Me: “Huh, that guy’s wearing a faded high school jersey.”
Friend: “It’s so faded it’s not even white anymore.”
Me: “Ha, yeah…”
While I laughed off the fact that the guy’s white jersey was more cream colour than white, seeing someone with a high school jersey during the recleague game last week did make feel a little bitter and disappointed with myself.
Let me explain by going back to 2001…
I had uncomfortably long hair for a guy, and I wore extremely baggy and wide shorts. Of course I thought I was the coolest and baddest on the block.
This was the 16 year old me.
There I was trying out for the high school basketball team amongst 30-40 others.
Here was basically a gym full of kids tossing the ball everywhere, and trying to do fancy dribbling moves.
(At the time, the And1 mixtape streetball culture was at it’s peak and I remember trying to be the most urban-suburban baller around. Doing all sorts of stupid moves. Many of them were the moves inspired by this memorable Nike commercial:
Of course, tryouts were less about fancy dribbles, and more about doing suicides and layup drills.
And when the tryouts finished I remember the coach mentioning something about a second wave tryouts and those who were called today would need to come back the next morning at 6 or 7 am. After being grouped with the ones to show up the next day, I was excited, but also dreaded the idea of waking up early.
And with that, my high school basketball career had ended before it even started.
I wish I could say I woke up the next morning giving it my best, and immediately made the team.
I wish I could tell you that from joining the team, I continued to play throughout the years learning how to play proper basketball.
I can’t unfortunately.
What I could tell you is that, I let being lazy take away whatever chances of doing anything unforgettable in my forgettable high school life.
I actually don’t regret much of my high school experience, but this one thing does bother me a little whenever I get a chance to reflect back. I let laziness rob the chance of me actually learning and playing the game at a competitive level.
Granted, who knows whether if I would have even made the team, but it’s something that I’ll never really know.
So when I saw the dude with the jersey, I really couldn’t help but think: What-if?
In terms of what transpired last week, there were some key changes throughout the course of the week.
My friend and I had been traded both to a new team!
Whenever a player gets traded in the NBA they always ask whom or what they got traded for.
Well for my friend and I, we were traded for… nothing…. Which seems fitting since both of us really have zero value.
Okay, I’m just being a drama queen here. We weren’t technically traded, they simply had to realign some of teams because a new full team joined. This allowed the two reject-teams (my previous team and now new team) to be combined together in to one bigger – but slightly less tired – reject-team.
Despite not actually being traded, I’ll pretend that I was and use that as a motivator or something. You know how MJ got cut from his HS team and became the Greatest of All Time ?
This will be my back story of how I became the greatest rec-league player known to man.
As for what happened on the court last week, our team did not fair too well despite the infusion of new blood. We ended up getting spanked: 32 to 10 (each basket counts as 1 point).
If my memory serves me well, I believe I attempted 4-5 shots and made zero (one of which was a free throw.)
I did dunk the ball though!
Oops sorry, I that must have been a typo, what I meant to write is, I did get dunked by the ball as there was a sequence where the ball smacked me right across the side of my mouth.
I believe we lost possession too. So not only did I get hit in the face, it didn’t even help the team.
Overall, it was a pathetic display of athletic prowess on my part, although I did have an excuse.
Going into the match the morning before, my right finger had swollen up to the size of my thumb. So basically, the only skill that I had in ball handling (now I use that term very loosely), was negated by the fact that my finger was wrapped with three bandages.
But of course that still doesn’t excuse the fact that I’m still terribly out of shape and was reaching for my shorts in no time.
In short, week two fared a bit better than week one, but not by too much. I did realize that I’m much less skilled than I was before, and my skills need to be sharpened up a little. I am hoping to find some time during the week to at least shoot around and practice some moves for next Monday, cause frankly it’s just embarrassing.
I won’t get into the details of the new roster, but I can only say that this team needs a bit of direction.
And in how things always link back to one thing or another, this is where I wished I had joined the high school team. Had I joined, I probably would have a bit more insight and confidence on how to lead a team. Or at least if I had a high school jersey, my new teammates would think:
“I’m not going to question the new guy, he has his own basketball jersey — he must know what he’s talking about.”
Okay, maybe not.
But I will try to contribute to this team beyond on the court. I really do think with a bit of direction and strategy, we can improve, and I’m willing to put in that little extra effort to make sure it happens.
Unlike the 16 year old version of me, I won’t let being lazy get in my way. I mean, I am making the sacrifice of ditching my wife and daughter to go out and play ball, so I have to make the most out of it.
And on that note, I think I’ve rambled far to much already.
Check back next week, where I will discover and share some other epiphany about my life regrets, and repressed memories etc…