I played basketball
I HAVE a new exercise regimen: basketball. Let me tell you the story.
A couple of weeks ago Rich brought his basketball to the call room. It was a lazy weekend morning. Left with nothing to do I took the ball out and dribbled it. Other people began to take interest in what I was doing, for in the last five years they had known me they'd never seen me hold a ball.
Migz started coaching me. "This is how you hold the ball: not with your palm but with your fingertips—that way, you get more control." Then he taught me how to do cross-overs, the maneuver where you dribble the ball on one side and make it bounce below the contralateral leg, its trajectory finally ending on the posterior side. Migz's eyes were hopeful. Maybe I wasn't too bad, after all.
I invited the gang to the basketball court. I had never seen them so excited. Rich and Migz and Franco were there, and we dragged Agnes. We informed the rest of the block to come ASAP. Casti arrived minutes thereafter. The game was rigged because my teammates—Casti and Franco—allowed me to shoot the ball every time. Our opponents—Rich, Migz, and Agnes—did not even attempt to block my shots. Their fascination of seeing me shooting the ball was comparable to fathers finally hearing their kids say "papa" for the first time. I was declared the MVP that day, and my friends took pains to write my new title on the white board where we put our OR assignments.
Just recently, too, we had another basketball game. Because half of the gang was at the ER, only Lox Andutan, Matt Chang, and Migz could make it. My free-throw shooting spree ended, unfortunately, and I was well below the scoreboard because Lox and Matt and Migz were such sharp shooters. They'd been playing basketball since childhood. Everyone, even the non-players, visited our little game and started shooting as well.
I've always believed that basketball borders on barbarism—the pushing and shoving and skin-to-skin contact—but it was only when I had played it that I realized it is a difficult sport to play, even if it looks so easy on TV. There's a certain elegance to it, too: the way people dance their way to meet the right spot on the court, the momentary peace they emanate as they block everything out—the cheers and jeers of the crowd, the insulting faces of the opponents—all with the aim of shooting the ball with near-perfect trajectory.
I have no dreams of becoming a professional basketball player, but if my life hangs on me shooting that ball from the free-throw line, maybe I could buy myself another year.