In the hope of sucking a bit more enjoyment out of my 43rd birthday, I followed my morning work out with a trip to Trotwood Park to get some shots up and maybe find a game. I found something, but even an hour later, I am not sure I would call it a game. To the extent it was a game, it was among the worst I have ever played in.
My teammates included a large, well built guy wearing sunglasses and a doo rag, a tall athletic guy missing double digit teeth, and a smaller athletic guy who announced he hadn’t played in three years. I hoped to facilitate a victory with my team-oriented play.
It was not to be. We fell 15-13, and the final score line was flatteringly deceptive. My teammates, or more accurately the three strangers who occupied the court with me, interspersed exactly five passes live ball passes into a cavalcade of contested three point shots.
Most possessions involved three guys standing well above the arc while I flashed into the post, or moved to set unused screens on and off the ball.
Defensively, we stood in front of our men until they actually moved at which point they were cut loose to do as they pleased. Anything resembling a screen caused rubix-cube confusion, and the release of a shot invoked a unique brand of paralysis.
The stagger-toothed wonder banked in two of his four made threes, and was involved in three protests over imaginary violations. He was, however, the only player on the team beside myself to cut off the ball. It happened once at half speed.
Captain doo rag, for all his strength, ventured into the lane once with an eight dribble back down of a smaller defender before missing a turnaround jumper, and was credited with one rebound.
And after his three year sabbatical, the third guy held himself scoreless while being shredded on defense.
I did not have fun. It was not basketball as I know it. It sucked, but it is the peril of playing at the park.