I sometimes forget that I am closer to sixty than to college. Sometimes this reminder comes on stronger than others. I'm not ready to admit my limitations yet, but the other night was a good example of the difference between my cerebral age and my actual physical abilities.
As part of our church's holiday party, we were allowed access to a gymnasium on the old Concordia College campus in Milwaukee. I'm told that the Milwaukee Bucks used to practice in this particular gym back in the early 70's when they won their championship. That statement piqued my interest knowing that I might be playing in the shadow of Kareem Abdul Jabbar - a long shadow indeed.
Anyway, I've determined that something in my brain snaps when I get in a gymnasium. I don't quite drool, but I feel an instant rush and a need to prove my basketball prowess. I was NEVER a good basketball player, but that didn't stop me from trying. People always assume with my height that I must be good.
Well, ya gotta shoot good too.
So after a half hour of random bucket shooting, I challenged Ben to a game of PIG. The game requires you to make the shot of your predecessor from the same spot, or suffer a letter. First one to spell PIG is out.
Ben and I are equally bad at hoops, I discovered, it must be a genetic defect of some sort. We struggled mightily and went back and forth. I decided to try a reverse layup, a bit trickier than a regular layup but nothing I haven't done a hundred times before.
As I approached the basket at top speed, my foot got caught underneath me.
This was the start of what seemed like a 3 minute fall. My ankle twisted and I landed hard on my butt, with limbs crashing all around me as I spun and fizzled. I broke my fall with my good shoulder and a shock wave went through my whole upper torso. My glasses fell off and skittered across the floor, as I narrowly missed landing on them. I lay there in an inglorious heap of humanity.
And the only thing I could think at the time was, "What is happening? It was only a simple reverse layup!"
Ben and a friend who witnessed the fall came rushing over and asked "Are you okay?"
I jumped up quickly, embarrassed by my ungainly shot, and said, "Yeah. Oww. I think so, yeah."
I went on to shoot a few more shots, but they were much tamer. To be truthful, I'm still a bit sore from the evening, some of it the result of the fall.
Now, in my defense, I was in bad sneakers, jeans and a long sleeve shirt, hardly the attire for a hoops star. But at the same time it was a humbling wake up call that I need to temper my enthusiasm and remember that I am closer to an AARP member than a Bucks practice squad member.
The hardest part is, I've always loved sports, ball sports or outdoor sports. So, I think I have to come to grips with the fact that I can't just go from 0 to 60 when I see a court like I could at 23.
Part of the issue though is recent effort to lose my winter weight. I have about 10 pounds to lose, which you may not see, but I do, and my clothes remind me.
The moral of the story is, while I've come to recognize my need to move in the winter months, maybe a better way to do it is to get a bike trainer, which I did. I've set it up upstairs and have used it the past couple of days. I feel better already, and chances are I won't break a hip putting my miles in. This makes my wife happier than crashing to the gym floor.