Playing Organized Basketball After a Long Break

Last night, I did something I hadn’t attempted in about two and a half years.

I went into a gym and played in an actual organized basketball game. With officials and a scorekeeper and jerseys (okay, uniquely colored shirts) and everything.

This hadn’t happened since before the pandemic! I was very excited.

As we began warming up before the game, my shot felt terrible. I took this as a good sign. If I miss most of my shots in warmups, I tend to do incredibly well during the actual game, and vice-versa.

Well, that trend is no longer a real thing.

I did make a couple of layups, including a fancy play where I caught a teammate’s airball and made the basket right before the halftime buzzer.

But any jump shot was a clinic in inconsistency. I missed the rim entirely on a pair of jumpers. I hit the backboard and side of the rim on another. I made one.

And they all felt different coming out of my hands. I suppose that’s not unexpected after 2.5 years of not playing basketball, but it was still rough to experience.

Why does everything hurt?

Something I had forgotten about is how sore basketball games make me. About three minutes into the game, I was gasping for air like that brutal scene in Breaking Bad that involves a box cutter (not pictured here because it’s super violent).

If you’ve seen the show, you know what I’m talking about, and you probably just touched your throat to make sure everything was okay.

If you haven’t seen the show, the moral of the story is I’m WILDLY out of shape.

Our main goal for the day was “avoid injury,” and I didn’t even manage that.

With about five minutes to go in the game, I tried to go for a loose ball. This was a ball an opponent literally just dropped on the ground. There was no one nearby, so I went to pick up the ball.

Another opponent thought this was a fine time to sprint for the ball, and his head (or shoulder, or perhaps both) collided with the side of my face.

My ear was ringing for a good 45 minutes, and my face ached the entire ride home.

I do need to point out that this guy had a man bun, and not even a quality one. It’s the type you might try to do when you have about an inch of extra hair. I don’t like to cast judgment, but I’ve met very few trustworthy people with hairstyles like that.

In any case, it’s a mild concussion at worst, so I shall persevere.

Equally alarming, I have a nasty purple bruise under the nail of my big toe. That is among the nastiest places to get a bruise. They never bring that up in the “This Little Piggy” story, do they?

Despite my aches and pains, it was terrific to be back out on a basketball court. Maybe by the end of the season, I can run up and down without needing to beckon for a tank of oxygen to be wheeled into the gymnasium.

On a much more positive note, I’m going to get pizza tonight. I hope you find a similar joy during your weekend.