Basketball Madness #4

It’s dry again at last!

Yep, you’d hear me say that with as much enthusiasm as a drunk would with sadness.

I haven’t been to the basketball court since last Tuesday, man, it’s good to be back!

Today’s menu:
A pretty plain day, plenty of aching muscles and little condiments of madness.

I’m learning some new tricks I’d love to share.

If you have Velcro shoes, not only are you likely to get the most photogenic glares, but you’re also at a huge loss: you’ve just lost a big opportunity.

See, when you play a sport, you need to first warm up with a run.

And boy, warm up runners come in different varieties alright.

For some folks, it takes a quick sprint to get up and running.

For some, the bull takes over: no talk, shut eyes, head down, and run. Then look up and pant.

Then there’s that immensely annoying infinite-stamina guy who never gets tired, is faster than everybody else, and runs backwards in front of you to rub it in your face.

(Have I mentioned I have a thing for coming third? Let us NOT talk of speed.)
(But I ain’t the slowest. Anymore. Hah. Hah.)

Then there’s the guys who will make you feel like running drills were invented just to torture them.
These are the guys who talk the run walk, will stop at every turn, and have immense willpower to keep on trying.

It’s these countless tries where shoe laces play a beautiful role.

Their laces will come undone every two minutes.
Following this will be an audible sigh, then they bend a knee and get to work.

Damn, their knots will put a sailor to shame.

Perfect bunny-ears, over the loop, under the loop, around the ankle, a tight, secure knot, with considerable precision, oops! Did I disturb your concentration?
Darn it, it’s all for nothing!
Well, shrug, here we go again!

There was a kid like that once, Coach then bound her laces together for good.

Not all knots are that boy scout-worthy, but I’ve seen it shave off about three rounds up and down the court, of the warm up rounds, if done correctly.
Take notes, class!


Have you ever jinxed someone’s perfect run?
Well, I have, today.

Alternate hand dribbles.
Running backwards.
Kid ahead of me.
I’m expecting it will take a while.
But in fact, the kid’s pretty decent at it! What’s more, kid’s going at a decent pace too.

Me thinks, wow, was I wrong.

Some dozing Easterly reads my mind; next thing I know, kid’s ball is in the next court. Out of sight.


Another thing, did I mention that we had stepped onto the court after a solid week?
Aims were off today, and I mean that.
Today’s Accidental Ball On Butt count: 3. (In the span of ten minutes.)

What else is new?
We probably did more ice skating today than basketball, and I really suspect there’s camouflaged algae right under our feet.
Fancy a back rub, algae?
Wishing you had a candid camera?

Some of those slides were graceful!
Brownie points, sure, but unfortunately, that didn’t get our opponents a basket!

To top it all off, we ended the day somewhat this way:
You know rains are a time of uncertainty for us slippery sliders.
So Coach tells us he’ll message to let us know if the court’s dry enough to play next time.

A younger girl goes up and asks if Coach has her number.
Coach replies in the affirmative.
Girl: Okay. You didn’t tell me the last time.
You never message me, sir.

She leaves.

Poor Coach doesn’t hear the end of it till he can chase us away.


Till next time, if we ain’t cookin’ stew on the court, keep sliding!


Basketball Madness #3

First up. I’m getting better!
I suppose that in itself is a sort of madness?!

Most normal people these days have friends, acquaintances (or classmates,) group of best buds and people you’d avoid.

In basketball, you have the people who’s call you rely on as luck for your shot to get through the basket.
Or get stuck in it.

And you have the people who’s face becomes more of a scoring zone for you than your basket.

Yup, the best buds and the annoying flippers on the court.

Coach has one goal in life, like I’d mentioned before: keep the best buds in the opposite teams!
And maybe it’s just coincidence, but it’s also got a bit of keeping the “benemies” together.

This time, that’s just what happened.

Now, a really annoying kid, and someone whom you may from the Hole incident, fit into the preteen-section of the enemies-on-and-off-court zone.

For the past month, the two have somehow been assigned each other’s men and spend most of their time squabbling and calling out fouls and names.

So many names.

Today, Coach puts them in the same team.

Hole girl immediately protests.

Coach asks her who the coach is.

“But I can’t be in the same team as him!”

“And why?”

Faults and fouls and hits and misses and names and names and names come out. Confessions of the month.

I wonder if today’s Sunday.

Finally coach holds his head in his hand.

“Okay, forget it, he’s requested you not to call him a nincompoop, so don’t call him that. Now please play basketball.” finishes Coach.

(Yes, that was the Big Thing. I won’t go into the details of that, all of this was just the boring build up to the Madness of the day.)


So we were in three teams, and playing knockouts.

My team took the win twice, but before we ended the day, we decided to move out ourselves and let the two teams we beat have a game.
We were feeling nice, alright? We’d won.

So there was the squabbling team and there was the other team.

The other team’s captain was trying pretty hard to organise.
Her team players kept deserting their Men.

