Below the Rim
Every time I play pick-up basketball I am reminded that I should never play pick-up basketball. I am only 22 years old, but I have the vertical jump of a recently deceased sloth. If I had to describe myself using movie titles, I feel like "White Men Can't Jump" would sum me up pretty well. But then again, I’m not even sure if I deserve to even be mentioned in the same sentence as jumping
Being the worst basketball player on every single basketball team I have ever been on doesn’t really upset me. I recognize that they only screen I’ll ever be comfortable with is the computer screen. I recognize that the only moment of basketball glory I will ever have is posterizing my future children. One of the few reasons I even want to have children is so that I can dunk on them on like a six foot goal. For once in my life, I just want to feel like Mike.
Most people don’t actually realize how it is being the worst player on every single basketball team they have ever been on.
Here is how every single pick-up basketball game I have ever played happens:
Stage One -- Pre-Game: I usually spend my pre-game looking for the slowest, weakest person to guard. I quickly realize that I am the slowest, weakest person that is on the court. Shit. I then find the second slowest, weakest player to guard. Unfortunately for me, whoever I guard will still clearly be a better basketball player than I will ever be.
Most Common Thoughts During Pre-Game “Dammit, I’m the fat one again.” “I hope to God, I don’t have to be skins this game.”
Stage Two –Beginning of The Game: Even at the early stages of the game, everyone on my team realizes that I am a horrible basketball player. That’s fine. I only play pick-up basketball for the exercise and so I’m not lying when I post things like #GettingExercise on Twitter so that women will know that I’m a physically active sex machine.
I don’t really do a whole lot in the early stages of the game. I just run around in circles hoping that I will get to touch the ball so I can pass it to a more skilled player. Would it be lame to say that I count assists in pick-up basketball? I know it is, but when you’re on my basketball skill level, you have to try and measure every positive thing you do on the court. I also count how many successful screens I set. I’ve also noticed that my screens are way more effective when I’m on skins because people will do everything to avoid rubbing against my sweaty, hairy body.
Most Common Thoughts During the Beginning of the Game: “Count another assist for John Stockton 2.0.” “God, I just set an amazing screen. My teammate grade is at least a C + right now.”
Stage Three – Middle of the Game: By this point of the game, everyone is beginning to get a little tired—especially me. In lieu of playing actual defense, I scream gibberish and/or profanities at the person I’m guarding while he’s taking his shot. At this point of the game, I’m not actually physically able to play defense because the person that has the fortune of matching up with me is already taking his shot while I’m still running down the court to play defense.
Usually at this point of the game, I’ll somehow manage to get a couple of offensive rebounds. The average basketball player would be able to easily convert the offensive rebound into points by simply laying the ball into the basket. I normally react to getting offensive rebounds by somehow throwing the ball over the basket.
The middle of the game is normally where I will attempt to shoot three pointers. Every bad basketball player LOVES taking three pointers. This is for two reasons. The first reason is that we’re not nearly athletic or coordinated enough to actually drive towards the basket. The second reason is that three points is more than two points.This is math that I can actually handle.
Terrible players always will take three pointers when they are able to. Personally, I like to take around seven three pointers in a standard game of 21. This makes me a massive asshole because I manage to actually hit between 0-1 three pointers a game. But God, the feeling of actually hitting a three pointer is worth the hatred of the other four people on your team. But normally, I will miss so badly that one of my other teammates will catch my airball and manage to still put it in the basket. I definitely count those as assists.
Normally, I will hit one three pointer during this stage and that will be all I score for that game.
Most Common Thoughts During the Middle of The Game: “I just hit a three pointer! Maybe I am good at basketball! All my doubters are just assholes.” ,“I just missed three three-pointers in a row and I think one of my teammates wants to assault me.” , “I need to start Weight Watchers.”
Stage Four –End of Game: Out of respect to my teammates and the game of basketball, I will immediately pass the ball to a teammate if I manage to get my hands on the ball. By this point I am crawling up and down the court. My only purpose at this point is to serve as a useful step ladder for all the short guys who want to attempt to dunk. I put up no useful stats in the later stages of the game, but I do provide a hearty self-esteem boost to my teammates who just experienced another loss in pick-up basketball because the guy I was supposed to be guarding scored the game winning basket.
Most Common Thoughts During the End of The Game: “I NEED WATER; IT’S LIKE A DESERT IN MY MOUTH.” , “My knees are burning!”, “I think one of my teammates just threatened to murder me.”
Stage Five – Post Game
I go to McDonalds and cry into a McDouble.