I recently lost a pickup game to an obscenely obnoxious team, especially one guy who was just the worst. I see this guy at the gym a lot, and I can tell that he basically lives there. I wanted to flip out at him, but I know I’ll see him again and I don’t feel like having bad blood. What should I have done?
I would have made a disparaging comment to a teammate just loud enough for him to hear. This way he’d respond, I’d deny and there’d be bad blood. I like contentious basketball relationships – it makes victory that much more satisfying. Especially if you see the guy again, and especially if he’s one of those poison teammates who commits one of the three pickup basketball deadly sins (not hustling on defense, ball hog, coach on the court). Most importantly, if you stir the pot, you’ll never have to play on his team. Then it goes from bad to awkward blood. And finally, there’s hardly ever any true motivation in pickup. This at least provides some.
Secondly, you let the guy feel good about his victory. He shut you up (not that you were saying anything, I guess) and enjoyed the pleasure of watching you meander off the court. Then, most likely because the line was too long to play again, you kicked off your shoes and left. And that, my friends, is the real victory: Putting an end to someone’s basketball evening with your victory and their defeat.
But, you may wonder, why would I not confront him directly, if rivalry is my ultimate aim? Truth be told, I’m desperately afraid of physical confrontation. Not that I’m small or anything, but I’ve never been in a real fight. A few shoves here and there, but nothing serious. I’m just not sure what I’m capable of, or more aptly put, how little I’m capable of. I’d rather not embarrass myself, so I’ll stick to pithy jokes and sideline denigration through an online and relatively anonymous forum.
That’s all for this week. Check back next week for Volume XIV.
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