She gave them a shout.
Stick with your man!

Now when the captain’s frustrated, don’t annoy ’em. That’s the general know-how.
Unless, of course, you’re the star of the team.

Team players are now trying to stick to opponents only to turn and find them gone.
What could you possibly do when you can’t even see your man slip away?

You keep ’em from leaving, of course!

At least, that was the genius plan of the guy marking Don’t-Call-Me-Nincompoop.

I won’t deny the annoying little guy can shoot.
So anyway, it became pretty important for the genius guy to keep him marked.

I was observing the game from the sidelines.

This was just after a basket, so the throw was from outside.
Squabbling team had the ball, specifically, the One Who’d Called The Names, aka Hole girl, had the ball.
Annoying Little Guy, her enemy-teammate, was trying to get himself free.

But his man was too good.
I turned to find the two wrestling.
Genius was holding him by the waist and trying to keep in front of him, while the Star guy was dragging both him and his man towards the ball.

Rule 101 of basketball: Do not make physical contact with other players!

(I don’t know if it sounds so, but it was pretty hilarious to watch.)

Just then, Hole girl decides to trust her teammate/enemy.

She shouts out to him, you, “Get the ball!” and she throws.
Across the court, diametrically opposite to where the guy was dragging him man with him, the ball goes sailing in the air; one bounce, and it’s over the baseline.

Congratulations, other team! You’ve earned yourself a chance to score, from right beside the basket.

And the squabbling team continues to do what they’re best at:
“If you’re so good, why didn’t you get the ball?”
“Idiot, now the other team has it!”

And the game goes on.

Another girl was standing around, waiting for the game to be done, her ball was in use and she had to leave soon.

“Hurry up! I need to leave!” she bounced up in agitation.

There was another basket to be completed.

She stood by, watching for a minute.

A player goes in for a layup, and nets it too, but she’d travelled. The foul’s called. Basket discounted.

The girl waiting for ball pffts and taps her foot.

Just one basket, say players on court, and proceed to commit another travel.

“Isn’t that a travel?” I ask her.

She sighs out loud.

“I’m going back to Insta!” she declares, walking right through the middle of the court.

(Nope, I don’t suppose she heard me.)

And the game goes on.

Until we conclude yet another crazy day on the court.

Till next time!

Basketball Madness #2

There are hipsters. There are Hoopsters.

And there are whoopsters.

Another weird day at Basketball comes to mind, and I’m determined to share it.

Team sports can be weird. They can put you and your Hated (I’ll leave that one for another day, perhaps) in the same team, when the team is one of only three people, and it can turn best buds into squabbling little enemy babies.

Yes, I know, normally, it’s only just enemies, but the particular event I’m talking about was something like this. Weird.


It is every coach’s goal of the day to put best friends in different teams. Most often, they end up marking each other, and doing a lot more of something else, than marking, which ends up defeating Coach’s purpose, but well, that’s how it is. Normally.

Last week, two seventh grader “Besties” were cast into opposing teams, and obviously, they marked each other.

Call to mind the rulebook of basketball again: No physical contact allowed. You cannot touch an opposing player, you cannot hug you opponent on the pretext of marking, you cannot elbow, push, thump.

People often think that marking has one aim: “Opponent = no”, if you get what I mean.

So Bestie 1 was marking Bestie 2.

It was a rough day for them, honestly. They kept bumping each other around. They’d complained on each other a couple of times, coach had just yawned and told them to punch each other till they were even. (Then coach goes, “Fight! Fight! Fight!”)

But the game goes on.

Presently, Bestie 2 gets the ball.

Rule of basketball: always stay between your man and the basket. Unfortunately, Bestie 1 was behind her man.

Bestie 1 must save the ball now.

She jumps up from behind.

Bestie 2 tries to wave her off, defend with her arm.

Bestie 1 keeps jumping around her back, basically hounding her, trying to get to her side, I think.

Bestie 1 gets a hand on 2’s nose, or really, her whole face.

Primitive instincts kick in now, it’s Fight or Flight for Bestie 2.

She lashes out behind her at Bestie 1, and here on, even I don’t know what exactly happened.

All I know is, either 2, or a teammate called a foul. Physical contact is a foul, afterall, and the only contact being missed here was with the ball.

Coach shouts are Bestie 1. Doesn’t she know the rules?? What will jumping on her back achieve, other than a concession of the ball to the other team anyway, as a foul?

Bestie 2 adds, she smacked my face.

Coach laughs. Were you that eager to get even?

Bestie 1 protests. Coach, do you have any idea what she’s doing?

(She’s got her nails on my arm,) look, she’s practically made a hole in my arm!

We looked around, unsure.

Could someone be so powerful as to rip a new hole in the human body?

Holey moly!

We lost it, we began laughing and that took five hole, er, I mean whole minutes to calm down, as wo got back to play.

Well, I suppose all’s fair in love and basketball, even the creation of a new part of the human anatomy!

