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March 12, 2019

If the shoe fits

By Dom Cioffi

In the last year, my son has grown an astonishing amount. This is evident not only in the aches and pains he’s experiencing from rapid growth, but also from the surprised looks of friends and family that haven’t seen him in a while.

I don’t notice because I’m with him every day, but occasionally I’ll glance at him standing next to someone and realize the dramatic change. Over this past weekend, I told him to stand against the door casing so I could measure him. With the ruler out for accuracy, he stood just over 5’9” – pretty impressive for a 14-year-old.

His feet are not far behind – now topping 11.5. I’m not concerned about his height (since I’m still taller at 6’1”), but the shoe size bothers me simply because I’m a size 12 and, as of late, he’s been eyeing my sneaker collection.

As a basketball player, I’ve always had an affinity for good looking high-tops. As a young man, I could only afford one pair a season, but as I got older and had more expendable income, I started to purchase whatever snazzy footwear caught my eye.

Once my playing days ended and I began to coach, the wear and tear on my sneakers was dramatically reduced. Instead of burning through a pair of shoes each season, they instead looked just as new as the day I bought them by the time spring rolled around. In fact, I don’t think I’ve worn out a pair of sneakers since I stopped playing basketball, and that was nearly 7 years ago.

Needless to say, I have an impressive collection of sneakers that I know still hold value in the strange world of collectible shoes. A couple of years ago, I went online to check and discovered that a few pair of my sneakers had appreciated in value, even in their semi-used condition.

Not surprisingly, my son also has a bit of an issue with footwear. If it’s his birthday or Christmas, hoop sneakers are one of his staple desires. It’s even tough to take him to the mall these days. We can’t walk by a shoe store without him deciding that he simply can’t live without the new Kevin Durant’s or Kyrie’s that just dropped.

Not surprisingly, he never wants shoes that are on sale. Quite the opposite – he’s only interested in the newest releases when they are at their most expensive price point. My “high-end” sneakers are still reasonably priced while he’s eyeing the newest LeBron’s, which can cost upwards of $300. (And, no, I have not purchased him anything remotely close to that dollar amount.)

I do buy him good sneakers, but I’m always pained by how ratty they look after a week or two of being worn. I can’t complain too much because it means he’s using them, but I’m consistently bewildered by his lack of concern for a clean shoe.

Last year I bought him a new pair of black and gold Steph Curry’s only to see them covered with mud after a few days of being worn. Of course, I can only take this for so long before I toss them into the washing machine for revitalization.

I do have one rule: His game sneakers can never be worn outdoors. Nothing irritates me more than to see a kid walk onto the court with his team uniform on accompanied by a scrappy looking pair of shoes.

I never wear my game sneakers to the gym, and I’ve taught my son the same rule. Game sneakers should only ever touch the hardwood; they should be treated as special since your performance in the game should be special.

This week’s feature, “Fighting With My Family,” also involves high-top footwear and special performances, but in this case, all the activity is taking place inside a roped off ring.

“Fighting With My Family” is the true life story of Saraya Bevis, better known to her fans as Paige, a female superstar of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) who helped transform women’s wrestling with her athleticism and outcast demeanor.

Born in Norwich, England, Paige made her wrestling debut at 13 years old in the World Association of Wrestling, a low-key British sports organization run by her family. After years of working various circuits, Paige eventually got a shot at the WWE where she went on to become an international star.

This film is enjoying some stellar reviews across the board, which gave me high hopes. And while it was an enjoyable storyline and did tug at the heartstrings occasionally, it wasn’t at a level where I would tell people to rush out to see it. This is a solid picture with an interesting story, but it’s also riddled with cliché characters and scenes.

You’ve seen this movie a million times with different characters and settings. Walk in knowing that and you should be fine.

A combative “B-” for “Fighting With My Family.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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