The attraction of physical exercise has always been a bit of mystery to me. Why run when you can leisurely stroll? Why do sit ups when you can just sit? Why use a giant pole to fling yourself over another giant pole when you can hang out?
But recently I have rediscovered the joy of basketball. Joy, you ask? Yes, joy. For when I was in high school I played two seasons of basketball with some friends who were equally as uncoordinated as me and we had a frickin’ blast. Mostly I guess it was the things other than basketball that made those times awesome. The retro mixed candy sold at the canteen, the semi see-through shirts, the older male dreamy referees and the wooden seats outside where we would talk about said boys.
The J-man and I have been shooting hoops at a park across the road from our block of flats. That’s all we really do, just shoot hoops, run a little and commentate like it’s the NBA. After only a couple of sessions it’s also provided some fun interaction with the human race, which I’m not totally used to as most of my time is spent at home watching Masterchef and admiring Matt Preston’s cravats. My favourite is Pauline.
Yesterday as we walked to the park with our freshly pumped up ball, J-man started doing a bunch of tricks like bouncing it between his legs and pretending to shoot, all the while completely unaware a group of roughed-up council workers were watching him. As they walked past us they all chuckled and tried to take the ball, making the ol’ J blush like a lady.
Today I hooped it solo (do you think that’s how they would say it on the street?) At one point, as I’ve grown used to, I totally missed the shot. Like way off. Even over the sound of Tegan and Sara – my equivalent of Eye of the Tiger – blasting on my iPod, I heard an old man who had seen everything yell out to me.
He came over and said: “Have you ever watched the champions play?” Stupidly thinking he was referring to a team, I said: “No.” So this old fella took the ball from me, put his wrinkly fingers on its surface and demonstrated how to give it a little spin. “Have a go,” he said. So I did and in the ball went with a satisfying swish.
And without saying a word, he walked away.