Yesterday, I drove out to Amityville to play basketball at Big Al’s gym. It’s been many months since I played. Months since I shot a ball or dribbled; so there was a sense of trepidation on my drive out there. Earlier in the week, I confirmed I could play. And yesterday, was a modestly free day. It was an extended weekend with Thanksgiving and the dreaded Black Friday. I avoid the onslaught of humanity; the shopping battalions who choose to ignore and lose sight of giving during the season. Their selfishness lurks behind their deceptive intentions; what can I give him which would make him love me? I avoid the obsessiveness the craving and the vindictive maneuvers. Instead, I escape to a gym. There is a group of us from World Courier who meet at Big Al’s in the winter and in the summer months outside at a court in Nassau County. The games are competitive enough. I am one of the oldest out there and yet the older I am the more I feel I have to hustle after the loose ball, an errant pass or a break away after a steal. I am a glutton for the punishment since I know my aggressive play helps my team win. Let me correct myself, I believe it should help my team win. Yesterday, out of the seven games we played, we lost every game. And I try to console myself with the reminder, we are out here having fun, but maybe tossing the ball behind my back towards the basketball was not a good idea. The games were competitive to a point. I jammed my thumb in the first game and played through the throbbing and pain after that. I didn't shoot very well and was not sure if it was months from being away from the action or my thumb. Let’s say it was both. But I felt in shape. I've been running almost every other day. On Thanksgiving I went out for a seven mile jog. The glimmer of marathon is a twinkle in my brain. Let’s see if I can do it. I tell myself, you’re in good shape, ran a good mile and…let’s get back to the basketball. There were a couple of new guys who we played with. I like how one of them feels the need to give me pointers. I’m 49 and don’t need pointers. “You need to get under the basket and own the key. Own the key!” Got it. But here’s the thing hot shot. I don’t want to feel the punishment, the nails ripping into my arms, the elbows spiking me in the ribs. Like I told you, it was the first time in months. But in deference, the last games we played I took the advice from hot shot and posted down low. The ball came to me and I turned and put up a hook. It was close shot, but it did not bounce in. That was the way most of my shots were yesterday. After two hours of playing our rented time at the court had expired and we gathered our things and called it a day. One of the best players Ryan injured his knee on the last game. He collided with another player. Ryan’s knee had blown up about the twice the size. Earlier we discussed a 10K he was running in Central Park. With that knee, I would be surprised if Ryan would be out there. From my car, my thumb was swollen to the point I could not call Ali. Eventually, I did. I went to Book Revue to buy some books from Amanda and myself and felt more aches in my body. I questioned my sanity. Maybe I am too old for basketball? I thought so till I just read that Mickey Rourke just boxed in Moscow. The man is 62. Shit, if he can box, I can play basketball. Right? Excuse me while I find a heating pad and some Advil.
Thank you for reading this.