my mind seems extra focused these past few days. kind of like when you take a telescope and look at the moon. details you didnt see there before pop out at you. im generally a good focuser (im sure thats a word, right?). this type of focus seems more fine tuned, like my focus got a tune up. not sure how else to describe it. if i win the lottery or predict the next tsunami (heaven forbid) we’ll know somethings up.
my fine tuned focus aside (if only for a moment), today treated me generally well. at least right up until the end.
i was the first one at the gym. i knew there was going to be trouble the moment i stepped on to the gym floor. rubber. i hate rubber floors! i know at least one of my torn up knees (that required surgery) was hurt on a rubber floor. ive rolled many an ankles playing on rubber. i can still remember the rubber burns id get on my body playing ‘first one to the ball’, where we dove for the basketball during a summer camp.
we had eight guys show. that meant no subs. only breaks we took were in between games for maybe a minute. i got tired. thats what happens i guess when you dont play any real games for a while. lesson learned. again. hopefully..
the guy who would guard me for most of the night was naked lark or larq or maybe even lairke. ill stick with lark. lark identified himself as a trash talker right away. the other guys smiled and one said to me ‘enjoy larks mouth’. boy, did he like to trash talk. dont get me wrong now, i have no problem with a little talk. heck, i usually initiate it because i enjoy it. makes the game a bit more interesting. problem here was that lark couldnt do much on the court. he was athletic and strong, but a shooter or dribbler he was not. kind of key to being good to basketball. kinda.
i planned on just coming out and playing some friendly ball with some older guys and build some connections in the community. passing the ball lots to make them like me(duh!) and score a few buckets to show them i wasnt some stiff. all good intentions come to an end, some more noble than others. mine died when i started listening to lark talk. and talk. and talk! nope, something had to be done. i was growing more and more annoyed with each passing word. so i did something. i went at him. hard.
now i can hear someone saying ‘be the bigger man, lucas and ignore it’.
the court can be a place to practice humility, i agree. not every time someone talks trash to me do i go full tilt with them. like i said before, i usually initiate it with others. especially my friends. this case was different. i was annoyed by it and to be honest, im pretty sure a lot of the other guys were too.
ok, enough justifying. it happened. it was fun. it worked!
coach oliver taught me something pretty valuable when he coached me at queens, besides respecting your coach and jumping to the ball. he taught me, and im sure lots of other players, how to box out your opponent well. if you box out your opponent well, youll have a better chance of getting the rebound. pretty simple stuff. this is where basketball starts to get physical. see, ive heard from far too many people that basketball is a soft sport. this simply isnt the case. i have had more concussions and more bruises playing basketball than in all my years playing football. most of the bruising coming from rebounding and bashing into other players in a calculated scramble for the ball.
lark liked to crash the boards and get rebounds. considering his inability to shoot or dribble this was a good idea on his part. only problem is that ive been brainwashed by my past coach to box guys out and do it in a physical manner so they reconsider next time if they want to try again. its perfectly legal but some guys dont like it. lark didnt like it. his quieted talk came roaring back to life after a particular box out where i bumped him pretty good. he got mad and started complaining about cheap play. i assured him that he was mistaken (in a polite way) but he would have nothing of it. my hand shakes were ignored as were my words. seems i just couldnt win with him. maybe next time.
while my run in with lark didnt go so well, the other guys were great. had the chance to talk with a few of them over the course of the night and most of them were really friendly and engaging, easy to talk with. many of them gave back to their community in halifax. i got chatting at the end of the night with one guy named doobie. doobie was on the other team all night. quick, aggressive player but smooth. we get to talking about what he does in halifax and he reels off a laundry list of jobs his does. all of them has something to do with helping the community. he was leaving the gym to head home for a quick shower before going to his job at a home for youths without other options. cool guy.
im lying here at home now, my back and knees sore from all the running, and a bag of frozen peas resting on my ankle. another roller ankle. chalk up another win for the rubber floor.