Saturday, December 7, 2013

Iron Sharpens Iron: A basketball flashback

Surrounding one-self with good people, great friends, strong mentors and inspiring peers amounts to one thing---Iron sharpening iron.
My childhood friend and I battle 1on1 at JL Crowe Secondary School-- our old high-school gym in Trail BC. It's something we probably did thousands of times 20 years ago. That was back when we were bringing the city and the school it's first and only provincial basketball championship. No man has ever pushed me to the limits both mentally and physically like he did. I owe him a lot. Fast forward several years later---Professional and collegiate athletic careers are over and both of our lives have evolved past the athletic focus. Now we just stay in shape just in case we're in the same place, at the same time and there's a ball and a hoop! Then it's on. The picture was taken by his wife, who must have been shocked at how intense and reckless two grown men were competing against each other. We didn't prepare her... On the way up to the school we might have lied to her and said, "We're just going to shoot some hoops." It was all lies. A stranger walking into the gym would have thought we were bitter enemies. And in truth, while we we're playing, we are. I don't like him and I know he doesn't like me. The level of dirty-ness was obscene. Perhaps that's the reason his wife didn't want my innocent Godson watching the madness. Didn't matter I'm sure he felt it in his DNA. A crowd of high-school students gathered around, no doubt wondering what all the shouting and swearing was about. We don't play above the rim like we used to. Neither of us can fly anymore, I lost my wings years ago... in front of everyone. But there's still enough in the tank in both men, that you could get dunked on if you get caught slipping. Two best friends, 30 years of no holds bard competition---Still pushing each other to the limit. Too much fun. When it was all over we hugged, and congratulated each other...Just like we used to. Perhaps more amicably now than we did 20 years ago. Back then, we used to limp off the court from battle bruises. Now, we limp off the court from bad backs, joint pain and arthritic knees. Either way... Some things never change. Iron Sharpens Iron It's competition like this that inspired me to write sport fiction, and specifically, my latest piece, entitled "HUSTLE" for Lorimer Publishing Kids Sports series---HUSTLE is scheduled to be published in the beginning of 2014. I'll keep you posted when it's out!

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