Monday, June 04, 2012

Going back out

I went back to playing basketball last weekend. It was the first time I’d been on the court (at least with other players) since I had to have myself repaired about eight months ago. Conditions were perfect. The buildings just south of the World Trade Center site have the height and spacing necessary to cast a shadow through the morning to keep us and the court cool. My wrist with the screw in it was stiff, always will be. But it’s my off hand, and my game self, even at this state and age, forgot about it (and the rest of me) fairly quickly. I even made a few shots.

More important, nothing happened. I didn’t break a bone or, worse, blow out a knee. I came back home that morning only tired and anticipating the deep aches that would (and did) wake up with me the next day.

Why did I go back? I certainly didn’t have to. My brother, who played college basketball and who is a little over two years older (and many degrees more fit) than I, has given up playing entirely to avoid the possibility of hurt. And despite expensive procedures going well and four-plus months of occupational therapy, the fall I took last May shaved about 20 degrees off my left hand’s range of motion. The pair of scars along the top and bottom of this hand look like an em dash and a red squiggly spell-check flag respectively — two familiar ways of signalling interruption and error. I do need regular exercise, sure, but I can get it with a lot less risk. (I could, you know, just walk around and stuff.)

I’m up early these days, have been for a while now, working more on my writing and on getting my writing out. I don’t have to do this either. I could undoubtedly use the extra sleep, and I’m probably well past the point where I should have started a serious writing career, whatever that means. Why struggle with learning the contours of a new profession — particularly one in radical flux — and inevitably subject myself to rejection?  It’s not as if I’m answering some kind of calling. If anything, I’ve become less invested in big-T Truths and more attentive to local facts and the way those facts sound when you say them out loud to yourself. Besides, I’ve got a job (if not a career), a great family, years worth of unread books, and Netflix instant available on several devices. I couldn’t be much more comfortable than I am at the moment.

Why these things and why now? Not sure, really. I do like the feel of the ball in my hand and the chance to be good in the game, even knowing that I’m now moving away from my best days with the sport.  In part, I want to show Q and The Boy how a life can be well lived, which means demonstrating how parts of oneself always remain elusive and unmade, and how loving and being loved can be a route to finding and making oneself.  Perhaps it’s also because the Hudson looks the most blue when lit by the morning sun, and that blue and the quiet house let me listen for good thoughts before the world’s great noise turns my head. Or maybe it’s just that I’m where I’ve always been — where we all are, I suppose — lodged at the slim waist of an hourglass in the middle of what’s to fall and what’s piling up. It’s hard to know when the whole thing has last been flipped. Better to look at both ends of the glass if you want to see the most sand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post, Rob. I've only just discovered your blog and dig it. A lot. I hope to er, dig through it a bit more to read some of your older posts. It's a very cool concept and I'm amazed and impressed that you've been so diligent with it.

By the way, I wrote a little post on pick-up basketball some time back: