Thursday, April 28, 2011

Old Men and Basketball

      There comes a time in every ball players life when we should gracefully leave the court and take up a game that does not involve grinding our knees into pulp. We don’t of course, but we should. Instead we find new ways to become effective on the court, by which I mean we cheat.
      It starts off innocent enough, a little shuffle and lean while setting a pick, a few extra steps on the way to the hoop. But then it gets ugly. Let’s just call it, for sake of argument, DG ugly.
         DG ugly means camping out in the paint for hours beyond the three-second rule without even pretending to move your feet. DG ugly means calling a foul on every single shot you take regardless if anyone is near you. DG ugly means criticizing every move your teammates make while standing still on a fast break. Let’s just avoid the entire subject of elbowing your opponents in the post.
       When I was in my thirties I swore that I would never become one of those guys. But last night with the game well in hand, one point away from the walk off shot I crossed over to the dark side. It could have been a foul, the kid didn’t argue the call, but I knew it was cheap. I was chasing down a loose ball, and got one hand on it, when out of nowhere this twenty something flew by me and stole the ball. True, he took half my arm with him and he reached in, but I never would have called it ten years ago. I just would have shrugged and said to myself “self, protect the ball next time”.  I called the foul and then hit the walk off shot next time down the court…………it was not a proud moment.         So what’s the moral of this tale? Cheaters prosper? Of course they do. In fact, it’s part of the game. No one even raised an eyebrow! ARRGGGGG!!!!!

         It is not too much of a leap to say that basketball mirrors life.         I’m reminded of a moment I shared with the lunch lady in my old school. Cathy is a big-hearted Eastern European woman with a very thick accent. One day I came into the kitchen and said, “Hey Cathy, I’m stealing an apple”.

         “Corey, you know vat happens vhen you steal?”
         “Yeah, I get stuff for free”

         Sigh…..why is being bad so rewarding?

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