I've got two fairly brief bonus blogs for everyone this weekend. As I went to bed last night, on accident, before 11pm, I am now up way too early for a Saturday. Due to this, I decided to write about our team's Men's League Basketball game last night in Sacramento.
Our team is comprised of seven guys:
- 2 former college players
- 2 former high school players (I was recruited for college but never played)
- 3 people who play recreationally and are solid players
Anyway, we lost last week in our first game 55-53 on a last second tip in. This week we were ready to play (and realistically, the team we played against was a lot worse.) We jumped out to a 26-6 halftime lead. I was worried about a bit of a let down in the second half, and while we probably did not play as well as the first (c'mon, we're getting older!) we held our ground and still won by 20 or more points.
But here's my complaint. Every good coach I've ever had has told me not to swat at the ball once the defense has rebounded it- instead just run back on defense. The reason being, you rarely get a steal, and more likely you will just foul the rebounder or get hurt. Well, trouble loves to find the 6'6" guy on the court, right? I rebounded the ball, had two guys swatting at it. I was put the ball under my chin like any good player would do, and I looked for an open passing lane.
As I was passing the ball, one of the guys put his face right below my elbow. As my elbow was coming down from the pass, it clocked him square in the face. I 100% swear on my music career that I had no intention of hurting this guy, but his face got hit with all of the momentum. I don't know how to explain it scientifically, but you know the feeling when you hit a baseball on the "sweet spot" of the bat? It's like your hands don't even feel the ball getting pummeled. Well, that's what happened, my elbow felt nothing and this guy's took the full force.
Once again, I'd like to stress that I'm not bragging about this. In my younger days I was definitely a physical player, but I never had intentions of hurting people or hitting them in the face. My main point in explaining the whole scenario is that 1) there's no way I was apologizing because it's his own fault for being stupid, trying to swat at the ball, and putting his face inches away from my elbow and 2) I was immediately a marked man on the court.
I actually got the ball back running down the court on the same play and one of the other players took a swipe at me with an elbow and missed. I could feel that target on my back. There were only 5 minutes or so left in the game, and I'm sure it didn't help their temper that we were annihilating them in the actual basketball game.
The guy who had faced my elbow checked back in the game with about a minute left. I figured he was coming after me, but really, what was he going to do? There was only a minute left, so I became less worried about it. Big mistake. We were taking the ball out, and I was in the backcourt seeing if I needed to take the inbound pass. When the ball was thrown further up court I began turning to look for where the ball went. BOOM! That is when all the air in my ribcage left me.
Clearly bitter about before decided to level me NHL '94 (for the Super Nintendo) style. I had none of my muscles tensed and this guy leveled me with his shoulder. I was on the ground as his shoulder met with the bottom of my ribs and stomach, square in the center. I'm serious, Roy Williams (formally of the Dallas Cowboys) would have been proud of this guy's hit.
The worst part is, the refs didn't see it. There are two officials and neither one saw it. So I'm laying on the ground out of air- and finally the ref sees me and I'm yelling (gasping?) at him, "Are you kidding me? Did you not just see that bullshit?" At this point, I'm happy I was on the other side of the court from where all the kids were sitting because I'm certain I said some very inappropriate things as I walked off the court.
The refs ended up calling the game with 14 seconds left because it was clear the game was over and the only thing left was for someone else to take a cheap shot. I suppose the moral of the story is that I hate people who do stupid stuff (like putting your face next to my elbow when I legal right to protect myself and the ball) then blame someone else when something bad happens to them.
At the end, he went straight back to his bench and didn't shake anyone's hand on our team. That didn't stop me from going over into his team's area, giving him a disgruntled (and mean) five, tapping him in the chest and saying "Good game, buddy. Way to play out there." By no means was it meant to be sportsman-like. In fact, we're going to mop the floor with that team when we play them again- not in a cheap shot way, just in a "we are way better than you in basketball" way.