Reading Response Obama – Gentian Dumani

Around spring Obama begins to talk about a basketball game he attended when the University of Hawaii had made the national rankings. The team consisted of an all black starting five and Obama watched the players during their warm up. He noticed the boys were composed and very confident of their skills. They cracked jokes, and flirting with the women on sidelines as they warmed up. Obama decideds he wants to be apart of that world where and he started to practice a playground near his apartment complex. He would spend his entire day playing basketball practicing his dribble moves, and his jumpshot for hours. By the time he reached highschool he was finally playing on Punahou’s teams.

“Where a handful of black men, mostly gym rats and has-beens, would teach me an attitude that didn’t just have to do with the sport. That respect came from what you did and not who your daddy was. That you could talk stuff to rattle an opponent, but that you should shut the hell up if you couldn’t back it up. That you didn’t let anyone sneak up behind you to see emotions-like hurt or fear-yoy didn’t want them to see.”

The gym rats that Obama encountered while playing on Punahou’s teams were trying to teach him that respect was earned and not given. It didn’t matter who your father was or who you knew. You had to work for respect. If you can’t back up what you preached then you needed to shut up. He also grasped that he should hide certain emotions such as fear, and anxiety. If you become vunerable people will take advantage of that and it will lead to your downfall.

Obama learns many new concepts while becoming apart of this new world he enters. He learns many valuable lessons as he was playing on the Punahou’s basketball team. He learns to earn his respect and to always keep his guard up because in this new world he’s entering its everyone against him. In order to climb the ranks and be successful he needs to prove everyone that he aint no b*tch, and that he is indeed a good basketball player.

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