triple reverse-discriminated against during a game of pickup bball. Since I'm trying to mix up the workout routine (4 different activities this week alone, thanks for the tips), I decided to revisit the scene of the crime today at lunch.
When I rolled in, the usual suspects (ie: those very same Asian guys) were there, shooting around. One very cock diesel [pause] black dude was also shooting, so as we picked teams, as was expected that they split the black dudes up, one per team. There is a quota to fill here, obviously.
I am put on a team with 3 Asian guys that I don't know during the first game, vs the other Asians (that I remember from last time) and the cock diesel [pause again] black guy. To save myself from writing any future [pauses], we'll just call this guy Olden Polynice, since he looks and sounds like the former Haitian NBA journeyman (pictured above, in case you're clueless).
Anyways, we predictably get thumped in the first game. Badly, I mean, it was like 15-4. Just like the prior game, I scored nearly all of my team's points, off my usual assortment of flip shots and putbacks. But we lost, which really sucks. And we lost mainly because Olden Polynice, who must be about 6-2, 245 of pure muscle, launches a Steve Kerr-style barrage of three pointers (which count as 2's in pickup ball) over the outstretched hands of my teammate who tried (unsuccessfully) to guard him.
We added another person (a fiftysomething white guy. Shocker!) for the 2nd run, as the opposing team added another Asian guy (notice a pattern here?). I knew that in order to avoid another drubbing, I'd have to take one for the team and guard Olden Polynice myself. Otherwise, he'd just shoot more 3's (which could as 2's in pickup ball. just making sure you're paying attention) and beat us even quicker.
Pickup ball is a lot like chess. Sure, the teams have as many as 5 guys per side, but it's really more of a 1-on-1 game of you vs the guy who you're tasked with guarding. On paper, Olden Polynice (6-2, 245 of pure muscle, just in case you forgot) vs me (5-11, 180-something of average build, but very well defined shoulders, thank you much!) looks like a mismatch. But in real life, a guy like me, with no handle and a very shaky outside "J" can neutralize Olden Polynice for one very simple reason.
Some people say pickup ball is all about freewheeling offense and that a guy who tries to play "D" is taking it waay too seriously. Naturally, given my offensive limitations, I disagree. Anyone knows the best way to stop a jump shooter is to deny him the ball. In our second game, I hounded Olden Polynice like a doberman [pause], to the point that this brolic MF'er was slapping my hand away, and trying to undercut me when boxing out for rebounds, all out of frustration.
When he did catch the ball, he started rushing his shots (knowing I would contest quickly) and throwing up bricks. When he tried to put it on the floor and drive, I shuffled my feet so well that I forced him baseline and he dribbled off his feet and out of bounds 3 straight times. A guy who'd just made us look like peons was now looking pretty gameless himself, and I could tell he was pissed.
Meanwhile, the guys on my team finally discovered how to shoot. On offense, I set picks for them, and drew Olden Polynice away from the basket so the lane was open for easy putbacks by my teammates. I only attempted (and made) one shot. We beat them easily, 16-7. I not only won the game on the court, but I beat Olden Polynice in the arguably more important game of psychology. I got in his head, and it cost his team the game.
When the game was over, Olden Polynice was fuming. I could tell this guy wanted to swing on me, and was looking for some getback in Game 3.
Lucky for me, it was already 12:45. I bid the team adieu, and went back to work.
Question: Do only p*ssies play defense in pickup ball, or is it all about winning, which means having to shut someone down every now and then? Do you personally take pride in playing defense, or is it all about scoring to you? Do you think I got Olden Polynice off his game, or was he just not very good in the first place? Why do dudes who are 6-2, 245 of pure muscle even bother venturing outside the paint? Is my life really this dramatic, or do I just tell a better story than most?