It's been years since I've hooped. Aside from shooting around once or twice, I literally haven't played competitive basketball since I decided to throw in the towel the second that my senior year high school season ended.
So joining a co-ed rec league was definitely a flashback meets risk meets adventure. In my purple running shorts, sneakers and a makeshift team jersey, I took to the court with new teammates, new hopes and very uncomfortable feet.
The first week was better than anticipated, and as I made the trek last night for week 2, I found myself eagerly anticipating getting back out there. I barely warmed up, however, somewhat not getting enough time and somewhat not wanting to miss terribly in front of my unfamiliar teammates.
As they chose the starting line up, I was quite surprised to find myself behind the finger pointing at who was to go out on the court. I spent the better part of the opening minutes swinging the ball around and feeding the big boys under the hoop or on the outside of the arc.
They were good. I was rusty.
Suddenly, on an unexpected pass caught from a no look dish from my teammate, I was on the baseline with the rock in my hands. I took a dribble, clung to the air and put up a jumper, waiting for the ball to be smashed down in my face.
Instead, it sunk through the net, and I don't think anyone was more surprised than me. Even in my glory days, I was always mostly good for points of steals, outside shots or the occasional free throw.
The next trip down the court, I put my hands out, asking for the ball from my same-shirted handler. I was on the other baseline this time, dribbled in, pumped and went all the way for the layup, bracing myself for the rejection once again. But again, it kissed the backboard and fell through seamlessly.
When it was my turn to rotate out, I heard more of a discussion about the rules. In this particular co-ed league, men were not allowed to block the shots women took. While this was a bit of a shocker to my feminist mindset, I now had a greater understanding of why some of my shots were making their way to the hoop. While I had anticipated obstacles not only blocking my way, but also keeping me from trying in the first place, they weren't even obstacles that were relevant.
I finished the game with a few more baskets and solid play. My teammates were gracious with compliments and high fives, and as I started my drive back to my parents' house, I found myself almost taking away my success because of the unique rule on the court.
I can't really count those as points because they would have been blocked if it was allowed, I thought.
What kind of BS is that though? Who knows if they would have been blocked? I was expecting to be limited before I even tried, and I didn't bother with gathering all of the information. Not only did the game push my confidence, it pushed my understanding of self-limitations.
Job hunting is similar. Sometimes when it asks for 7+ years of experience, I forfeit applying, as my years are fewer. Big name brands are more intimidating, and those who show hundreds of applicants can make me wonder what could possibly stand out about me?
I'm assuming my shot will get blocked before I even take it. Did I mention I missed a whole bunch of shots last night too? I'm never going to have a perfect game, and I'm never going to have a perfect plan. I will get blocked, I will miss and I will get rejected.
I will score too. I came home, giddy with nostalgic excitement and team camaraderie. I browsed basketball shoes online and dug my own ball out of my trunk to shoot around. If my expectations are to be stopped, I'm keeping myself from making any progress at all. Just because things take time or need to slow down doesn't mean there isn't an opportunity for positive results.
I'm not going to get any jobs I don't apply for, and I'm not going to make any shots I don't take.
Count the basket.