A return to Basketball for a 59 year old

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A 59 year old returns to the basketball court to play with 25 year olds.

Submitted: June 09, 2008

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Submitted: June 09, 2008

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I kept watching the young 21-28 year old warriors charging from one end of the basketball court to the other at the Chicago fitness center I belong to. Each day I would peer in with my nose stuck to the glass longingly like a child who wanted to play in the game with the big guys. Then, I weakly idled away to the spinning class or treadmill for a woosey workout instead of the real one the basketball players were engaged in. Oh, how I wanted to play with them but I was so afraid of the embarrassment I would have to endure for being so old, out of shape, and not that good a player to begin with. It wasn't like I was some legendary old basketball player who had withered with age but still knew what I was doing. I had only ever been just ok when I was their age. Well, I finally summoned the courage to join in the pick up games which took place several days a week. I signed the sheet and my name was called with 4 other guys to play full court against the opposing pick up team. I absolutely stunk for the first 2 months I played and was a defecit to whatever team I was on. Everyone talked to everyone else but almost no one talked to me. No high fives, no ataboys. Nothing. And for good reason. I couldn't cover my man, I couldn't shoot, I couldn't hold on to the ball. It was a pathetic struggle every time I played for those first months. And then magic happened. As I started to get in better shape and started to play better defense the pressure to perform eased in my mind. Finally, I was on a team one day with especially good players who had never acknowledged me before. A play developed where my man had the ball underneath the basket ready to make an easy layup. There was only one thing to do. Foul him hard. I did it, hard and clean, and he did not score. One of teammates saw my ballsy play and slapped my hand yelling "good foul Dave". My heart jumped for joy. Then his friend put his arm around me and said " Dave, just shoot the ball anytime you want to. Get the ball out fast on the fast breaks, and get back on defense, you can play this game" Our team won 2 games in a row and the winners keep the court. When the third game was about to start I looked like I was going to leave. "You're not leaving now are you Dave one of my guys asked asked"? I said "No". Joy came to my heart again. Then thisother guy said" I just want to be like you when I'm your age. What heart you have". Then I actually made a basket. . Tears were almost coming to my eyes. There were high fives from guys who had never looked at me before. And there was more good comments about my good play in the locker room especially from the guy who had originally recognized my good defensive play under the basket. I said to him "keep the love coming, I need it." And I do.


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