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Organized Sports

I used to play a lot of sports. Mainly basketball. I wasn't too shabby, but I never played on a school team. I grew from 5'7" and 120 pounds in 9th grade to 6'4" and 180 in late 10th grade. Nobody knew who I was. Girls sure didn't.
So I played tennis in 9th and early 10th grade cause I wasn't really filled out enough to play the other sports. It was fun though, and I like tennis enough. I had, and still have, a big serve, but was lacking in ground strokes, which kinda come in handy. So I decided to try something else. The basketball team took tryouts and those wouldn't be for another half year, so I did another sport.
I joined the football team in the spring of 11th grade. The coach said that he couldn't stop me from joining, which was nice of him to say. Ha. 'Wellp, son, we all know you're gonna suck, so go ahead and come on and not play and suck. No sweat off my track suit."
I came onto the football team and I left the tennis team behind. It was time to hit some people. First day of practice we go out in full pads and I go stand with the cornerback groups. I thought that was where I was supposed to go since I covered receivers in the pickup games with my friends. Apparently that wasn't the case. The coach asked me if I saw anything wrong with what I was doing. I replied no. He told me to look around me. I saw the tops of helmets. I was a good 6 inches taller than the other cornerbacks. He told me I was a defensive end. I said ok and ran to another group.
I didn't start for offense or defense, but I started for special teams. And I made a tackle in the first game I ever played in. It was our first game, Fall 1997. My mom had put a note in my helmet (that I still carry in my wallet) that read 'Go Highlanders. We love you, Juice. Mom and Dad.' I think it was my good luck charm cause I tackled someone on a punt. I got my photo taken while I did it, and it was on the front page of the sports section. Some kid who's never played football in grade school, middle school and high school who just decided that he wanted to play his senior year. Kinda cool, now that I look back on it. I wanted to quit the day I saw that photo. Proof that I played football. Proof to myself that I could do whatever I wanted.
I now know why I wasn't better at football. Back then I wasn't mean enough. I was only 185 soaking wet and 6'4". I could run like a deer and I could dunk the basketball anyway ya asked. But I couldn't put it all together. Probably cause I'm not mean in the first place. I didn't have that killer instinct.
But nowadays. It's different. I can't really play organized ball anymore. I tried to play in some basketball leagues a couple years back. Not good. I wanted to hurt the other team after the game. I used to play basketball a lot, too. I actually had 35 points and 34 rebounds in an organized YMCA game. That's what they call 'dominating.'
I was too nice, though. I let other people who were more outspoken then me have the limelight, even though I knew I was better than them. The thing is, that when I play any sports nowadays, I don't let myself get serious about it. Because I don't like who I become. I wanna win. And not only do I wanna win, I wanna kill the other team. I wanna hurt people. There's a lot of pent up agression there still. All athletes have that fire. I'm sure of it. I just don't stoke that flame anymore.
So I go out and just jack around. I shoot threes. I shoot fade aways. I try and make silly one arm catches in football.
I don't let myself care.
If I care, then I can't control myself. I'm not the featherweight I used to be and I might hurt someone, or get hurt.
But I'm passed the point of competing like that. I compete in other things now, and that's alright with me.
I just don't let myself care about sports anymore. I did care a lot about them at a time in my life.
But that time is not this time.
And this time I'd rather just smile.
Justin Claus HarderComment