Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rebel Without A Team: Love and Basketball Diaries of a Skinny Kid: The Andrew Parker Story

Tonight I tried out for the Red River College Rebels Men’s Basketball Team.

In some sort of twisted fantasy to test myself against a former version of me, I decided to go to the tryouts at RRC’s Notre Dame campus. Even if they offered me an intensely flattering starting position, I knew I wouldn’t have the time to play college basketball, but I really wanted to give it a try and evaluate my skills.

I haven’t played serious basketball since Grade 12, which (let’s be honest) was quite a while ago. So I was relieved that some abilities stick with you to an extent, although I felt pretty out of place coming in all skinny jeans and no muscles. There was way more people than I expected, so in spite of how I felt I looked, I knew standing out would be hard. Also, did you know that no one wears low-cut 6.0’s as basketball shoes? What a shock! Great shoes, but not a popular basketball model apparently.
See? Not playing basketball.
Did you see the kicks on #11? He's got nothing to prove!
So after the first half hour, things kicked off with straight games. 4 on 4, lots of action and one sub. I relaxed as things got going, and there were good and bad parts to my experience.

The worst was definitely getting my junk hit so hard I felt it necessary to go to the locker room to check for permanent damage (I think I’m fine, those things are resilient). Also, during the first few games, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable. Now I like going out and running a mile as much as the next kid, but I haven’t pushed it like that in a long time. I used to play whole games and hated getting subbed off, but now it looks like those days are behind me. I felt like I was suffering from pulmonary ventilonitis, which is a serious condition I made up at the time, in which your heart explodes into your trachea and murders you. Symptoms include tasting blood and wanting to pass out.

But in spite of that, I had fun. I made some buckets, blocks, and moves I was really proud of, some against guys bigger and stronger than me, and at the end I even wanted to keep going. Oh and the stronger thing? They made teams based on height, and I was the 4th tallest guy there… so I was matched against some hefty dudes!

In the end, the Rebels and I decided to part ways in the first round of cuts. And by that I mean they said “Hey- you’re not at this level!” and I said “Yeah, good decision.” So it’s not meant to be, and I’m OK with that. I’m happy how things went and how I played. Yes I made some mistakes, but that’s part of this experience. At least I didn’t get dunked on, right? And I stayed conscious the ENTIRE time.

Good luck this season Rebels, there’ll be some nice guys on that team. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go remember better times while I take a bath and drink hot cocoa out of a water bottle.
Grade 12 Provincial Champs! I'm the precocious one on the right.