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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Turn Back the Clock Night.....

I’m getting old. 
This is simply a fact, one that cannot be avoided. It’s harder to get up in the morning, and harder to stay up late at night.  And let’s not even discuss the degree of difficulty of not yawning if I try to GO anywhere during the evening hours.  Work, kids, and life have taken their toll on me, but mostly, it is the work of Father Time.  I don’t really enjoy it, but it happens. 
          The other night I was taking my two daughters to try a new activity at the local “rec”
center, which we have never been to. They heard about it from a friend, and we like to try new things, to here we were.  We paid our money, got directions, and off we went.  As we
entered the doors, I noticed something. 

A basketball court. 

         Not just a court, but a semi-crowded court where, to my ancient eyes, appeared to be a game
of pick-up basketball going on.  For those who do not know, basketball is a game I used to play quite a bit, when I was young.  Quite a bit younger actually.  It appeared these high school-to-college aged
kids were going up and down pretty good.  As I paused to access the competition, one of them invited me into the game.  “hey, old man, we need one more”.  Now of course, the “old man” part was all in
my imagination.  But it is what part of me heard nonetheless.
          After checking with the director that my girls would be fine in there, and assuring
myself that anyone who attempted to make off with my girls would have to cross
the basketball court to exit, I joined the game.  After wishing I had a 70’s style headband in
my pocket and giving brief thought to doing weird stretches and running a few
wind sprints to get loose (Jim Carey in Cable Guy) I decided just to hope no
hamstrings or tendons were on their last miles and stepped onto the court. 
           For non-ballers, in this style of game, everyone takes a player, and you match
up.  Unfortunately, the kid I was assigned looked like he could run all day, loved the weight room, and ate a chicken and egg white only omelet before coming to the gym.  My goodness. After the game had been going on for a few minutes, nothing hurt, so I decided it was time to do something.  Besides, we were losing, and I paid $5.  So I figured I had the right to put up a few shots.  As the ball came to me, my man played off, giving me plenty of room, as I had showed no signs of knowing what I was doing out there.  One dribble, then two, and I launched a three.  SWISH!  Wow, that felt really good.  Then the next time, it came back to me, and he was back there again, giving me room, as if to say I was lucky the first time. I shot, and it went in again.  Hooray for old guys!
           As the game continued, I at least proven dangerous enough for my opposite to actually guard
me.  I felt good, making a few, missing a few, even dribbling off my foot once, a feat (feet) that, viewed ina vacuum, would assure the viewer that I had no athletic ability whatsoever.  As we got to the end, I had to pull out one more move.  It’s the old fake-behind-the-back pass and any of my high school buddies would swear they have seen me do it a million times.  But not these guys.  These guys were either unborn or pooping in their diapers when I perfecting this particular maneuver.  So, when it came to “next point wins” I knew it was time to reach into the bag of tricks.  There I went, and apparently the youth of America still can be tricked by a move invented a long, long, time ago.  As I victoriously went to collect my daughters, I could tell his buddies were giving him a hard time for being schooled by the old guy.  As they walked by, “good game” and all that, he wanted to assure me he was still recovering from knee surgery, I felt implying that once he was at full speed I was in trouble if we ever played again.  “I’m 38” I replied, assuring him that I was at quite an advanced age compared to him, and next time we played I would probably be slower, grumpier, and unable to remember his name.  But for one night it was nice just to relive a little bit of those days of so long ago. 

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