Today, I played basketball for the first time in many moons. And by “played basketball,” I mean seven of my friends and I competed in a half-court game to 21. We finished before we got through the Space Jam soundtrack – yes, we had a boombox, and yes, that was in it – and yet I was more exhausted than when I used to play full-court, legitimate games back in the day.
This got me thinking about how my fitness has changed over the years. In my youth, I was all about team sports that required short bursts of speed and some degree of coordination. I played indoor soccer starting in kindergarten, I took up softball for a few years starting in fourth grade, and I started playing outdoor soccer and basketball in middle school. Then, halfway through high school, I gave it all up for this long-distance running thing I seem to enjoy so much. Why?
1. I am accident-prone.
Once, during one of our middle school basketball practices, I was running back to the bench from the water fountain. I somehow managed to run full-speed into the wall of the gym, head-first. I gave myself a concussion. If I have this much trouble with stationary objects, imagine the disasters that can occur when you put me on a field or on a court with a bunch of other moving people.
2. I am genuinely not coordinated.
My mom thinks I have coordination problems because I technically have a lazy eye. My eye muscles correct it naturally; it just means my eye muscles on one side are always working harder than those on the other side. I’m not sure how this affects my coordination, but given the number of layups I missed today, I’d say it might.
3. I like my face.
Playing any sport with a ball and flailing limbs could lead to me breaking my nose or losing some teeth. I look pretty normal, and I’d like to keep it that way.
I managed to escape today’s game relatively unscathed. I have some nasty blisters that will feel nice as I start my marathon training tomorrow, and I nearly killed myself tripping over my bike, but other than that, I’m good. (Seriously, though – I tripped over my bike, which caused it to flip over so it was in my path again, and then I tripped over it a second time. See point #1.) The next time my friends try to get a game together, I think I’ll just keep the stats.