If I knew I was going to play basketball the next morning why did I stay up till 3AM splitting two bottles of white wine? Cause I’m an idiot sometimes that’s why. I haven’t stayed up that late in awhile. I’m an old man now remember? I woke up at eight like I’ve been trying to do and felt awful, so I slept in until nine and still felt awful and so I slept in till ten and felt alright. Alright was good enough. But I’d run out of time and had to be out the door so I didn’t get a chance to check off item one from my 10 point to-do list. Eat breakfast.
Joe donated a cliff bar. Its 300 calories and the two liters of water I guzzled beforehand were enough to keep me going. I never threw up like I thought might happen.
I wish I could say I had some skills to fall back on but I haven’t played basketball since maybe 2003 or 2004, and not a full 3 on 3 or 4 or 4 in maybe forever. I’ve been reading Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball and I’ve been skimming random passages from Bill James’ Historical Baseball Abstract--my favorite is his stuff on Craig Biggio, yes, Craig Biggio–and I’ve also been on this trip of late in which I have to tell each and every person I come across how two of the top ten movies from the 90’s are Sneakers and White Men Can’t Jump (somehow if the Cohen Brothers don’t make it, no comedy is allowed to be considered great).
So just before we played I sort of ran through my head some of the best points. Bill Simmons brings up the secret to basketball, which of course Woody Harrelson sort of throws back at Wesley Snipes in White Men Can’t Jump.
“You’d rather look good and lose than look bad and win.”
Bill James is convinced Craig Biggio is one of the best players of all time, not because he hits a ton of home runs, or has a high batting average, but because he is exceptional at the little things. He doesn’t ground into double plays, he gets hit by a lot of balls, he plays great defense, he smacks a lot doubles. It all adds up.
We played two 3 on 3 games, two 4 on 4 games. Joe is an inch or so taller than me, much more experienced, and a much better player. He could drive the lane, play good defense, grab rebounds, toss up a good outside shot and best of all, pass well. It was a blast playing with him. He was easily the first or second best player all day.
I was not the best player. I think maybe I shot 1 for 10–maybe worse–though it’s possible I hit a layup once or twice. I can’t remember. The one jump shot I did hit was a pump fake ten footer against Joe to win the second game. Otherwise, I was winded. I lost my legs early. My shots were ugly. I got blocked on a few drives to the basket. But you know what? I tried to do the little things. I passed the ball. I boxed out. I set picks. I ran through picks. I stayed on the move. I blocked a couple shots. My body hurts right now but it was a great time. I loved sticking my hand in someone’s face and watching him miss. I loved Javy’s perfect bounce pass to me. I blew the shot but the pass was still good.
You know what else? My teams didn’t lose any of the four games. I loved that. Losing at anything makes me pissy. I don’t like losing at board games or UNO or Monopoly. Winning is nice. Losing absolutely sucks. I lucked out today that I had good teammates to pick up the slack. Here’s to next week! Think maybe I should eat a good breakfast and try not drinking a bottle of wine the night before? Or was that the lucky charm?
© 2013 Christopher Dart