The Peter Conundrum

As I prepare to watch Peter play basketball in the regional tournament and as I contemplate the fact that last year, he and his teammates won the regional tournament and went on to play in the state tournament on the Rupp Arena floor, feelings of excitement, delight and pride fill my heart.

Only one thought fills my head, “At which of the 30+ times in Peter’s childhood that Greg and I drove off and left him, did we return and pick up the wrong kid?”

To understand my dilemma, you have to know that Greg and I tend to leave our kids places.

By kids, I mean almost exclusively Peter, age 1-12ish. And by places, I mean anywhere/everywhere in Marshall County, certain regions of western Kentucky and as far east as . . . well . . . Gatlinburg.

(Turns out that forgetting a child and temporarily leaving him in a different state doesn’t constitute a federal offense but it does cost you the Parent of the Year Award every time.)

The switch may have happened early in his life because he was very young when we first noticed that Peter was . . . (whisper voice) different . . . from the rest of the family. He would pass the Sunday newspaper comics to his father and older siblings and snatch up . . . (gasp) the sports section.

He began to sneak away from us during Saturday morning cartoon time to covertly watch a basketball game on a different television. And then, he regularly started to use words that had always been foreign in our home like “lay up” and “power forward”.

Later, when he hit puberty and we saw what physical shape he would take, I was bewildered by him again. I don’t like to make judgments based on the way people look; but frankly, you’ve got to wonder about the skinny butt thing. Line up the rest of the Northcutts and look at us. Where did that gene come from?

Mostly, I’m puzzled by his athletic ability. Where did this kid who may play basketball in Rupp Arena for the second time get so much of it? It definitely wasn’t from Greg or me.

Greg will “Take You Out to the Ballgame” in any key on most every musical instrument; but the only time that he has stood with a group of guys and sung, “We are the Champions” is at a Queen concert.

And my athletic accomplishments consist of a kickball home run in fourth grade and the ability to play jump rope tag without getting spanked by the rope.

I used to be able to walk across the room on the tops of my toes. Unfortunately, Greg says that my odd feat (notice the cool play on words) doesn’t qualify as athletic ability but could get me playing time alongside Carl, the armless violinist and the Hilton sisters, conjoined twins joined at the buttocks.

So, I have concluded as I have watched this boy play basketball, either the Lord reached into a select bag of genes that He keeps on hand for special occasions and formed Peter to his own, unique specifications or I have an uncoordinated, big-butted son still waiting for me to pick him up at church, or at the elementary school, or at the middle school, or at the park, or at the mall, or at . . .