Basketball and Reclaiming your Old Glory

On thursday night, my plans evaporated and I was left with an open night.

I had no plans to work on client work, I had nothing immediate that I needed to attend to. It’s an odd feeling for me.

One of my friends had been telling me about a pick up basketball games that he attends with a group of guys every thursday night. I hadn’t been able to make it up up until this point, and I realized this might be my chance.

I played a lot of basketball up through middle school. It was one of the main things I did at recess through elementary, and I conquered the tryouts in middle school to make the roster. I doubt we won a game that year, but I was on the team!

I probaby hadn’t tried to shoot a basket in a year.

I know I hadn’t tried to play in at least 3.

I also hadn’t subjected my surgically repaired ACL to anything as high-impact as basketball since the surgery 7 years ago.

I was nervous about it. I am competitive, I would want to win. I am a perfectionist, and I knew that I would want to perform as well as I used to.

The more I thought about how much I didn’t want to be the worst person in this pickup game, the more I realized it was time to put my knee to the test.

So I played.

And I was bad.

And I definitely airballed my first attempt at a three-pointer.

And it took me a while to adjust to the fast pace of a game where a ball can fly at your face in a moment’s notice.

By the end of the night, I was exhausted. My lungs were telling me that they hadn’t been exerted like this in ages. But I was able to contribute to the team, though by no means was I a star.

It felt so good to be back at it. To be running up the court. To make plays happen. To see the ball settle through the hoop.

After we finished, I removed my knee brace and discovered that I had abused the joint more than I had realized. I wasn’t sore yet, but I could tell that the next day was a struggle.

It was.

I limped through my day Friday. My knee had swollen up and limited my mobility. I had to skip my training workout. I begged my Physical Therapist sister-in law to do an “emergency” check up, and was given some exercises to rebuild strength around my knee. It was a tough day, but ultimately I knew that I would be back to normal very soon.

The next day the swelling had dissapated and I made the decision to run the training run that was assigned to me.

5 miles. The furthest I’ve ever run in my life. I’m on my way towards running 15.5 (God willing)

My limp still has hung around a little today, though I’m not worried about it.

I can be a basketball player again.

I can run the full River Bank Run in a couple months.

I can be an overcompetitive person in a position to lose pickup games and be ok with it, because I know it’s just one training session on the way back to the excellence I expect from myself.

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