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…