‘Basketball Jones’ still jonesing for game
By Joe Black | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I can still feel the ball rolling off my fingertips. My eyes follow the arc of the ball until it swishes cleanly through the net.
It’s been several months since my final basketball game and I still miss it dearly. For most of my life, I’ve been a “Basketball Jones.” If Cheech and Chong mean nothing to you, that might not mean anything to you either.
But to me it means that I love to play basketball. That I go to sleep at night thinking of a basketball game in which every shot goes in and maybe, oh maybe, I can dunk.
I used to play all of the time. Go back a little bit and you find me as part of lunch-time games every Tuesday and Thursday that my Mom swore would dictate when we held her funeral. A standing game on Sunday evening started with Dr. Ken Bell and I in probably 1982 and lasted until the current millenium.
Go back even further and you would find me traveling all over town, looking for the best game. Sandy Springs Park was the main place but games were to be found at Everett Park and at old school gyms all across the county. Mentor, Alynwick, Walland ... I knew ’em all.
I even used to head over to the Alcoa courts that used to be next to the Candy Store. I didn’t really fit in there but kids like Lester Whitted (maybe still the greatest all-around athlete I ever knew) and Dino Allen made sure I was welcome. It helped that I could hit the 3 and was well aware of how valuable an assist was in that setting.
I used to go by and pick up Dawn Marsh and take her around with me sometimes. Lots of games wouldn’t let a girl in the game but I made sure that she got in. And then she embarrassed them. Every time.
Current colleague Rebecca Myers Morris and I share some memories of similar circumstances.
She and I picked up a friend of hers and a local high school male player and sent a bunch of college guys here for the summer home in a huff (and with a loss). An old guy, two girls, and a couple of high school kids thumped ’em.
While at UT-Memphis, I worked in the gym at the Student Center which meant I could jump into a game pretty much anytime I wanted to. I’ve known days when I would play until the tips of my fingers would blister.
You might ask yourself what sane 59-year-old man loves basketball that much. Let me be the first to tell you — this one.
Let me back up a bit. I’ve told parts of this story before.
Back in the fall, I had some stomach problems that meant that I had to quit taking ibuprofen for several months. What I found was that without the ibuprofen, basketball was really brutal on my knees.
I can bike all day long without medical help but basketball is a different story. I think I’ve got a lot of years left on the bicycle but every year on the basketball court was borrowed.
So I hung up my basketball shoes. For good.
But every once in a while, I’d just like to get out there one more time. Hit the 3. Shoot the reverse layup from the back side. Experiences to build a dream on.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Write to him at (email@example.com)