I play basketball in two different places- one is at a Men’s Club run in a gym by my house, and the other is at a public park a couple miles from where I live. I’m the youngest guy at the gym by about 10 years, but I’m not the most athletic, and certainly not even in the better half of the guys, so the competition there is good for me. At the park, my skill level is more appropriate to the crowd, though the games are usually just 3 on 3.
The main difference, though, is that in the gym, the offense calls the fouls, and at the park, defense calls the fouls. I find the defense-calls more honorable and a better way to play pickup basketball, whereas the offense-calls inevitably becomes petty, and dangerously aggressive if someone doesn’t like the call. Regardless of standard practice, I play defense-calls in both locations. This ultimately leads to complaints by my teammates for either calling a foul on myself that I could have gotten away with, or not calling a foul on someone else when I end up hip checked into the stage at the baseline of one end of the court. I don’t say much about it in either situation. I’m all for aggressive play, and I like that basketball is a contact sport, and I certainly don’t mind getting tossed around. I know I drive aggressively and I try to block shots and rebound with as much tenacity and fervor as I can muster on any given play. All that being said, the rules of basketball are what make it an interesting sport. If people didn’t follow the rules of dribbling the way they bend some of the other rules, we’d basically be sprinting up and down the court with the ball hugged to our chest and our shoulder lowered. There is a place for that.
I don’t appreciate or respect people who try to manipulate the rules for their advantage. People think I don’t like Tom Brady because he’s a Patriot and they’re a Boston team and I’m a New Yorker. It may partially be that reason, but mostly, every time I see this:
And the same goes for soccer. Do I hate soccer? No. But every time I see this:
I think that much less of soccer players and anyone who dedicates themselves or their free time to playing or watching this sport.
Whereas on the other hand, I play Ultimate Frisbee, which you can think whatever you want of, and it’s entirely self officiated. So basically, I deal with assholes like all of the above-mentioned, on a very frequent basis. I play as hard as I can, but I try to make calls as honorably as possible, and that is really what is most important to me. I try to be known around as one of the people who makes the most fair and balanced calls that I can. I guess there’s a lot of reasons why I try to play fair, but a good anecdote that I think of when I need a reason to remember to play fair (like when the other team’s players are making calls like they are a bunch of pantywaists) is from my third year of college. Our coach, Micah, played in the New England region and still coaches there today, and is known pretty well in the area as a nice, fair man.
We were in a tight game at a tournament called Lemony Fresh. It was the semi-finals, and as much our team’s fault as our opponents, things had gotten quite heated and there were a lot of calls (both good calls and bad ones) being made by both teams. Near the end of the game, one of the players on the other team intercepted the disc, but our player called a foul on him, negating the interception. Both players debated the call, and people were getting frustrated, and most of the people on the field started to argue. Suddenly, the captain of the other team (the kid who had made the interception), turns to Micah and says, ‘Micah, was it a foul?’ Micah says, ‘Yea, I believe you fouled him.’ The kid nods, throws the disc back to our team, and play continues. We went on to win the game and the tournament, but I can’t help but think of both Micah and the other kid when things start to get chippy and petty. The kid knew Micah to be an honest guy, and looked to him to make an honest call, which I think Micah did. But the kid also had enough respect of the game and the rules to admit that he was wrong, and go back to playing with as much tenacity as he had the whole game. I wish one ounce of either of their classy manliness could be injected into some of the old men I play ball with.
I love sports.
The Step- Show enough love of sports to play with some fucking class.
Have I Done It Yet- (Again, this is more of one of those, ‘continue throughout your life kind of things’, but all that is required of these is to keep trying) I’d say yea
This Author’s Total Man Points- 4.5