crime and punishment … on the basketball court

Two weeks ago, I played a league game of basketball.

Our basketball team is often the underdog. We’re not very practiced as a team or individually. Often, we only have just enough to play.

At this particular game, we started with six players, and one player decided he wasn’t able to finish and left. So we were five.

If you’re unfamiliar, that means we had no substitutes. The other team however, had about 90 subs. And they were giving us a good wallop.

Games are forty minutes, and around minute 30, yours truly was suffering from what we call, SuckingAtWind. It’s a syndrome that you get from getting older and out of shape.

Once Suckingatwind strikes, the ability to focus is compromised. Staying erect is often difficult. Movement and agility becomes retarded.

With the other team subbing in and out, and most of our team developing advanced symptoms of SuckingAtWind, the other team was beating us down with stolen balls and fast break turnovers.

At one point, we had possession of the ball, and I decided to aggressively take the ball to the basket by passing between two defensive guys. Drawing an opponent to you often frees up one of your teammates. Along the way, I was stripped of the ball, and when I looked up from passing though the two guys, another guy stood there waiting to take an offensive foul if I ran straight into him.

Since I had no ball, and he was in my way, I put both my arms up to shield myself, resulting in strong arming him to the ground. The ref didn’t call anything. The ball went of bounds, and we had possession again (somehow). The other team barked at me that I shouldn’t have pushed their player. And they kvetched that the ball should be theirs.

I fouled their player, they said.

I was playing dirty, they cried.

But the ref called it in our favor. Probably because he felt badly that the other team mopping up, and we didn’t have a chance.

We took the ball in bounds, and one of my teammates took a shot, and without bearings yet, boxed out one of their guys to go for the rebound. It’s completely legal, but their guy was screaming like a little girl that I hurt him. We scored the basket and we ran back to play defense.

Because the other team, in the heat of the battle, considered me as the object of their animosity, the point guard — a wee guy of about 5.3 feet, took the ball in bounds whispering something to his teammate, he waited for me to stop and position myself.

Then I saw him from all the way down court start running straight in my direction. He passed the first line of our defense, lowered his shoulder and slammed himself as hard as he could into my chest.

I think he even said, “Fuck you, dude.”

They called a foul on him. We got possession, and I got a bruised rib cage, chest area.

I get this kind of injury about once a season. It’s the worst. To lay down or get out of bed, I use the muscles that this guy bruised.

Every time I sit down, put on my coat, throw the ball with Lulah, I use this muscle.

It makes me wince or moan almost every time.

And it’s been two weeks.

Did I deserve for this guy to retaliate? To take matters in his own hands, and pretend he was the Batman of the Basketball court? He acted the vigilante.

And while he’s probably long forgotten it. I have a keepsake that reminds me every night when I get up to pee at 3 a.m.

Sex is trickier when your chest and abs are in this much pain.

When you are injured like this, your mind mulls every scenario that you could have gone through after the event. With this kind of injury, you have more reminders to return to that exact moment. What could I have done? Could I have seen it coming and turned away. Could I have lifted an elbow fast enough to pop the guy in the face as he rammed me?

Should I have approached him after the game and said, “I may have been an asshole, but your retaliation was uncalled for. I suggest watching your back tonight. I’m going to stalk you and beat you while you sleep?”

I mean, fuck, my chest hurts.

Or do I forgive him? Forget about it.

Contrary to some thought, I’m a nice guy. I gotta forget about it. Move on.

In the meantime, my chest hurts. But it’s weird to remember a moment two weeks ago that I otherwise would have forgotten if it weren’t for this injury.

Yesterday, I heard Veterans interviewed about how they remember 50 years ago with great clarity. It’s the same with people in love or in grief. The brain has an amazing way of sensory intensification with moments like these.

It kind of makes me want to get hurt every day, so I can remember everything better.

Otherwise, do you ever worry that your brain’s demise is so fast that remembering what you had for lunch yesterday is more difficult than getting hurt when you were a teen?


Australian Prime Minister launches Royal Commission into sexual abuse claims

November 12, 2012 on ABC News:

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced the creation of a national royal commission into institutional responses to instances of child sexual abuse.

The decision was taken at a meeting of federal cabinet this afternoon.

Ms Gillard had been under pressure to act following growing calls for a national inquiry into explosive allegations by a senior New South Wales police investigator that the Catholic Church covered up evidence involving paedophile priests.

A number of senior Labor MPs, as well as key independents, had already voiced their support for action on a national scale.

Read more

Via AM