Return to the Hardwood
So before I talk about my vaunted return to the hardwood last night, on the way to work this morning I had a little comic interlude. Seems like I didn't quite see this patch of ice on the ground right before the curb. My feet flailed out from under me and I did one of those cartoon slips on the ice (you know, where the feet flail as you're trying to keep your balance). Well those who really know me know my penchant for falling on ice. In fact I swore off ice skating when I was younger since I usually spent more time on the ice than skating on it (I'm proud to say I've gotten a little better - no triple lutz triple toe loop combos though). Anyway I was able to somewhat keep my balance this morning but had to put my hand down on the ground. So tenth of a point deduction for me. Although some of the ghetto hood rats got a kick out of it. At least I made some people laugh this am.
Anyway, last night I returned to the basketball court for the first time in quite a while. HBO has a league in which Time Warner employees are invited to play. Two years ago I played...not too well, but most of the guys on my team and in the league for that matter are not fun to play with (ball hogs, show offs, ex college players who are still holding out for that NBA contract). Anyway I decided since I'm a fat ass and need to get back into shape, I should probably do something to get me going.
I busted out a new ensemble for my triumphant return. New sneaks (a nice black and white And 1 sneak), new shorts and new performance under wear from Under Armour (my first UA purchase - good stuff). Anyway I looked the part, which was half the battle.
I was more concerned about stamina than anything since I haven't run anywhere in a while. Surprisingly I was able to make it up and down without too much problem. My arms got more tired than my legs surprisingly. Well, actually not surprisingly since all I do with my arms these days is lift beer mugs to my mouth.
Since I've played in this league before and most people know me, the first two games we played I ran with the high B level squad. Very good players for the most part. I'm happy to say despite the two year layoff, court presence wise I was on the money. Always in position (either man-to-man or zone) and did the little things, set picks, diving for loose balls, tipping rebounds to a teammate, dropping dimes, etc. Scoring wise however I was really rusty. I missed a ton of open looks and layups (either too strong or too soft). So that was frustrating. Comical but frustrating. And my dribble was a little off as well. It's funny that as you get older you need to remember that you're not a 21 year old PG/Sharpshoot anymore, and that when you get older your game reverts to a Charles Oakley type performance. Especially with the extra weight i've put on, I've resigned myself to banging it out in the low post, boxing out, etc.
Anyway, for me it was a decent return to the game and I'm happy to report I dropped several quintuple-singles. That's having at least 1 in 5 different categories for those "sports deficient". Each of the two games I ran with the B squad I had about 2-4 points, 4-5 assists, 3-4 rebounds, 1-2 steals and 2-3 blocks. So at least I was all over the stat sheet. That and I had this nasty block on this kid who thought he was a hot shot. It was all ball and basically stuffed him down to the ground with the ball still in his hands. Dikembe Mutombo would be proud. I also had a few no-look assists and even got a chance to bust out the Wesley Snipes fake from White Men Can't Jump (and it actually worked!). But most of the time running with the B squad I was probably the 3rd or 4th best player on my squad. Which while disappointing personally, allowed me to do my grunt work and set up everyone else who were the playmakers.
The third game I was pretty much out of gas and ready to leave. However I got pulled into a C level game which was good because my legs and arms were getting tired. I was pretty much the tallest person on the court, except for another kid who was 6-2 (but he was a ginger - how many ginger's play basketball well? Any? Brian Scalabrine?) Anyway we played zone and I played center. The other team laughed at us playing zone but after we ran off a 8-1 run, they weren't laughing. I felt like I was 7' tall out there. In the first sequence I had 3 blocks alone. I ran the fast break and dished out assists left and right. I felt completely rejuvenated. At one point I came off a screen and hit a three pointer from way downtown. I don't even know if I was in-bounds. I was shocked. Of course minutes later I lost my energy and started hanging back. But for those 4-5 minutes it was nice to show signs of "greatness". Granted the playing level on the court was average, I needed a game like that as a confidence booster. After beating the team 11-2, they wanted a rematch. We were tired but oblidged. This team I let me teammates do the work and just hung out down low and blocked/altered shots. Its fun being the big man. No one wants to come strong and if they do they throw up wild shots in order not to get blocked. We won the 4th game 11-7, mainly thanks to pure exhaustion.
So all in all it was a good night on the hardwood. Except for the fact that both of my pinky toes blistered, that I got floor burn on my knees and elbows, that I got kneed in the thigh, jammed some fingers and then in the locker room after the game cramped up in my legs. I could have filmed one of those cheezy Ben-Gay commercials when the athlete is all worn out in the locker room and unable to stand. Something like this:
For the record I'm really disappointed I can't find any images or movie clips from either Major League or White Men Can't Jump on this "world wide web" that back up my points above. I wanted a pic of Harris applying the Ben-Gay in the locker room from Major League or Wesley Snipes' famous ball fake from White Men Can't Jump. But nada. I thought everything was available on the web. Big thumbs down to the billions of people in this world. Not one of them could take the time to capture these things??? Anyway, if I get my hands on either of these clips, or if you can find them please send them along. This is a sad day in my blogging life.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Return to the Hardwood