I've decided to play intramural basketball this year and I've assembled a team of nice, talented players. It wasn't an easy decision for me. I'm an untenured professor who should be spending his evenings slogging away at journal articles and class lectures. I'm also an aging baller with cottage cheese ankles and an ever-growing list of bodily creaks and cracks.
So why did I do it? Well, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I don't have many chances left to play competitive basketball. The other day I was telling a younger player about a shot I am developing this year (a fading turnaround jumper from the low post). He asked me why I was bothering. I told him that at my age, you lose something every year, so you have to add something to make up for it. He laughed, but I was dead serious. Every year I lose more and more: quickness, hops, strength, willingness to absorb contact, mental acuity. Eventually I won't be able to add enough each year to compensate. Next year I'll be worse than I am now. The year after that, worse still. So, I thought that if I am going to captain a team to a "title," I've only got a few shots left.
We'll see how it goes. We're playing in the competitive league, so our opponents will probably be pretty good. I've got some ringers on my team though, including a guy that played for our university (i.e., D1 skillz). My teammates, to a man, are unselfish, skilled, physically strong, and hardworking. We're called the Manhandlers for a reason.
First game is this coming Monday. If this is my last shot at glory, I'm ready for it.