In addition to increasing physical discomfort, we aging ballers must deal with another type of pain: shame. We are ashamed that we're not as good as we used to be. We are ashamed that our shorts are too short. We are ashamed of our 1987-model Reebok Pumps. We are ashamed to leave the court and go back to our "jobs." Most of all, we are ashamed that youngsters break our ankles, dunk on us and block our shots and then cheer wildly about it. Don't they know that if they played us when we were in our prime, we'd be the ones breaking ankles, dunking (ok, slapping the backboard) and blocking (ok, contesting)?
I read somewhere (Reader's Digest?) that the best way to deal with shame is to bring it out into the open. So let's share our most shameful moments. It'll be fun -- promise!
The worst one for me was missing a two-foot layup at the buzzer to lose a league game in New York. We were down one with a few seconds to go. The final play was not called for me, but our guy missed the shot, and by pure dumb luck, the rebound fell right into my hands directly under the basket. I didn't know how much time we had, panicked, and BRICKED it from point blank range. We actually won the league championship that season, but the game I choked was the only one we lost. I don't remember too many details from the season, but that moment is forever burned into my memory. Oh, did I mention that my girlfriend was at the game?
Another shameful moment was getting alley-oop dunked on to lose a pickup game. I think that it was game point both ways (i.e., next basket wins). I was guarding someone much bigger than me. All I remember is losing my man for literally a second, turning around and seeing him way up in the air, and then hearing the awful sound of a game-winning dunk. I was basically under the basket, which meant that I had gotten posterized in the final, climactic moment.
Alright, that was less fun than I thought. But since I wrote it, I''ll post it. What are you ashamed of?