Thursday, July 31, 2008

Putting to rest another part of my past

I've decided to put away my basketball sneakers for good.

Every summer, me and a bunch of guys I played high school basketball with play in a men's league. When we first started playing in this league right after high school, we were one of the best teams in it, and the overall competition level of this league is pretty high. We were the young guys. We ran teams out of the gym with our quickness and athleticism. This last season, we finished 1-9. The other teams aren't any better. We're just not as good as we used to be. Basically, we're getting old.

My play has deteriorated so much over the last couple of years that its amazing. I've lost half my quickness, most of my leaping ability, my ability to finish at the hoop in traffic, and finally I've lost my jumpshot. In 3 years time, I went from being one of the top guards in the entire league to being a guy you can leave wide open from the 3-point line all game. It's pathetic.

At 26 years old, all my past injuries and time spent standing on my feet at work has finally taken its toll on my legs. I can't be the player that I used to be. I can't even be a shadow of my former self. Basketball stopped being fun for me because I dissappoint myself every time I walk on the court. Therefore, I'm done playing.

It's OK. I had to grow up some time. I'm not a college kid anymore. I know I should be focusing on different things, such as becoming a better pharmacist and possibly starting a new relationship. However, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little sad by this. Basketball was such a huge part of my life ever since I was 7 years old. I feel like I'm walking away from a great friend.

I look at myself now, and I realize that there's almost nothing left of my former self. There's nothing left from those good college days. No girlfriend. No basketball. No more innocent idealism. My ties to my past are almost completely severed. I think I can finally say that I'm officially an adult. It kind of sucks, but I accept it.

Anyway... I was just thinking about how much things have changed in such a short time. I'm not saying change is a bad thing. It's just different (that's the point). I feel strangely optimistic about my future. Things haven't gone close to plan up until this point, but I have a feeling that a few years from now, I'll be looking back at all of this and saying it was all for a reason.


Anonymous said...

As a pharmacist that has given up on all past fun things to do, DONT GIVE UP ON BASKETBALL!! It seems to be good exercise for you and any movement as we get "older" is a good thing. You need to find a league where you all are the youngest again. Surely there are leagues with 40 somethings in it that you can whoop up on.

In a couple years when you really are OLD, you will wish you had kept up the activity. It's also a good stress breaker. Who knows, you may find the girl of your dreams at the basketball games. If your athletic, you may be being watched by someone already.

Keep the faith.


Anonymous said...

You shouldn't just give something up because you're not as good at it anymore. What kind of attitude is that? Just play for the intrinsic value of playing.

Anonymous said...

Instead of looking back, look forward. Do stuff you haven't done in the past, skydive, go bungee jumping. Live out your life.

Anonymous said...

Hey man, I read your blog from time to time, and I would have never thought you would give up hoopin. I am 32 and I still play, granted I can't dunk like I used too and I am not as fast, but once you start to act old, you are going to start to feel old. I have come to find that some women actually like a man who is athletic. You are too young to hang up your sneaks!

Anonymous said...

Where do I start? Where do I start? After I read the first line, my eyes popped out Tim Duncan style.

I really hope you don't quit balling. The problem isn't the fact that you are quitting basketball, but that how are you going to replace it? Really? If there's four things I know about you, it is: pharmacy, old girlfriend, Betty, basketball. If you find something to replace basketball, then it doesn't really matter. But I just don't think you'll find something like it for a while.

I'm surprised your jumpshot has gone down. Physical ability like running and jumping I can understand, but you're jumpshot is more skill than athleticism. I'm pretty sure you can afford a personal trainer. You should hire one and work on high intensity interval training and also weight lift more. You can still be good and "old" just like Tim Duncan and Ray Allen.

The saddest part about this post is how your job contributed to this deterioration. Personally, great health is one of the best things I have. I hope I will never have to sacrifice health for career or money.

Oh yea, crosstrain. Swimming/bicycling will keep you conditioned while you let your joints repair itself. I bet you have a lot of sprained ankles.

Anonymous said...

26 and too old to play basketball?!?! do what u enjoy doing, winning is not everything.

PharmJam said...

Just replace B-Ball with extra masturbation.

Anonymous said...

26 is too old to give up on physical exercise, and it sounds as if basketball used to be your favorite form.

Sure, the standing around all day on your feet kills the muscle strength and deadens desire to do much more than go home and eat chips in front of the TV.

As others have suggested, get your jogging, swimming, other muscle-conditioning before your shift--that, and support hosiery and a good pair of shoes will take care of legs.

Sounds like you're in a mindnumbing rut. Learning something new or different i.e. taking up a hobby or volunteering at a local school or other 'institution', taking a pharmacy-related career detour, moving to a different store, maybe taking advantage of psychotherapy or maybe an antidepressant etc. will take care of looking at things from a more constructive angle.

Get with it! Get going! Change wouldn't have to require major actions on your part, just 1) a change in attitude, 2) waking in the morning with vim. (I can say this with some authority as I have done it myself over the past several years, and way past middle age. What I would do if I were 26 again and not married!)

Pharmacy Mike said...

I never said I was giving up on physical activity. I'm just done with basketball.

I actually plan to get into pretty good shape again by running and lifting weights. I was always hesitant to lift weights while playing basketball because it always threw off my jumpshot. Now, I don't have to worry about that, so I'm free to lift as much as I want and do all the other kinds of conditioning I want.

I'm kind of excited about not playing ball anymore. I feel like a burden has been lifted. I don't have to worry about it anymore. Like I said, it's like giving up a huge part of my past, but it's necessary. I can't hold onto my past forever. The world and other people are changing all around me and I have to change with them, or else I'll be left behind.

Anonymous said...

It seems like you've become obsessed with the need to "grow up." Just live your life! Stop feeling like you have to conform to society's time line of what your life should be.

Anonymous said...

You're a loser dude. It's like you go out of your way to eliminate the things you like from your life. First your hot exgf. Now your giving up your favorite activity because you had a few rough games. Are you going to give up pharmacy too if screw up a single RX? Sure you have to accept that things are going to change over time, but it seems like you just give up on everything lately.

Anonymous said...

Mike, it is really starting to look like you're spiraling down into a depression that is progressively becoming more severe.
You should probably consider either going to therapy or starting on an antidepressant.
I guess I'm just trying to find a nicer way of telling you to FUCKING SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY!!!

Pharmacy Mike said...

I don't quite understand some of these responses...

I'm not at all depressed right now. I stopped playing basketball because it simply doesn't make me happy anymore. It's a source of stress because I'm not as good as I used to be, but I expect myself to be that good. Every time I play, I get pissed off at myself. Therefore, I'm walking away from it. That's all it is.

It's not some downward spiral. I'm just moving on and finding new ways to occupy myself. I guess it's also a conscientious effort to look forward instead of backward.

I don't think any of these things are bad. You can't go on living a life where you cling desperately to the past. Eventually, you just have to let it go. I can fondly remember it, but I no longer want it to define me.

Like I said, I'm somewhat optimistic about the future at the moment. I don't know how optimism can be construed as spiraling into depression.

Anonymous said...

running is indeed the best, nothing beats a runners high, not even oxycontin. you should train to run a marathon