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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Playing Basketball Like Peter Parker

The summer before my Freshman year, I signed up for High School Basketball. I was never particularly good at guarding, or getting the ball in the basket, but I enjoyed playing, and it was a sport I could play by myself, or with a few friends, when I got tired of reading and wanted a little exercise. Suddenly, I was facing off against players from a higher-gravity planet: they could move faster, leap higher, and make far more baskets than me. 

The coach was equally alien. Instead of instructing us to guard man-to-man, or guard in fixed areas of the court, he diagramed plays and strategies as intricate as those of a professional dance troupe.  

In "Powerless," Issue #1 of "Ultimate Spider-Man," Peter Parker finds himself in a similar situation. He's not trying out for the team, but merely enduring his afternoon P.E. class.

After Flash Thompson and Kong make impressive baskets, it's Peter's turn to throw.

Unfortunately, his efforts fall short of impressing the coach.

No matter how hard I tried that summer, my abilities still resembled those of Peter Parker before he was transformed by that famous spider bite. Yet my coach remained kind and gracious. While he constantly encouraged me to step up my performance, he never called me out or belittled my efforts. Even though I was a drag on the team, he kept me involved during practice sessions. He even asked me to attend a preseason game. As it was a close game, he didn't send me in to play. Still, he wanted me there, and I appreciated the fact that he asked me suit up and sit with the team.  

Perhaps my coach was an exceptionally kind man.  Perhaps, in this instance, he decided that effort counted for more than ability.  Either way, he rewarded my efforts that summer with an A, and gave me an Excellent for "Citizenship."  In other words: even though it was to obvious to everyone that I was a drastically inferior Basketball player, he gave me the highest marks possible.  

For me, that makes him a real superhero.

Dragon Dave  

Related Dragon Cache entries
Celebrating Brian Michael Bendis

"Powerless" was written by Brian Michael Bendis and Bill Jemas, penciled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Steve Buccellato, and lettered by Richard Starkings. Read about Peter Parker's transformation into Spider-Man, and his first battle with the Green Goblin, in the seven-issue compilation Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 1: Power And Responsibility

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