I'm in Andrew's car on a bright spring morning, on the way to the basketball court. "This is a good song for you to listen to, to get pumped for b-ball," he says and turns up the car radio, loud. It's a rap song and the chorus is, "Big things poppin', lil' things stoppin'." Andrew explains that poppin' means making things happen. I nod my head to the song's hypnotic beat and decide I'll try my best to make something happen on the basketball court.
Standing on the half-court line in the hot sun, I bounce the basketball and crow, "I'm so poppin! I'm popcorn, maybe even a pop-tart!" Andrew rolls his eyes, smiling. Twenty-one years old, agile, cool, and a fearless athlete, he never has any trouble stopping me on the court.
I spin away to try my version of a mini fast break. A fast break is when a player with the ball (me) attempts to move up the court and into scoring position as quickly as possible so that the defense doesn't have time to set up. I turn, do a fake, and run up court, but Andrew has seen this coming and easily bats the ball away from me as I give up another point to him. Fast breaks are hard to achieve.
Last year, I got hit by a really devastating fast break--breast cancer. I didn't see the cancer coming and had no chance to defend against it. I was diagnosed in late December and on Valentine's Day gave up both breasts to be cancer free--a love letter of sorts to myself. Fast breaks usually leave the other team confused, wondering what the hell just happened here. After the surgery, I felt exactly like that.