Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Couch Pulls Out But I Don't

Last night marked another victory for the most fierce team in the Air Ball division of New York Urban Professionals Basketball League. My Couch Pulls Out But I Don't won our third game, making us 3-1 for the season. Yes, our team is called My Couch Pulls Out But I Don't, named by team captain Benjamin Cathers pictured above in the red trunks next to me. A source of both pride and shame, depending on the gender and age of whoever I'm telling it to, the name still makes me laugh every time I say it. 

What I found most fun about last night's game is that for once I was actually the Big Man compared to the other team. Normally I'm taller than everyone on the opposing team, but am usually out-muscled or simply out-massed by at least one or two shorter but stockier foes. Specifically, I have no ass, which makes it hard to box out someone with a larger derriere when rebounding. But last night there were no big butts or exceptionally broad shoulders, giving me free reign to grab rebounds in the paint. It's fun being tall sometimes.

I also got to feel like a tough guy. Dear friend and teammate Yoni had the ball inches from the sideline and was blatantly pushed out of bounds by a pudgy semi-thug frustrated by his lack of actual basketball skills. Yoni then complained to the ref, who had yet to blow a whistle, when suddenly the aforementioned pudge ball forcefully shoves Yoni and gets into rumble mode. Wanting to aid my friend and feel tough, I run to the scene and get in the idiot's face, exchanging some un-pleasantries and engaging in male posturing. My teammates held me back, the kid was kicked out, and we won by a very comfortable lead. I felt pretty badass. 

There is one development that both amuses and worries me... I think I'm becoming that old Jewish guy who grabs shirts and throws hidden elbows and knees into younger, more in-shape opponents! And it's fun! I'm still a good sport and not in the worst shape on the court, but I've found myself getting dirtier by the game, fouling hard early on to let the other team know I mean business. I hope to get in better shape so I don't need to resort to semi-foul play, but I think I'll always add a dash of dirty to keep things interesting. I remember hating those old, bony farts whose bodies were composed solely of sharp edges and calloused bones, who would grab your shirt in a fast break, trip you in the corner, and then be the first to call a foul on you at the slightest infraction. There was always at least one Old Man River on any given night at the JCC courts, and they always seemed to have so much fun. Now I know why.

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