Tag Archives: Basketball

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Some guys like cars.

Some guys like comic books.

Some guys like  gardening or even theater.

Many guys, however, like sports.

Me?

I was always somewhere in between.

Growing up, I was good at sports but I was more the lonesome, artsy kind of dude. I liked graffiti and visiting art museums on weekends.

To be honest, the male fixation with sports always confounded me.

Yeah, I watched the New York Mets if they made the World Series. I
knew the positions in football and even played it in middle school.

But for the longest time, I thought sports was a waste of time.

Couldn’t one be doing better things with one’s energy, both mentally
and physically?

I never understood the obsession.

Until recently, that is. And now I must say I totally get it.

The story starts this summer, when I came across a YouTube video of
Michael Jordan playing for the Bulls.

I remembered watching Jordan in the ’90s and the clip brought back exciting memories.

I had played basketball on and off when I was younger, so I decided
maybe I’d play again.

I bought a basketball as well as a biography of Jordan and I began practicing at the park. When that went well, I began playing with guys at my sports club.

Then I hit a hitch: I wasn’t really any good.

I had an OK jump shot and a decent handle on the ball, but I was 15 or 20 years out of practice.

It was frustrating.

Oddly enough, though, that’s when the joy of getting back into
basketball really began to kick up.

I came to learn the joy of getting better.

I began practicing hard – applying the kind of effort I had
applied to becoming a better writer, let’s say.

I began watching YouTube tutorials on how to improve my
game.

I started practicing moves and learning how to position my body
properly.

I looked up definitions of dozens of basketball terms.

Getting better at basketball made me like watching it on TV more.

I began to appreciate the nuances of the game. It wasn’t just about the ball going in!

Chad practicing his game. Photo by Caro Dzedzig

The more games I watched, the more I began to realize
that sports commentators weren’t full of hot air.

There is actual sense to their discussing which player is “better,” for example.

And perhaps what I liked most about my newfound hobby is how masculine it is.

When you find out someone plays basketball, you regard him as,
like, a dude. I like that.

Also, it’s difficult to call someone talking sports a sissy. In contrast, I might hesitate before telling a group of guys that I love Anton Chekhov’s play “The Seagull.”

I had been underestimating sports – how
intricate, cerebral and fascinating it could be.

I had also devalued just how much sports could increase my confidence as a man.

But I get it now. I’m 35 and I’ve finally just gotten it.

But better late than never, right?