Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Messed Around and Got A Triple-Double

Let me preface this post by first saying I greatly dislike Facebook and hearing about friends getting hurt.  However, recently both of these things have provided me with the good fortune of finding another athletic outlet that I thoroughly enjoy.

While scrolling through my wife's news feed on Facebook I read about a friend of ours getting injured in a basketball game.  Unfortunately for our friend the injury is relatively severe and requires surgery to repair.  But I was very curious about this basketball game in which he was injured. 

For years I have been saying to Katie that I wished there was some sort of open gym for basketball in our little town.  I knew there was an open gym for volleyball, a sport I can play but do not receive great joy when participating.  There is also a softball league, but I don't really know anyone on a team and can't seem to find enough other interested parties to form my own team.

I am not the greatest basketball player.  For a long time in my youth I was taller than many of my friends and played in the post on most of my basketball teams.  By high school, my friends had surpassed me in height and I had failed to develop my ball handling skills in order to transition to the guard play that my average height warranted.  Nevertheless, I continued to be passionate about the sport, and I continued to play for teams at the YMCA and church league.

I really enjoy the game of basketball.  I enjoy the physical challenge of running up and down the court at "high" rates of speed.  I enjoy the minor physical contact, the trash talking, the cheering, and the oohs and aahs when somebody makes a great play. Overall, I REALLY enjoy the physical competition of the game.

Suddenly, upon learning of my friend's injury, while concerned for his well-being, I became extremely excited about the prospect of a local basketball game!  I asked around to some of our mutual friend's and came to find out that there is an open gym for basketball on Monday nights at a church just down the street from our house.  I immediately asked Katie if I could go.  She responded, "Of course you can!"

My first night at the open gym was last Monday.  I was a little nervous upon arriving.  I did not really know what to expect.  I knew there was only one other guy that I would know for sure, and I had no idea what the competition would be like.  When I showed up at the church I was a little taken aback that the floor of the gym was a multi-purpose carpet.  When the portable hoops were brought out I began to warm up.  I was not shooting very well to start, which had me a bit worried, but as we lined up to shoot freethrows for teams, I nailed my first one and it felt great!  Oddly enough my team had no real inside players, so I found myself playing down low among the trees.  Again, I REALLY enjoyed playing in the post.  I was dominated by some much taller players, but I knew they were having to work hard for every point and rebound.  I even managed to scrape a few rebounds together and make a few buckets to help the teams cause.  I had a behind-the-back pass that brought a few cheers from the teams on the sidelines; that made me pretty proud!  When the night was over, I was so excited to have participated.  I had soooo much fun!

The next couple of days I was pretty sore.  I stuck with my runs, but at a reduced rate since some of my muscles were recovering from being used for the first time in years.  I played again last night, and while I did not have as good of an all-around game, I still had a blast. And again, I am sore as hell today!

The most amazing thing that I find in all of this is how my brain works.  At the root of this whole health and fitness thing is the idea of becoming a better person.  Losing weight, eating right, running, biking, those are all efforts to improve myself.  And I strive to do better in each one of those endeavors.  The basketball is no different.  Last night, I was getting beat off the dribble by a number of other players.  I used to pride myself on defense, and I always thought I had pretty quick feet, but last night showed me otherwise.  So what do I start thinking about?  I need to start jumping rope to work on my foot speed, and I am sure there is going to be some benefits to my other athletic efforts.  So why not?!  I haven't jumped rope longer than I had not played basketball, so that experience may be a post in and of itself. 

So, while I don't think I played well enough to score a triple-double, I think I am going to try and get to that level.  I guess we will just have to wait and see.

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