The Has-Been

When I was a kid and through my earlier years in college, sports were a big part of my life. I started playing basketball in elementary school and developed a love for the game. There’s something about the competitiveness of the game that I’ve always loved. Being on the court– making quick, analytical decisions on whether to pass, shoot the jumper or take it to the hole– there’s nothing like it. 

While I wasn’t the next Michael Jordan, I was a pretty solid player during my high school years. After a debilitating ACL/LCL tear in my junior year, my varsity days were over. It was heartbreaking for me, as I was just getting used to seeing my name and stats in the local paper. On top of that, I felt like a part of my identity was stripped away. The really cool thing about competitive sports is that once you’re injured to the point of limited recovery, your coach and team treats you like a lame horse being prepped to be put down. For me, that was the worst feeling in the world. Going from Varsity Co-captain to injured nobody put a massive dent in my ego. So I stopped playing the sport I so dearly loved and became reduced to a spectator.

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This year in December, marks the 10 year anniversary of my first knee injury (I earned my second playing intramural volleyball in college, more on that later). Interestingly enough, I haven’t played ball since that fateful career killing night– until last Sunday. During Mother’s Day my parents came over from Monterey and we all gathered at my brother’s place to celebrate the day. It also happened to be the day after my sister-in-law’s graduation Being that both my brother and sister are now married, there was a ton of family coming from different parts of California. It was a full house to say the least. Since there was a basketball court in their community, my brother Zac, and my dad took out the teenage kids to shoot some hoops. I don’t know why, but I felt compelled to join them– skinny jeans, chucks and all.

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He loves me, I swear.

After spending the better part of a decade off the court, having the ball in my hands, dribbling in for the left-handed layup, felt like second nature to me. Now I must admit, being overweight, with the worst possible clothing choices and a bum knee was not exactly the smartest decision but I had so much fun! We ended up playing a couple rounds (my team won) the first time. Being as inactive as I’ve been for a while, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I stumbled back into my brother’s house, drenched in sweat, with my heart beating out of my chest, and heat rising out of my pores. Though I was half-joking, I told everyone I needed an ambulance. Being out of shape is a b*tch.

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Come the second round, I actually was able to hang in there longer, and it wasn’t as traumatic as the first. Though I’m only 5’5″, I kill it as a small guard. Boxing out and scoring off of rebounds is my specialty. I gave my 5’10” dad and 5’11” brother-in-law a run for their money, that’s for sure. Now I won’t lie, it took me a couple days to recover from that level of intensity– but I’m glad I went out there to play. I got a chance to reconnect with a part of me that I had left many years ago. I also got a chance to school some folks on the court (though my signature 3 point shot was way off, time to hit the gym). There, on that court, I found a renewed source of inspiration– and the realization that my fat ass needs to be a bit more active… 😉

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