Church Basketball: The brawl that begins with prayer
I saw a shirt last week and thought it was pretty funny. It said \"Church Basketball: The brawl that begins with prayer.\" Mormon Church basketball is an experience that is hard to understand unless you have witnessed it or played in combat... I mean a game. Way back, just before I was a teenager, I started playing Church Ball. I was one of the poor sports that I am now writing about years later. The one and only reason I was a bad sport and lost my temper during the games is that I was a lousy player.
I played on the Morgan 2nd Ward adult team back in the early 70's. I was young but they always had me play because they usually only had 4 players show up. Thus, it was left up to me to fill the spot. I played with my Dad and others. After getting about 10 of my shots blocked, I would get mad and start to play rough. I know it is hard to believe that this would happen in a Church ball game!
However, something more tragic than this happened to me during my church ball experience. I had to referee a bunch of the games. I am still going to therapy for this. It is my theory that Mormon men are calm and kind in their everyday lives at school, at work or at play. Then something happens when you start playing ball and the \"meanness\" comes out.
I have had four major events in my life, getting asked to the girl's dance, getting married, and the birth of my children. What happened next is Major Event number 4. The game was nearly over with a close score. We called time out to rest. I wanted to go over a plan to win the game. We all got in a huddle. Mark Walker was giving instructions to us to help us win the game (Major Event Alert!). He said \"Let's get the ball to Ronnie so we can get some points.\" I thought to myself \"who else on the team is named Ronnie? Did I just hear him say get the ball to me?\" He was talking about me! We were down by eight points and I think I made a few more points to tie the game before it ended. Its overtime and I am relieved. Because now I can show everybody what I’m really made of, even though I’m in my thirties with back problems and horrible fatigue. The tip is off and I get the ball, as I’m dribbling down the court, not less then five seconds go by and I get the ball stripped away from my old opponent back in the day, James Mickelson, who is the guitar player at church. I’m so embarrassed and angry that I chase down James and take a big hard swipe at his wrist and foul. The whistle blows and it’s my sixth foul. I’m done for the game. As I walk to the bench, winded and can hardly move, my friend Corey says to me “This isn’t for me anymore” and all I could so is smile and think to myself, “Why am I even here?” So after the last couple minutes of the game, we ended up loosing and I ended up with six fouls and three ice packs. If you added up all my points from all the games I had played from the time I was twelve, they probably would equal the thirteen points I got during that single game.
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