About 15 years ago I began seeing t-shirts with the saying “Old and Cunning Will Always Triumph Over Youth and Inexperience” on them. Honestly, I didn’t think too much of it at the time except maybe to smirk. I was in my thirties and not old. To me that t-shirt was a sad way for some people to rationalize their situations. It’s funny what fifteen years will do to your perspective. In fact, now I couldn’t agree with that t-shirt more and even better, I have proof to back it up.
I’ve always played basketball, mostly full court. To me it’s the perfect game because it involves strength, speed, hand-eye coordination and it’s perfectly acceptable to say something derogatory about your opponent’s mother. I was never a great player. I was maybe the fourth best guy on my high school team but a pretty good playground player.
A couple of months ago I got a hairline fracture in my right foot that sidelined me for 10 days. When I was cleared by my doctors I didn’t play hoops. I blamed it on other things like being too busy but I was really rationalizing. Did I want to find out if I could still play or did I want to be one of those guys who hasn’t played in years and yet always regales you with tales of how great he once was? I’ve never been a regaler.
I went to my local court at a time when I knew none of my friends would be there. If I was going to fail, it was going to be done in private. Instead, after about 10 minutes of shooting around, I was roped into playing full court with a bunch of guys in their early 30’s, probably because they only had 9 people. The game started and I was actually doing pretty well and it had very little to do with any physical skills. I was always a step short on defense but after observing these guys earlier I knew that Rick couldn’t go to his right and that Kenny chokes under pressure which is why I barely guarded him when he had the ball.
On offense it was more of the same. Since these guys never played organized ball, they thought I was some kind of basketball genius when I drew up and called for plays from my high school days. Without trying to be, I was the leader on the floor. We won the first game by 7 points. Being good sports (plus knowing that we could beat them again) we gave them a rematch. The results were different this time. We won by 12. For the third game we switched up the teams but the results were the same. We won by 3 which was closer than it really was.
Finally, after about another hour, we called it a day. I drove home and after the adrenaline wore off, my foot was killing me but for some reason I didn’t mind. It’s amazing what proving to yourself that you can still do things that you love can do for your morale. “Old and Cunning Will Always Triumph Over Youth and Inexperience” is a really good expression. Anyone out there know where I can buy that t-shirt?