Basketball Madness

I love playing basketball. I’ve never watched the NBA, because I’m too lazy an ass to get myself out of bed at 6 am to watch a game (hence we are only talking about weekends. 6 am on weekdays is for school.)

Every time we get a PT period, my friends and I make a dash for the court: we gotta bag it before any other batch gets it! (We share PT periods with other classes, often junior to us.)
Then we get back to class in an hour, smelling and sweating and, along with the guys who’ve played football, make life hell for our teachers.
If we weren’t twelfth, but a lower class with some affordable time to waste, they’d swap periods.
And none of our friends from other classes cares to visit on such days! We actually make life hell for the girls who spent their hour on the swing set chatting, too. (Because they’re not responsible for this mess!) (Though it is not a PT period use I’d highly recommend. The worst I’ve seen is people taking their textbooks to the ground… We lead sad lives.)

But I haven’t been into basketball forever. I was late joiner, I wasn’t into it till ninth grade, despite the fact that my best friend was (sort of) in the school team for a while.

In ninth grade, in a new school, a pal of mine introduced me to basketball playing, in our first PT period. Since then I’ve been hooked.


I’ve been playing basketball in the evenings outside of school these days, because, well, I’d explained the 12th-grade-time-crunch thing.

In class, though, it’s quite a circus. Absolute madness. I’d forgotten how annoying kids can be, really, that’s what too much isolation can do. Too much time with only sophisticated, mature twelfth graders.
(One minute… Did I just call us sophisticated and mature?? I take that back… we’re little five year olds, to tell the truth. Sit with me in class for a day.)

Sometimes, the madness is too much for one person. So I thought I’d share it!
If you feel there isn’t enough madness in your life, you can borrow some off here. I’d be more than happy to let you.

So, today’s tale.
There’s a single-digit-year-old small little firecracker who’s been at basketball for a month.

He’s this kid who thinks he’s so good, he’s reached all there is to be reached. Call it over-enthusiasm, but he often ends up getting on people’s nerves. And coach’s. A LOT.

This is guy, who, two weeks into playing, with coach repeatedly telling him that he’s not shooting the right way, walks up to coach (in the middle of team making for a match, no less,) and asks him to teach him a three pointer shoot.
(In basketball, a basket scored from outside the clearance line is worth three points, as opposed to two points for one from inside.)

Today Mr. Confident was involved in a match. And we weren’t divided according to our skill level. No substitutes either today.

On the opposite team, there’s a big, tall, experienced player. The team’s star player. A solo star too, but today’s that besides the point.

So Star Player gets the ball.
Mr. Confident decides that no one but him should be good enough to go man him.

(In basketball, you pick a Man from the opposite team. This is the person you are going to stick with, not letting them get the ball, always stay between your man and the basket. Never leave your man!
Sir, I’ve learnt!)

Let’s get a bit detailed.
Star Player gets the ball from the left.
Confoso, towards the right, perks up, and this wave of confidence goes through him, his chest swells, he begins his run to Star Player. (Leaving his designated man. A big no.)

Star Player doesn’t see him coming and keeps dribbling.

Somehow, Confidence makes a grand turn and reaches Star Player, dodging all potential, uninterested Men in his path.

Star Player dribbles on.

Tiny little Confidence runs, and runs straight into the tall guy dribbling, and knocks himself out. Not literally. He’s fallen down from the impact.

Star Player shoots.
The easiest one I’ve seen today.

Still down on his butt on the floor, Mr. Confidence exclaims in annoyance.
“Hey! Idiot!” he shouts.

It’s all Star Player’s fault for standing there and letting the kid knock himself down.

Star Player barely notices the kid. Game’s up, he walks off the court. Good game, folks.

Star Player is still sitting on his butt, holding his leg and whining like a professional football player.
Out of curiosity, some of the other boys come over to see what this hue and cry is all about.
We sort of know his record, see.

Sitting down there, obviously for entertainment purposes, encouraged by the boys, Mr. Confident shouts out his indignation at the stupid boy who pushed him over, and about how he’d really “show” him if he came back onto the field.

Now Star Player notices.
He raises an eyebrow.
Yes little guy? You want to “show” me, I’m right here, please go ahead?

Somehow, Mr. Helium Balloon leads this onto how if Star ever came home, he’d be “shown”; his dad was a pro boxer.

At this point, one of the girls very logically points out, if his dad was a boxer, how was that to work out in a game of basketball?
He’d show him, replies Helium.
At this point, coach has practically got a headache, and he tells the kid, isn’t it time for you to go home now?

Carefree little Helium replies that he has time galore, he could stay.

Star Player tells him that the time is nine o’ clock.

Balloon looks a bit Deflated for a minute.
Coach tells him it’s only eight, Star was kidding, but he should really get going now.

Helium fills the balloon again as he sighs in relief.

“Don’t say nine, you scared me there. I’m not scared of anything.”, he finishes off with a gem to the bigger boy.