Last night I played pick-up basketball for the first time in five or six years.
No, it didn’t go well, thanks for asking.
I started out just playing one-on-one with the only other dude in the gym. I scored precisely zero points against him. Remember the video of that plastic grocery bag dancing in the wind? Okay, well the bag was me, and the other guy was playing basketball against a grocery bag. Which was me.
When it was done my body was left in a state of panic. My legs quivered uncontrollably. I felt like I was breathing through a pipe made of fire and chili peppers and the specter of my own death. He was like, “Wanna play again?” And I was going to reply but my arms fell off and I had to deal with that first.
After a few minutes of rest I was like, screw it, I’m going back in there.
Because I like being pummeled. If you’ve read any of this blog, you know.
When I came back there were more people in the gym. We started a pick-up game of four-on-four, and wouldn’t you know it the dudes on the court were like, “You take that guy.” Weird that he was the tallest and arguably best player on the floor. Hmm. So I checked him and proceeded to stagger around the court like an exhausted land-strider from The Dark Crystal. But, you know, I scored a few points, got a couple rebounds, etc. I was, for the first time, an old man on the basketball court. What a thing. It felt like a rite of passage. Like, I remember when I turned thirty, and I thought it was going to be a bummer. At the very least it was going to be inconsequential, you know? But what really happened was awesome. As a guy, when you turn thirty, something unexpected happens. People look at you differently, treat you differently… and it’s all positive. It’s like this – if you’re in a business meeting and you start saying something that people should hear, if the other people know you’re twenty-nine or less, they’re like, “Pfft, what does this idiot, Scott, know? Nothing. Probably can’t even tie his own shoes.” But if you’re thirty when you say it? “Quiet everyone! Let’s hear what Mr. Holliday has to say. Drop your sage knowledge on us, oh wise one.”
Same thing on the court last night. All of my old man shit was immediately forgiven because clearly I’d been there before and paid my dues, you know? Instead of being brutally run over I was, shall I say, more delicately handled? And if I did anything even remotely skillful, it was like, “Ooo, good hustle, man! Good work!”
I guess you could say it’s like this – instead of having to compete at the highest level, the bar was dropped down so I could just feel good about being merely adequate. And you know what? I’ll take it.
For now 😉