Well that went about as bad as it could have gone. Pretty much the exact opposite of my last real, fully refereed basketball game. I ended college on a high note, playing well and beating Yale on their home court. I began my pro career playing poorly a million miles from home, in a gym where the official attendance, as calculated by my careful counting (it didn’t take long), was 35. 35 people! Crazy. Thank god there were not more, because those that were there got to see one of the worst games I have played in years. Never have I been happier to not have people I know watching me play. Before I own up for my miserable performance, let me run through my litany of excuses:
1. The floor was really slippery. Up until about an hour before our game there was a little kids practice, and they left that hardwood ridiculously dusty. It got a once over with the 500 year old push mop that every gym uses, and that was that. It was like I was running in just my socks. Several times I made moves and just fell over. Embarrassing to say the least. I know it seems like such a cop-out excuse, but my game is predicated on full speed, precise cuts, and I swear to you the floor had a huge detrimental affect on my game.
2. The refs were terrible. There are only two of them in this league, so I have to cut them some slack, but they were still pretty bad. I have them to thank for roughly 4 of my turnovers and a missed 3 where I got hit on the arm so bad it just airballed out of bounds. To add insult to injury they gave the ball to the other team. I mean, at least give the guy a block and give us the ball back. I don’t care how rusty I am, I am not gonna undershoot a shot by 6 feet and have it go out of bounds. Plus, I had a block taken away and called a foul. I never get blocks! I was so excited, and then the god damn ref from the other side of the court, with no angle on the play, comes flying in and calls a foul. jeeeeezus.
3. The easy one: I have been out for 2 months. Definitely did not feel in sync.
4. I played about half my minutes off the ball, which never fails to mess me up. I am a PG through and through, so playing the off guard is always kinda weird. Also, our poorly constructed offense oftentimes results in the off guard just kinda standing in the corner for 20 seconds. Never fun.
5. Bad nights sleep. My sleeping has been weird ever since it started getting really cold in my apartment, but this was a whole new level. I was tired from the night before, so I went to bed at 9. For some reason I woke up at 12. Then couldn’t go back to bed till like 5, and had to get up for lunch with my coach at 12. So I guess I slept a decent amount of hours, but it was annoying and uncomfortable to have it broken up. OK these excuses are getting pretty obscure, better wrap it up.
Now, all these things do not make up for the fact that I was just straight up terrible. Missing open threes, throwing the ball away, passing up open shots, passing up open shots to make ill advised forays to the basket for no reason other than some combination of lack of confidence in my mid- range game and my unquenchable desire to make things hard on myself, you name it I did it. After I miss a few threes I tend to try and pick my spots a little, but you know you have gone too far with this when your coach yells “If you pass up one more open shot I am going to take you out!” Shades of coach Amaker toward the end of the year last season. I feel like I am the only player who has this problem. Who doesn’t want to shoot?! I think about these plays after the game and I still cannot pinpoint what makes me hesitate. I think it might be that I hate missing more than I like making it, which causes me to pass up opportunities. That is not at all the way I came up playing, and definitely something I need to clear up pronto. At least my defense was ok, as I managed to pick up some steals. From what I can remember without knowing the official stat sheet I looked something like this : 30 min, 1-7 from the floor including 0-3 from three, 7 (7!) turnovers, 3-4 from the line, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals. Worst of all, we lost, dropping us to 2-4 on the season. Uggggghh.
That is all the more embarrassing when you look at the team we lost to. You want to talk about playing down to the competition, this was it. You just kind of fall into playing this rag tag game, then you look back on it and go “good lord, how did I not just tear this team apart?” “The majority of their players were marginally talented, severely balding, slow and under 6’3. What the @%#$ just happened! This had 20 and 10 written all over it.” I guess things don’t come as easily as I thought out here, and I am gonna have to step my game up big time.
Basically, it was one of those games you just want to forget. Which is why I immediately came home and drowned my sorrows in alcohol and bad tv movies. Just kidding on the alcohol, but there was some satisfaction in knowing that, on the scale of badness, my game was about a 7, but whatever Chevy Chase movie I was watching was a solid 9.
Anyway, it was a rough start, but I am confident things will get better. The next game can’t come soon enough.