting your old high-school girlfriend once again, after forty years, and seeing her the way she was at seventeen. You know, all the details you’d forgotten – the light step, the welcoming smile, the girl’s perfume, the long hair, the blue dress. All of the bad endings forgotten. And, with every part of that magic spell surrounding you, the threads of age and disappointment are for the moment torn away and you remember not only her, but the person you were then: what you hoped for and what you believed and what you were certain that you would become. And, finally, it does not matter how much you cared about her and what you think you would give for another moment, another chance. At the very bottom of it all, what tears into your gut is the awareness of the loss of your better self; the young man who once loved and trusted and believed and who walked this earth with confidence. That is the real loss.