Monday, June 21, 2010

Consolation Prize

What a weekend of camaraderie, sportsmanship (poor and otherwise), local travel, and frustration we had here at Central Standard. Our foray into the world of competitive rec league basketball left us with a realization that we really aren't as quick as we used to be, our Monkey is a good sport, and I play ball with a swell bunch of guys.

Saturday's first game, against a team of sub-21 year olds, was competitive for the first half, but young legs outlasted old (and no one was pantsed), and the wiser of the two teams lost by double digits. My legs and back held up, but our predicament was most likely summed up by one of our guards, who said to the opposing guard (and it was true), "I played against your dad in high school." It was disheartening, as well, when Monkey (a spectator at all three Saturday games) pointed out that any member of our team was old enough to have fathered any member of their team. Ick.

For game two, at 11:30, we had to drive to another high school gym. We played five games over the weekend, at three different venues. Fortunately, all of Saturday's games were nearby the Monkey House. The team we played for game two was not as young as our first opponents. They had at least a few players in their mid-20s. But, they were also faster and taller. Two players on this team were nearly a foot taller than any of our oldsters. Put those two things together, and you get a beat down. We lost by about thirty in the second game. We didn't even score until about ten minutes had elapsed. It was not pretty.

With what could be construed as mercy, we were not scheduled to play another game until 5:30. We were able to take a break, eat some lunch, help some friends move some furniture, and get some new socks, before heading back to play the first game of the 3rd place games. We had gone 0-2 in our pool, so we were seeded third in our pool and were slated to play a 3 seed from another pool. This was by far the most exciting game we played, not because of the competitiveness of the two teams, but because the team we played was full of whiners, cry babies, poor sports, and total dicks.

It began after a few minutes, with the old guys holding a slight lead. The opposition started arguing with each other. Then they began complaining to the refs that we were pushing them too much under the basket. They protested every call. They protested every non-call. They never shut up. We had them rattled, for sure.

One player in particular, in UCLA shorts and wearing some kind of new-fangled do rag, was particularly violent in his play. He first elbowed one of our best shooters, drawing blood and swelling his cheek. Our injured shooter was out of the game, and was unable to play the rest of the weekend. UCLA's next foul was on a three-point shot. As our old man released the ball, UCLA gave him a shot to the ribs. Our player took offense to that and flipped off the kid. I am not condoning such behavior, but such actions just shows the uncalled-for nature of this foul. Maybe the elbow was an accident, but a shot to the ribs on a jumper is not accident. The angry youth followed that up by tackling an old guy after losing a rebound. Our bench called for an ejection or a flagrant foul. Their bench continued to woof, and they were assessed a technical foul. While our player shot his fouls, the other team stood at mid-court and yelled at him. Good sports, huh?

When the game was over, we had taken their best shot (literally) and had won. It was a bittersweet victory. It was good to win, but I, personally, hated playing them. After the game, all but two of their players refused to come out and shake our hands. Two of our players got into a shouting match with their bench. I tried to drag our players away, but they wanted to beef, so I got out of their way. Nothing came of it, thank goodness, but I felt a bit embarrassed by our players, as they descended to the opposing team's immaturity. After all, we were the more mature team. I wanted us to act like it. Alas, all's well that ends well, eh?

Sunday, we found out that we would play two games. One game at 10:30, and then another at 11:30 if we won. The 11:30 game would be for the Bracket Three gold medal. Our first game started much later than 10:30, due to the pace of the two games played before ours. The trouble with that was that we had a 12:15 game scheduled with the other over-35 team to decide the medal for that bracket.

After a flurry of emails from our team organizers, the CSG powers that be decided to let us play out our original bracket. Of course, if we won our first game, we were going to stay and play our 11:30 game and forfeit the other, but we were worried that a late start would leave us unable to make a 12:15 game if we lost. Our focus, however was on the matter at hand. We had a game to play some time soon.

Once we got under way, we could tell that we were going to be able to run with our morning opponents. That had a mix of older and younger players (some of their guys could have qualified for our team, I think), but they had one whippersnapper who was quick and could shoot. We played a zone defense to eliminate his ability to cut to the basket, and we hit a few shots ourselves (even I hit a three). The game came down to free throws. We missed ours and they made theirs. As our last desperate three sailed past the rim, the buzzer sounded and we had lost 45-43. It was noon. We were at least twenty minutes away from the gym where we were supposed to play our amis ancien. The organizer at the site came over and told us that the other team and the refs would wait for us. We gathered up our stuff and hit the road, driving (basically) from one end of town to the other.

This final game was the most enjoyable game we played. The pace was more to our liking (i.e., slower), the opponents were adequate sportsmen (we were slapping each others' hands as we walked back and forth to the locker room at half time; we congratulated the opposition on good play), and we all took the game seriously, but not too seriously. In the end, after our old guys held the lead for the first thirty minutes, their old guys made a run that we couldn't answer. We got as close a three points with a minute to play, but we came up short at the end.

And, so, after going 1-4 over the weekend, we walked away with a silver medal. Not bad to have something to show for an exciting, at times frustrating, but, overall, excellent weekend of basketball. ATR's stat line for the weekend: points: 5; shots: 7; shots made: 2; shooting %: .287; 3pt shots: 3; three point shots made: 1; 3pt %: .333. Don't worry, I am not quitting my day job.

1 comment:

La Fashionista said...

Each of the games had a good story - sounds like the drama of that last game on Saturday was ridic. Way to bring what you got, Reda! I'm impressed.