Getting Old Sucks

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

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I love to play basketball. I’ve been playing since 1979.
Now, I normally play 2 times a week, however I’ve only played 1 once week for the past few weeks. I’m playing with guys that are half my age and younger.

Slow Reflexes

Tonight while at the gym, there was one play where I saw the ball bounce off the backboard. I proceeded to go get the rebound. The ball bounced low and bent down to secure it. And as I was extending my arm to grab the ball, a young guy reached down swiped the ball before I could even get a hand on it and took off running down the other side of the court.
I saw it and my brain was like go it, but this old body of mine was not quick enough. When you have plays like that which occur too often, then one must realize that I can’t do what I use to do.

Talking Trash

When I play basketball, I’m very competitive. So much so that I transform, I’m not really the same person. Also, I love to talk trash while playing. Since I’m the old guy, the young guys look at me just assume they can take me. Some can, some can’t.
I get into verbal battles with some guys. They may say, ‘This old man can’t guard me.’ When I hear that, I get determined. I start talking back.
I’ll say something like, ‘You can shoot. Or you have no left hand.’
Trash talking is a part of the game that’s mental, not physical. One of the goals of trash talking is to see if you can get your opponent to behave out of character; trying to bait them into doing something or taking a shoot that are not accustomed to.
Some guys start to exert too much power and energy and they become out of control, during a heated verbal exchange.
Also, you may discover others can’t take the trash talking, they get rattled and their performance starts to suffer.

Being Old has its Advantages

What some of the young guys don’t understand is the basics or fundamentals of basketball. For instance, many of the younger guys can jump really high, making it difficult for one to get a rebound.
However, you don’t ‘always’ have to jump high to get rebounds. If you box out properly, you can get rebounds even when guys are much bigger, stronger, and more athletic.
I became a student of the game while in the Air Force. While stationed in Incirlik AB Turkey, I met a guy, named Butch, who was a very good basketball player. The team he played on was consistently a tournament favorite. I believe he played college ball as well. On day he should me how to box out. What that means is how to position oneself against an opponent to secure the basketball when a shot is missed (rebound).
I learned that lesson as a 20 year old and I’ve never forgotten it. I continued to play for the next 29 years. It seems like the older I become the more I learn about the game of basketball. I also watch other people play to pick up on techniques. I’m always learning.
I remember 8 years ago, I took my son to a basketball clinic. The workouts were about hour and a half long sessions. Watching coaches train players is a great way to learn. I just sat and watched. I took notes and discovered that many of the drills being taught were the same that I witnessed the professionals perform in the NBA.
For instance, I saw the Euro Step being taught to 12 and 13 yr olds. For those who don’t know, the Euro Step is a technique in which a player is making a layup and he uses his two steps to change direction or avoid contact of a defender while making the layup. Take a look at footage of James Harden, Russell Westbrook, or Manu Ginobili as the make layups during an actual NBA game. You’ll likely see them perform the Euro Step.
I try to use my knowledge of the game that I’ve learn through out the years to my advantage, in order to compensate for my decreasing athletic ability (just a nice way of saying I’m getting old).

Just Plain Fun

All in all, I enjoy going to the gym and playing basketball. I enjoy the camaraderie among the guys. It is funny, I’ve seen some of these kids grow up to be young men. Also, there a few old guys that I’ve played with over 15 years ago.
A couple of days ago while at the gym, friend of mine asked me if I knew the one younger guys in the gym. He pointed him out, but I didn’t recognize him. My friend went on to say he was that guy’s guidance counselor 8 years ago in summer camp. The kid was around 12 yrs old at the time.
Now the young man is a freshman or sophomore in college. My friend said,
‘Man, I’m getting old.’
I just laughed because my friend is almost 30 yrs old. I thought to myself, I must really be old because I’ll be 50 yrs old in a few months.

Getting Old is no Reason to Quit

I hope to keep playing long after 50. Well that’s if my old body can take it. BTW, I need to stretch and get some ice for my knees, I’ve been sitting too long writing this post and I’m stiff! LOL

Tell Me You Story

Leave a comment and tell me your story of ‘What I used to be able to do.’
Thanks @pairmike

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