I’m a little shocked that I am upright and able to walk today.

You see, L’s coaches cancelled their practice last night and decided to have a loose shoot-around/scrimmage. I took L then hung around in case they wrapped up early. The coach, who I’ve coached with four different times, roped me into the fun.

We started with a game of knockout that included everyone in the gym: our team, a girl from the B team who was there, a younger brother, plus three parents and one grandparent. L made sure she was behind me in line and knocked me out our second time through. Afterward it felt like I had pulled something in my glute area. That’s a classic 50-year-old man injury right there: “Yeah, I pulled a glute playing knockout with my 13-year-old. Happens more than you would think…”

After knockout the coach said we were going to scrimmage. Three parents, the B team girl, and the sixth grade brother against the A team. Grandpa was going to watch from the sidelines. That was the smartest move of the night.

Over the next 45 minutes we went up-and-down and did our best to get our girls to stop giggling and actually run their offense.

I was soaked and thoroughly winded after about four trips up the court. L even told me I looked “gross” because my shirt was so sweaty. We scrimmaged with the girls a few times last fall and I’m on a better cardio workout regimen now than I was then. Yet I felt like I had never played before. That glute was tight. I dared not sprint for fear of blowing out an achilles, hamstring, or really anything below my hips. Each time I wiped the sweat from my eyes I was reminded that I had cut up an onion while I was making dinner.

In short, I was a mess.

I was having a good day with my vertigo – which still pops up a few times a week – but, man, it was hard running and rapidly change my point of focus. I never felt dizzy but my vision wasn’t the greatest. I also was trying my best not to kill any of the girls by barreling into them.

I kept getting inside for offensive rebounds then missing the put-backs. Grandpa, who has also coached with me a few times in the past, loved it. After we were done he came over, cackling, telling L, “Now I know where you get it, missing all those layups!”

I got sick of missing bunnies and jumpers so started posting up. When I hit my third-straight turnaround jumper the other dad playing started yelling, “THAT’S HOW THE KANSAS JAYHAWKS DO IT!!!” He’s a Purdue guy so I appreciated his appreciation.

I would tell you I also made some sweet passes, but since the team has no idea how to play help defense or watch the ball and their man, I can’t really take credit for them. The passes were there if you were willing to throw them.

When we were finished all us adults were complaining while we hobbled out of the gym. But the girls were all laughing and having a great time. I guess you call that a success. We agreed to invite the other team parents to join us for a parents vs. kid scrimmage while we are in our three-week lull.

I felt awful when I got home. After watching baseball for an hour or so it was really difficult to get up off of the couch. I dreaded how I would feel this morning.

Yet when I woke up I didn’t feel much worse than any other morning. I even made it to the gym and got my regular workout in. There is some tightness, but no soreness, which is amazing. I guess all that gym time is paying off.

Anyway, all of that, and sharing it with you, reminded me of back in the spring of 1998, when I had just started at C Corp. I had a lot of free time as my bosses were slowly figuring out what to do with me. All of the guys in Finance would often go play basketball at lunch on Fridays at the campus gym. On days when I played well, with nothing to do between 1:00 and 5:00, I would send braggy, slightly exaggerated email accounts of my efforts to my friends. The kind of shit I would post here if I was still out playing lunch hoops and having one good day a month.

One of those buddies, E$, made fun of me once by sending an account of his lunch in the style of my hoops breakdowns. I thought of it last night. Lucky for us all, I have saved that email for over 23 years. I don’t know if this will resonate with you at all, but it made me laugh my ass off. It’s a real shame I don’t have one of my hoops emails so you can see what inspired E$ to mock me.

Here is that email, sent to me on June 19, 1998.

I thought I would share some details from my lunch today. I was a little worried that I would be dining alone, but then Doug, an old buddy from law school, e-mailed and said he could make it. I was stoked. Unfortunately I got wrapped up in my work and almost was late. Doug wouldn’t have liked that. On my way there, I felt pretty good. I had a spring in my step. Both ankles and knees felt great. I was a little hungry, but not starving.

As I approached, I pondered what I might get. Due to stomach trouble, I haven’t been able to eat up to my potential lately. I was torn between four choices: the southern style, a large turkey sandwich, quarter chicken, or rib sandwich. I was feeling more carnivorous that usual, so I went with the rib sandwich. As Doug and I discussed the events of the day, I began sweating with anticipation. Would I be able to complete the mission? Would I be my old self? Would I finish the rib sandwich? When the order was brought to our table, I noticed that the ribs were even bigger than usual. I had my work cut out for me. I dug in with a vengeance. I drove hard into the pickles, posted up the wonder bread and put a sweat move on the sauce. I felt good and I was kicking ass. Within five minutes I new I was back to my old form. I finished the rib sandwich in less than fifteen minutes and had time to really enjoy my side of Cole slaw. I kicked everyone’s ass. No one ate as fast, or as much, as me today.

It was great. I now understand why I am continually drawn to the table. It’s where I belong. It’s my true love. It’s my destiny. As my uncle Leon used to say – eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.


Peace, indeed.