This ol body ain’t what it used to be.
I used to be pretty darn good at basketball. To the point where I felt like I could go play a pick-up game anywhere and hold my own at the very least. I was never a great shooter or dribbler, but I could always jump really high and played tough defense. And although my strength was perhaps only slightly above average, I felt like I knew how to use leverage and timing in such a way that allowed me an advantage in rebounding and driving to the basket.
Then 3 years ago I tore my ACL. This was the first time I had a moment of realization about aging. I did it while simply turning directions and jumping at the same time. Nobody touched me, I didn’t land funny. Just turned to jump, and snap. I had surgery and did physical therapy and all that fun stuff, but I didn’t try to play again until about a week ago.
Never have I been so depressed after doing a physical activity. Not only am I out of shape, which is one thing, but I was hesitant, slow, and generally just felt out of my league playing with these younger guys. Guys who I believe I would have taken to school 4 years ago. There was even a moment where I turned funny and my good knee experienced a little tweak. I mean what’s next? This? (don’t click if you are averse to seeing sports injuries)
I may have been expecting too much. Even if I hadn’t torn my ACL, taking a three year break from a sport and expecting to be just as good on your first day back is presumptuous. Especially since I haven’t been doing much of anything to stay in shape as of late, and am probably carrying about ten to fifteen extra pounds.
But still . . .
It’s that time for me to come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be as good at basketball as I was in my 20s. Those days are over. And because it was always a source of pleasure for me, it’s a hard thing to accept.
My wife tried to talk some sense into me. She said that I’ll just have to change the way I play. Challenge myself to find new ways to succeed. While there is some excitement in that, I’ll miss the days of leaping over everyone to grab a rebound.