The mind of a youngster is a great thing; it can turn an average basketball player into a superstar as time and time again the lone player can count down a shot clock and shoot the game winner at an unguarded basketball hoop. A child in tennis shoes can be turned into a world class sprinter as he races home trying to outdistance someone chasing him. It can even transfer a youngster with a plastic baseball and whiffle ball bat into the greatest home run hitter of all time, as he lofts the ball in the air and hits it cleanly across a street through the outstretched branches of a tree.
Aside from sports, I also had a place of refuge during my youth. It was simply known as the garage, a 25 by 30 foot building that stood near the alley and behind the house I grew up in. To passers by, it may not have looked like much, with the plywood backboard and the basketball goal that I had nailed to it on the front of the structure. I’m not sure I actually ever measured to see if the goal was 10 feet above the ground or not, but it looked about right to me when I was 10 years old.
The basketball goal has been down for a number of years. Shortly after graduating, the nails finally worked loose, causing the goal to come crashing down along with a few boards of siding from the garage. Those boards have too since been replaced by a sign my son purchased for my dad that reads “Pops Garage.”
It was inside the old garage that I had some of the most successful and painful moments of my youth. Successful times from the perspective that I created some of the greatest inventions known to a child and painful as a result of the time to time faulty craftsmanship or other reasons, as you soon will find out.