Like many postgrads out there, I am a former college athlete who has all of his best days behind him. As sad as it is, I have finally realized that my competitive basketball days are behind me, and I now have one thing to look forward to… Men’s League.
Men’s League is a funny dynamic. It may be at a local YMCA that hasn’t been cleaned since 1983, or a church gym that is the size of a closet. Either way, you can count on it being 200 degrees with a broken water fountain in the corner everyone is trying to suck dry. Many Men’s League participants use it as a way to get a workout in. You always hear the typical, “This is my one workout a week HAHA”. Yeah, well you need to join a gym too, big fella, because this one game a week thing isn’t doing it for you.
You have the shlubs who are playing because their friend asked them to and said they would buy rounds at the bar afterwards, the old men whose shorts are dangerously close to letting a ballbag fall out at any moment, and the athletes who never played the actual sport that look like baby giraffes running up and down trying to find their bearings realizing why they never played the sport as a kid. Lastly, you see the former athletes who actually did play the sport, stretching and warming up like the game is going to decide the NBA Finals. I fall into the latter category.
Men’s League has become an important part of my life. It gives me something to look forward to when I’m nodding off in a meeting that I should have never been invited to. It let’s me try to relive my glory days beating up on 55-year-old men who can barely fit into a reversible jersey. So what I yelled at the referee? I got fouled and I want to win. Oh, you’re significantly older than me and coughing up dust on the court? Good, give me the ball and get out of the way. Yeah, I’m going to stand my ground and draw some charges, and yes, I will be yelling “AND 1” each time I take it to the rack.
Am I a try-hard when I play? Yeah, probably, and I think that’s my problem. Men’s league means absolutely nothing. It’s not like I’m getting paid to play. I have to actually pay to play. It has no bearing on my life or any one else’s life at all. People try to go and have fun. Win or lose, we’re gonna booze. You get to win a t-shirt that basically says, “You are 23 and beat a bunch of 50-year-olds! How do you feel?”
To be honest, I feel fantastic. That shirt makes it all worth it. All those long days standing at my desk getting the legs ready. All those hours spent watching NBA highlights on YouTube rather than answering emails. All those phone calls I didn’t answer because, well, I just didn’t want to answer them. Do I take Men’s League too seriously? Maybe I do. But what else is there to live for?.
Image via YouTube