Had an earlyish game of Basketball last night due to our team making the finals (wooot). The competition is "Male Over 30's" and at 36 I'd be probably one of the younger players in the competition. This might foolishly make some people think that the games are a bit of a friendly doddle and a chance for the older gents to have a run around and enjoy some healthy competition. Oh how wrong you would be. Weekly you see people going absolutely "postal" on the court and you better believe they are playing for sheep-stations. It's high stakes to EVERYONE who isn't me it seems. I'm there because I was always pretty good at Basketball and because it gets me out of the house and doing a bit of exercise (because..you know...I don't do enough already :) ).
Anyway, last night was as brutal as I have experienced it. I've seen other guys in our team as well as other teams players get pushy and shovey when it gets near the end of the second half and the scores are either really close or so far apart the losing team isn't interested in playing anymore and just wants to fight. Tonight the scores were REALLY close the whole game with the lead chopping and changing regularly. However, the team we were playing we affectionately call the "Tattoo Mafia" because nearly all of them are covered in Tat's and if they feel the slightest bit threatened they get really physical. I copped the brunt of this twice. I was playing quite well in the center (As I was the tallest on our team), I won the tap at the start of the game (insert mental image of me flexing!) and was converting a lot of passes to me at the post into baskets. After a while the other teams center player must have realised that he was getting owned by me on just about every occasion that we went toe-to-toe. So he decided that rather than go for the ball he'd go for my head...with a clenched fist. I got passed the ball near the top of the key, I spun left and dribbled past one guy and start my "2 steps" to lay the ball up to the basket ....1......2.....POW!! Some one pounds me in the back of the head. I'm seeing stars and spots and everything .. I collapse on the ground under the force of the blow and hear the whistle blow for a foul. I roll over and look up and 3 of my team are pushing the other teams big center player away from the huddle of players that is forming. He's staring at me like I just killed his dog...So I guessed it was him who punched me. I got 2 shots from the foul line for my trouble and another 2 for a "Technical" foul because he'd punched me...which "Technically" isn't allowed in Basketball. As a testament to my awesome skills, I got all 4 shots in. ALL OF THEM. I think we need to pause here and reflect on that brilliant achievement ...
So the game starts up again and continues on the same way..lead changing over and over. The opposition had very little luck driving or passing the ball to anywhere near the basket and were relying on 3-point bombs for their chances. Frustratingly, they had this one guy who never seemed to miss them. He'd just hang around the three point line and do nothing else offensively...then the ball would work it's way to him and he'd put up a 3pt shot..we'd all watch the ball arc in the air and "swish" ... GOD DAMN HIM. I reckon he got about 8 or 9 of them in..well over 1/2 their score. Anyway, there is a few minutes to go and I have so far not had a rest so am getting a bit tired. I have been getting a few good rebounds and even blocked a few shots. This again angers Mr. Opposition Center Player who decides again that the best offense against me is still not skill but punching me in the head. On this occasion they have put up a shot and missed, I've launched myself skywards to grab the rebound...got it....landed, turned around to be greeted by their center player who, calm as calm, raises his arm and presents me with a fist right into the left eye socket. Now I wear glasses while playing and for someone to even consider punching someone with glasses..IN THE EYE NO LESS...is really several kilometers away from the coolest spot in Cooltown. Again, I go down to the floor clutching my face. He'd got me a beauty and I was really spinning in "Did someone get the number of that truck??" land. The umpiring at this venue is usually of such a poor standard that this type of "Foul" would need a discussion to determine if the version of the rules used in our division allowed for punching to the head as a legitimate tactic. Fortunately, it seems that it wasn't and Mr. "I can't beat you so I'll BEAT YOU!!" Center Guy gets told to leave the stadium and is promptly ejected. Mind you he's still complaining that what he did was an "Accident" and that the Refs should just "Let the game flow" ..... Tosser.
The game ends with us scoring 31 and them scoring 34 ..... so sadly, and rather unfairly, only the "moral" victory is ours. The moral victory was that "People who are really, really, really, ridiculously good looking and have skill will always triumph over short, fat guys with Tattoo's of motorbikes, strippers and flaming skulls who can only throw punches ... at least in Basketball".
After the game I saw the first aid guy at the venue because I had taken 2 rather hard blows to the head during the last hour and was still a bit "woozy". He said that I wasn't concussed and I should go home and rest. So I went home and had a shower it's then that I noticed that I had had huge chunks of flesh gouged out of my arms and hands during the game also...I looked like I'd fell off a mountain bike and rolled down the side of a mountain (fortunately not breaking my shoulders in the process). Soap and hot water on open wounds is not the best way to end the day. I had a quick Scrabby check but all games were in limbo due to Rach having to "work" a bit last night in order to come to Melbourne soon (YAY!!). We had a quick chat but the "Woozy" was still with me so I decided to go to bed.
During the night I just couldn't stay asleep, my legs were absolutely aching and no matter how I lay or positioned myself they continued to do so. Seems my abundant physical exertion over the last few weeks is catching up with me. So here I am sitting at my desk at work at the crazy hour of 7:45am .... at least the Managing Director saw me walking in and I saw him check his watch...browny points for me :)