“Bug, want to play basketball with me?” I asked.
“No…I want to stay home and play Pokemon.”
“…are you sure?” I gave her one more chance.
“I’m sure.” She started back at her video game screen.
I changed and looked at my outfit in the mirror.
“Ehh, who’s gonna be there? No one ever plays there.”
I drove two minutes to my hidden spot. One solitary basketball hoop surrounded by green grass. A beautiful painted court untainted by graffiti that described female body parts…or lame names. I parked my car and looked around for any souls that could disrupt my sad attempts at basketball. Looked left…no one. Looked right….wait. One car. What? Who is here? This is my court…no one plays here….allow me to embarrass myself in peace.
I sat in my car and thought about it. Just walk by, maybe it’s an abandoned car. I grabbed my ball from my trunk and made my walk to the basketball court…and passed the abandoned car. I grimaced as I saw two guys sitting in the car. Young guys…probably in their late teens or early twenties.
“Great, now I am going to be paranoid…the view of court was right in front of them. They will be watching me. They will get off their smartphones…stop playing Candy Crush…or browsing Tinder…or Clash of Clans..and watch me embarrass myself on the court.”
I thought about just turning around and go back to sitting on my couch. I thought about cheesecake….macaroni and cheese…cheese puffs…anything with cheese.
“No…I gotta be active. I have to burn calories…I have to burn toast…as in grilled cheese sandwiches…STOP…NO…no more talk about food. BE ACTIVE.”
Maybe they won’t pay attention. That’s it, young men…stay on your iphones with cracked screens. Like that facebook status…that instagram picture…like that too…don’t pay attention to the dude in his mid-thirties playing basketball. He’s not worthy to watch. He’s not that good.
I bounced the ball a few times…and took a shot. The ball ricocheted off the board with a loud thud. I heard faint laughter coming from the car. WHAT? Are they laughing at me? Hey, give me a chance here…I’m not that bad, Ok? I was an all-star on my 7th grade team. That means something right? I played high school basketball also…and I coach basketball. I have some skill. I was getting a little angry. I took another shot…swish. I looked back at them.
“Ha..no laughing now eh? Who cares if my shirt has holes in it…and you could probably see my stomach from here. And so what if my socks don’t match. This guy still has some game in him.”
I took another shot…this time from behind the three point line….swish. BOOM! I was feeling it. Wait…I was not FEELING it. I was FEELIN’ it. Sounds much cooler if you take off the “g”. You are not that cool if you are “DANCING”…but if you are “DANCIN”, look out.
I bet these young guys are impressed. They probably put down their phones and thought, “This guy with the mismatched socks is pretty good…I could learn a few things from him. Let us text all our friends and tell them our location so we can all bask in this man’s glory. Yes, let us post this on Facebook. We will just type the word ‘WOW’. And all 567 friends will ask what that was for. And we will say, ‘this guy is at the court straight killin’ it(see leave the G out of killing, and it sounds better), this is life changing.”
I was not missing a shot…I decide to turn it up a notch. I could see the young guys still looking in my direction. I dribble the ball through my legs…do a spin move…step back and shoot….and then….SWISH. It was beautiful…but something was wrong.
I went to retrieve the ball…and felt pain coming from my heel. OUCH! What? What is that? I can’t even figure out where that pain is coming from…it’s not my ankle…but my heel? Who gets pain in their heels? I know walking while wearing heels can be painful for women…but how do men get pain in their heels? I could not walk normally. The young guys noticed. But, they drove off. Show is over fellas, this guy is hurt now. I went from nervous guy in mismatched socks…to a guy with mismatched socks who can play basketball…to an injured guy with mismatched socks. I limped to my car.
And started to notice a trend. A trend of random uncool injuries in my thirties.
There’s this one…this heel injury that will be tough to explain to anyone.
“Yeah, I was playing basketball by myself…and I hurt myself.”
Then I realized each injury I had was caused by things I did by myself. Not a team game with others, but random things I did by myself.
“What happened to you man? Why are you walking like that?”
“Uhh…I was playing football…and when someone tackled me, I tweaked my ankle.”
When really it was:
“I ran out of toilet paper…and made that awkward ‘pants around my ankles shuffle’ across the bathroom to get to the toilet paper cabinet and tripped and stubbed my toe against the wall.”
“Dude, what happened? Why are you walking weird?”
“Yeah, I was lifting weights at the gym…and just tried to do too much on the bench press.”
When really it was:
“Yeah, I really wanted some cookies….and couldn’t find them. So I got on my tippy toes to reach as high as I could in the cabinet to find them and it gave me a cramp in my back. I fell back and stretched a muscle in my back. But, I did get the cookies…and boy were they worth this pain.”
That has me thinking…do we still have those cookies somewhere? Better call an ambulance, just in case.