I know this is super old, but I just found this draft just sitting, not uploaded, so I had to finish it up!
About a month before Easter, my old next door neighbor Rich who currently lives in LA called me to see if I wanted to play in a family basketball tournament over Easter weekend. It sounded like a good time so of course I accepted the invitation.
Now I expected this to just be a fun little family tournament. Maybe some 3 on 3 with a bunch of teams put together with the family. How wrong was I?
A few weeks later Rich calls me asking what number and name I want to be on my jersey. Jersey? We’re gonna have jerseys? It’s about now I realize that this is going to be a little bigger than a basketball tournament. He asked if I had been working on getting my stamina up for the tournament. Lo and behold, I find out we have over 10 people on our team and will be playing a 5 team round robin tournament at a park district in Glenview.
I will spare you the play by play details of each of the games (we finished 4-1 getting second place), but I will tell you a few things.
1. We are old…and old out of shape people get injured. Let’s go over the injuries from just our team: dislocated shoulder, dislocated finger, pulled groin, sprained finger, and the worst one…dislocated knee cap. Yes, I saw that happen. Easily one of the worst injuries I have seen in person.
2. I still got it. Now I will have to define “it”. The competitive drive that pushed me as a child is still in me. I was never a high flyer or a flashy player. I just always got the job done. Not to toot my own horn, but I did hit the game winner in one of the games. Ok, I’ll toot it a little.
3. Even though we are older, we are still the same. Playing with my brothers and my neighbors from back in the day absolutely brought me to a place I hadn’t even thought of in years. With all of the business of life…grown up life, it is sometimes easy to forget where you came from. And it’s not that you forget on purpose, it is just what life does to you. More pressing matters like careers and families and future come up and take up all your time and you tend to forget, even for just a moment, how things were when you were young. I realize that it is a part of life but for 5 hours on the Saturday before Easter I was back in that mindset.
Win at all costs.
Sacrifice for the team.
Leave it all on the court.
These are the lessons that I never knew I learned from the game of basketball. And when I was out there with my family, I realized they were not just lessons on the court, but they were lessons in my life.
I look at the generation after us, my nieces, nephews, and godchildren, and I hope they can take away the lessons of life through all they do, whether it be through sports, art, or music. Hopefully it won’t take them till they are in their 30s to realize it like me…but I will do my best to make sure they see it before then.