It was around 7.30pm; I was standing at my desk with the laptop bag on my shoulders and the duffle bag with my climbing gear hanging on the side. I was about to run the build and tests before I left for the night when they walked in. One of them had a basket ball. Curiosity speaks up, and our conversation went something like this…
me: Basket ball? Nice!
Marisa: Do you play?
me: Used to. Not anymore. Love the game though.
Marisa: Oh then you should play. We have a team game coming up, and we need more players.
me: How bad a player can the team tolerate? I haven’t played in a really long time, and even when I regularly played I wasn’t particularly good.
Marisa: Doesn’t matter. You are tall. Just wave your hands, and you should be fine.
me: Well then count me in.
Ever see someone dribble a ball navigating across 5 other people, leap and dunk the ball through the hoop? This game is the definition of cool; no wonder I was fascinated with it long before I started playing. I think it was the summer after the junior year; Rahul was a regular and he played everyday. One day he asked me to join him and so I did. While I was terrible at it, it did stop me from having fun. So I went back the next day, and the day after that and I ended up playing all summer. Our games were played on half court as we did not have enough people. This meant there was more of shooting and blocking, than dribbling. Naturally that’s whats been my weakest part of the game. I don’t take my eyes off the ball when I dribble, and this slows me down, and so I often end up passing the ball before I get an opportunity to shoot.
Once the semester started I joined our internal house (Agni) team to play in the inter college league, and over a lot of huffing and puffing, and hands on the hips I realized playing full court is a completely different ball game. Nevertheless I was part of the final team, and while we got our ass whooped thoroughly in the league (we ended up being last I think) it was a fun experience. While I still follow the game from time to time (was a Celtics fan, but I no longer root for any Boston teams) never really played since.
Game day. We managed to gather 10 people, so full court it was. We warm up, I shoot a few baskets, and it doesn’t feel completely alien. Good so far. And we get started… after 15 mins the it kind of felt like the court was unusually long; 15 more minutes and I started thinking how I was not a runner and 15 more minutes later I remembered why I did not continue playing after university. This game needs some serious stamina. Rest of the team was still going strong though, so we continued.
When it was my turn to shoot, it felt like the opposite team had 10 players trying to block me, and when it was my turn to cover, I felt like I was covering 5 people. Our captain did have to remind me multiple times that the I was leaving my cover open. Nice guy, never did yell at me though. So win there!
I think we played for around 90 minutes minus a short 10 minute break. Despite all the running, huffing and puffing, and overall being a terrible player, it was insanely fun to be back on the court. At this one time I had the ball, and I had two people in front of me from the other team; I did a fake moment to my right, then did a 360 degree turn to loose them, before I took the shot. Sure I missed the hoop, but the feeling you get when you try a move you only dreamed off; that feeling is pretty good.
I did manage to convince many of them to make this a biweekly thing. So definitely looking forward to being on the court more often. Until then, cheers to hoops and shots!
For this game we did end up having an audience, who were nice to click a few pictures.