Let me tell you how bad I suck at basketball right now. I suck with the turgid methane-addled gloominess of a thousand Saturns. I am the biggest whiner spastic piece of shit to set foot on the courts of the St. Patrick Youth Center since its inception in 1922.

It’s an embarrassment to myself, it’s an embarrassment to the people I play with, it’s an embarrassment to Tessa, and it’s even an embarrassment to my future family. I will have to play flawlessly for the next month just to get back to “horrible.”

Oh sure, I have a few moves in my arsenal that are effective. But I don’t get back on defense, I get hurt on every other play, and in an effort to get out of my shooting slump, I have ball-hogged my way to infamy.

I’m a constant source of distraction for my own team – nay, I am a legion of barnacles attached to the bottom of their ship, keeping them from moving swiftly through the ocean. In the last three weeks, I have won 2 games and lost eighteen. You don’t need a biostatistics degree from M.I.T. to deduce the common denominator of those losses.

Tonight, I was fouled hard on a breakaway layup, and in my ensuing rage, I toppled the industrial fan that sat on the stage. The blades spun and threatened to chew up the floor – in a CHURCH for AFTERSCHOOL CHILDREN mind you – until some other player yanked out the plug.

Back at Carolina, I was reviled on the court as a guttermouthed shithead. Years later in Carrboro, I was reviled as a guttermouthed shithead. In Los Angeles, I went on Prozac, then went to the West Hollywood courts and acted like a guttermouthed shithead. Now I have been on Celexa for two years, got married, and I’m 37 and STILL a guttermouthed shithead.

When am I going to be free of ego? When am I going to shrug off a bad move as one of life’s little lessons? Perhaps I should just fucking call it a day. I’ve played for 18 years, made everyone miserable since Reagan’s last term, perhaps that’s enough. After next week, I’ll be in LA for two months – perhaps I’ll begin a workout regimen and Buddhist training to increase both my stamina and puncture my bloated sense of importance.

If not, I should just let the game go, leave it to younger players who aren’t so fettered to their own self-love and don’t have some wounded inner brat that lashes out at the first botched layup.

I’m disgusted with myself. I’m going into the yard, finds some worms and shove them into my mouth.

0 thoughts on “goat

  1. Alan

    I am not suggesting you deserve this but hasn’t anyone just decked you in a moment like this or ridiculed you into sphincter-loosening public shame? You hang out with polite folk.

  2. Emily

    If you’re going to seek religious enlightenment in LA, I think that Kaballah would be the way to go. Buddhism is SO out right now. And maybe you’ll meet Madonna.

  3. oliver

    Aren’t you being a little easy on yourself? What about us folks out here? I’m ashamed even reading your blog. I’m going to go empty my bookmarks.

  4. greg

    reminds me of the time in carrboro we got those youngsters watching the game to call you “ol’ sour” after one of your tirades on the court…
    “hey, kids, every time he touches the ball, yell ‘old sour!’ ”
    “old sour-old sour-old sour-old sour!”
    man, that really set you off… he he

  5. Alan

    Just a further point illustrating my amazement. Playing team sports in Canada as an adult male is predicated on the idea that some or all of your opponents (and, indeed, team mates) play hockey – in which there is the reality of the boards. Lip gets you a check into the boards. No lip still gets you the check but it is not as hard, nuanced. Once, playing soccer I came home with cleat marks in the middle of my chest. Not deserved but within the range of hockey player opinion.
    So, I still don’t know how someone didn’t get the brain bucket offa ya and wheelhouse.

  6. Kmeelyon

    Ian, your timing is impeccable. This is exactly my headspace at the moment. Precisely!
    I played a softball double-header this past Wednesday night. Now, I played softball regularly from the age of 9 until the age of 18. I am now 36 and playing for the first time since then. And I’m still good. But I’m no longer a star.
    I envy those who have the grace to fumble a play or walk a batter and then shrug and laugh it off. I usually can’t do that. I am so hard on myself, cursing under my breath whenever I do anything less-than-perfect on the softball field. I try not to show how much it bugs me, but I sometimes fear that it may make me unpleasant to play with. So far, I think I’ve kept it under wraps. I’m not exactly a guttermouthed shithead. But on the inside, I do feel like some crazy testosterone-fueled (possibly steroid-abusing) dude. Not a petite, girly, therapist who plays softball once a week.
    I need to work on allowing myself a handful of amazing plays, along with a bunch of shitty ones. I need to work on being able to suck major ass now and then, and still enjoy the game. Bleh.
    Maybe I should start playing a sport (or take up a hobby) that I really suck at. Maybe I could get more practice in allowing myself to fail. Then again, maybe I would just become a perfectionist at *that* new activity….

  7. Salem

    Directing a movie has to be more stressful than playing basketball. I think your brain is squirting (new AMA terminology) out the chemicals it’s supposed to be rationing out every day. Maybe the Basketball Brain doesn’t behave well after a Celexa Cocktail? Personally, if I found a context in which I could scream and have fits, while not getting my ass kicked or a divorce, I would never give it up!

  8. Lindsay

    No one is reading this a week after the fact, of course, but I’ve been advocating the worm therapy treatment for Ian for years. Actually, decades.


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