The further removed from physical activity you are, the more delusional you get about the caliber of athlete you once were. That’s not supposed to be deep or anything; that’s just some real life true shit about people.
This simple reality played itself out in a large fucking way in my life this past weekend, in one of the oldest and truest forms of physical competition: the pickup basketball game.
In case you hadn’t bothered to look outside in the last week, it was pretty goddamn cold there for a little bit. Even down here in the Deep South we had some of that sky cocaine rain down from above. The worst of the weather hit on a Friday too, of all days, which meant no one even got the luxury of missing a day of work or school. With the prospect of a tough Saturday ahead, my housemates and myself turned our attention to indoor activities.
Now, there’s a small crew of my pledge class that still lives in our college town, which means we still have access to our college gym. This would be pretty dope if any of us ever bothered to use it, but, as it stands, we get over there about as often as we get laid, which is to say infrequently. But with the dog shit weather at hand and few other ways to spend an afternoon, basketball seemed like a good option.
This was a stupid decision for two reasons. First, we’d naturally been drinking for a few hours before we headed over to our old stomping grounds. None of us were drunk or even noticeably buzzed, but we were a little tip, which sent our confidence to unparalleled heights. Second, none of us took into account the fact that every other scumbag with a pair of Kobes within a 10-mile radius was going to have the same idea we did.
There were about 30-plus people trying to run games on two courts when we rolled in heavy. In short time, we found ourselves matched up against what looked like five absolute clowns — one tall, skinny dude, a fat kid playing point guard, and three faces that were instantly forgettable.
Slight digression. The shifty, chubby dude with a surprisingly competent handle and quickish feet for his size is the WORST person to play pickup against. Cursed with a slow metabolism from an early age, this asshole has a chip on his shoulder so big it would make Matthew Dellavedova give him a sideways glance and say “dude, chill the fuck out.”
As the game took shape, it became obvious pretty quickly that we were outmatched. The two mimosas and three beers we had each thrown back at brunch and the two hours after didn’t help our cause, and neither did the fact that we hadn’t played organized basketball in two years. Down by a bucket with the game dwindling down, it was time for some late-game heroics, which naturally fell my way. I had, after all, won back-to-back church league titles back in the day and ran the fraternity B-league team with all the showmanship and skill of a young Pete Maravich.
With the game on the line, I snatched a rebound, looked upcourt, saw an opening, and turned on the dusters. Reaching my top speed of about 9-11 MPH, I could feel my control over my extremities and the basketball begin to wane just inside our own three-point line. In a desperate attempt to keep myself under control, I lofted a shot towards the rim.
What happened next was so fast it took a few seconds for my brain to catch up with my body. As I left the earth and rose to the rim, my nose plowed into the sternum of the tall motherfucker on the other team. He didn’t block my shot so much as he consumed it. As I fell to the ground, I saw him toss a casual outlet pass to his fat fucking friend, who scored easily while my teammates made sure I hadn’t shattered my C4.
The worst part about the whole thing? It was a buddy’s birthday that night. We had plans to go slam some margs at one of our favorite local Mexican-inspired eateries before going to run some pool at a nearby dive bar and maybe, if we were feeling especially confident, chase a little tail. Unfortunately, after having my body and my confidence quite literally crumble to the hardwood in a shattered heap, I couldn’t bring myself to face the outside world again so soon. Instead, we ended up watching the Entourage movie (B-, could have used a lot more Nina) and pumping back between four and seven alcohols before falling asleep on the couch.
Don’t ever grow up, kids..