Do You Play Basketball?

I’m always puzzled at how to answer this question.  I don’t really play much though I like basketball, but I’m close to 40, and quite frankly, most people my age don’t play team sports anymore.  I mean, I played soccer and ultimate Frisbee a few years ago, and before that I played coed flag football, softball, and tennis.  The basketball question made more sense when I looked like I could still be in high school or college.  In fact I did play a few games of intramurals in college and in one game I had 16 points and about 8 rebounds.  But people always ask the question.  I am 6-5.

However, it’s startling to realize how many people think that height is the only attribute that matters in basketball.  That’s actually very insulting to basketball players — implying that the only reason for their success is their height.  Of course, all things being equal, the taller players will succeed more.  It’s just that there are so many other attributes that make a good basketball player.  Athleticism.  Agility. Coordination.  Endurance.  Jumping ability.  Basketball IQ.  I don’t have a lot of natural athletic skills, though I made myself into a Division III college tennis player and had a .750 record in a 4.5 rated tennis league at 31 a decade after I had stopped playing tennis in college.  But back to basketball – I tried out for the basketball team in high school and college, so I don’t have any regrets.

There were 1000 guys in my high school, so I would have had to be one of the top 15 out of 1000, (top 1.5%) and I wasn’t.  Then in college when I tried out, the coach said, “This is a very simple drill.  If you can’t run this (layup) drill right it either means you can’t do it or you don’t want to.  And either way it’s not too good.”

I didn’t run the drill right.

If someone says they would be great if they had my height, I usually say, ok, let’s play.  I have a hook shot that can’t be blocked.  (It may not go in, but it can’t be blocked).  But there are still people who occasionally say, “WHAT?? You didn’t play on your high school basketball team???”

Well, I did play on teams from the ages of 8-13 when I was average height.  After that, I was 5-6 in 9th grade, 5-10 in 10th, and 6-2 in 11th.  So it wasn’t until I was in 12th grade that I was particularly tall at 6-4 and 6-5, and by then it was a little late if you hadn’t been playing.  I spent all my time playing tennis because I thought it was my best chance to become a pro, and while I didn’t come close at that, I reached a much higher level than I ever would have in basketball.

What’s the point of all this?  I guess the point is that a lot of people don’t seem to realize that there is a lot more to basketball than height, though obviously all other things being equal, more height is better.  If it upsets you and surprises you that I don’t play basketball now or didn’t when I was younger, remember that I did try out in high school and college.  As for now, I don’t have the time.  However, if you still think that I should be playing, let me know, we’ll pick a time and place to play, and we’ll see how I’ll do against you or someone else.  I’ll play anybody, any place, any time (within reason).

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