Monday, June 22, 2009

Post Game Reflections of My 2nd "Official" Basketball Game

Yes, we got stomped again.

Even still though, I felt like my defense was finally getting dialed in. My man got through a few times, but I felt like I was much more focused and aggressive. I had significantly more playing time (due to having less substitutes) and I think having to work harder physically helps me to push through a wall and into a second wind.

Offensively I was still horrific though. I felt pressured and panicked and I couldn't get focused and make any plays. I even lost control of the ball when driving in off of a screen (I thought I was over that stage of ball-handling clumsiness). Even my passing was off!

Regarding the other team - they were fully loaded again and their star player (a 6'2" fairly muscular black guy) was freakin' dunking the ball! He was good on defense too - so good in fact that he would just guard the lane and yell to his team to "let him through" when one of our guys would drive in. Then his team mates would just sit back and watch him swat it away each time!

I/we still have a long way to go, but it was only our 3rd game and there is more than half of the season left. We have lost - no, we have gotten slaughtered in each of our 3 games, but for some reason I have hope that by the end of the season our individual skills, our stamina, and our teamwork will be much more improved.

I just hope everyone else on the team feels that way, lest they get discouraged from the losses.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Blessings from the Bus

I had to ride the bus to work again yesterday.

Admittedly, I have been in a bit of a negative funk lately (these spells come and go periodically). I can analyze the causes as being overly busy, under funded, improper health maintenance (lack of sleep and exercise), and on this day it was also encouraged by having to deal with a lack of transportation.

I was reading stuff for work as the bus transported me to it, but subconsciously I was also noticing the other passengers. One man got on and headed straight for the back. He had a few tattoos, was wearing a black muscle shirt, and had a mostly gray mustache.

He immediately started talking to another guy in the back that he recognized - about how he was attending anger management classes. Then he talked about how happy he was to have found a job yesterday as a telemarketer, since not many people want to hire him with his background (prison?). He also mentioned that he has another job opportunity running a jack-hammer on a construction site, but he's done it before and it can wreak havoc on your body - he would wake up in the middle of the night with the shakes, still feeling like he was running it. He also mentioned going to church on Sunday and how happy he was also happy to have bought a bicycle yesterday.

Another couple of passengers arrived now - a man with his 4-6 year old daughter. The man was thin, dressed in skater garb and had more tattoos than the first guy. He was holding his daughter's hand with one hand, and using a metal cane with the other. When they sat behind me, I could hear that he was really sweet on his daughter, just totally into being her dad. When he asked the other guys for a cigarette he ended up explaining to them about his injury. I think I heard him say that he had a titanium rod in his leg now. When he and his daughter reached their stop and he limped past me to leave, I could see that despite his attire and ink, he looked pretty weathered, and may have even been older than me.

These people sounded like they were good hearted - they had rough lives and were just trying to get by. I'm sure some of their problems were due to bad decisions, bad circumstances and/or their own personal demons/struggles. But whatever the reason, it seemed to me that these were the type of people that Jesus had the most compassion for - the humble and the broken. And it made me, with my bad mood due to such minor problems and grievances, feel totally blessed for the circumstances of my own life. Thank you God.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Post-Game Thoughts of My First Official Basketball Game

Since tonight will be my second ever official basketball game (with a ref, etc), I am posting my thoughts on the previous game that I played, in which we lost by a score of 89-33. That and because I just don't have time to organize my thoughts enough to post anything new right now.


I played ball twice at work this week (Monday and Wednesday), both times coming up with a decent amount of baskets, getting a decent amount of rebounds, playing some pretty decent defense, and not feeling too winded either. I was feeling pretty good going into this game.

Everything changed once both teams hit the court though. The best I can figure is this:

  • I’m usually one of the taller guys on the court. Not so tonight.
  • I got tired much quicker, despite the advantage of air conditioning and a nice court (I usually play on blacktop outside in the afternoon sun). I think it’s because a real game against unfamiliar opponents causes more stress and therefore much quicker energy drain.
  • I have told myself in the past that the main goal of playing basketball is to build relationships (with the guys on both teams), get some exercise, and have fun in the process. Getting better at playing the game and sometimes winning it are the two bonuses to the equation. I didn’t feel that way tonight though – I wanted to win, and once I realized that wasn’t going to happen then I wanted to at least figure them out and start playing a little catch up. Heck, they must be getting tired at least – right? I mean COME ON!!
  • I want to find the balance between wanting to compete and trying to have fun. I know both are possible together, but I think it ended up feeling more like a battle to me, instead of just a game. And losing a battle sucks a lot more than losing a game.
  • Part of me wants revenge. I want to watch tape of them, figure out their weaknesses, practice until our legs collapse and we’re throwing up, and then KICK THEIR ASSES next time. Or at the very least surprise them with a good run for their money. And the other part is saying “Damnit Mike, just relax, take a deep breath, and let it go…”
  • Those guys had height, they had strength, they had skills, they had endurance. And you can be damned well sure that they have played together before, perhaps for numerous seasons. They didn’t let up, didn’t slow down. They shot well, drove hard, and hit the boards hard. They were good, maybe even too good for this division.
  • We on the other hand, have just played our first game together as a team. I don’t know about anyone else, but that was the first time that I have played a real game (with a ref, a hardwood court, etc) at all. I think we have decent skills and aggression, and we should certainly be competitive. But we don’t have unity and team coordination yet, and all of our endurance can use some work. It will come though - I am all but certain of it.
  • Oh, and one more thing – COME ON REF! CAN MR. MAGOO GIVE US A FOUL ONCE IN A WHILE? Geesh.

It was a pleasure and honor to play with you guys today. Now I’m going to go drink some wine, eat some dark chocolate and be ready for practice on Saturday – starting between 8:30 and 9am at Diamond Oaks Park. look forward to seeing you all then. And please feel free to invite your wives and kids to play at the park there too. That way everyone in the family is happy with the idea.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Newborn Nuisance

This transition from 2 to 3 children has definitely been rough. Before Clara was born, I had just recently reestablished my priorities and had begun making more time for God and exercise. I was even going to bed at a more reasonable hour. Over the last month and a half though (since Clara joined us), it has all gone to pot.

In my head, I knew that this was coming. It was expected, yet it still sucks. We've had to deal with sleepless nights, thrush, acid reflux, bacterial infections, divided attentions, and the utter elimination of free time.

I haven't even had time to blog in a while, and now when I do it's nothing but whining. Things are beginning to improve a little bit though, so hopefully the next post will be better.

As you can see in the picture below, Clara really is a cute little baby- even with her crazy purple slimy alien mouth (due to the thrush medicine). And despite what this blog title may indicate, she really isn't a nuisance.

(Previously mentioned on Facebook): I think I have a great idea for a new weapon for the military is to develop - a super effective psychological one that they could air drop behind enemy lines. Ready for it?... Solar powered speaker boxes with super amplified, constantly looping playbacks of newborn babies crying. I almost guarantee that after about 1-2 hours of their mission it would demoralize the enemy to the point of their surrender.
counter stats