"From Moshe till Moshe, there arose none like Moshe." (famous Jewish folk saying)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Over the Top

I play basketball every erev shabbos on our yishuv. To keep the playing field somewhat equal, this is the “30’s-40’s married only” game. But on our yeshuv, we have a few 18-20’s that are still eligible because they ARE married! Leaving the house in the midst of shabbos preparations could create shalom bayis issues but my aishes chayil appreciates that this is my only opportunity for exercise and reluctantly permits this means of expression.

In the last 18months since I have begun to play on the yeshuv, I have broken 4 fingers (not at the same time) dislocated a few ribs and have incurred multiple cuts and bruises on various appendages. But one of the rules in our family is, “You play –You pay” and “choices and consequences”…So I am not aloud to complain about any post game pain. I must quietly endure and lick my wounds in silence. No sympathy! The only outward acceptable evidence of injury is entry to the freezer for an ice pack upon my return home after the game. I have a regimen of 3 Advil before the game and 3 Advil after the game. This seems to help.

Despite playing with tape on my fingers and the potential for additional injuries, I love to play basketball. I have even worn out my first pair of sneakers since I was in high school. I got a great deal new pair of Jordan’s at an outlet in Lancaster, PA on my last trip to the US.

It may be strange to those who know me and those who have met me in person, that in high school, I was the captain of our basketball team. This may be a surprise because I am from the vertically challenged. At a whopping 5’5” I have never consider myself short. 5’4” is short but I am not! I wore the number 18 and they called me Dr. A, a flattering reference to Dr. J from the 76ers. I can’t for the life of me remember how many games we won or lost but we always had a great time. In the days of my youth we could play all day.

This past Friday was a usual day. We play with guys at all heights and skill levels. Some guys are really good and have even played college ball. There are others like me who are decent to the guys are really not that great. Overall, the level of play can sometimes be at a very high level. There is no ‘official’ referee so we call our own fouls. Sometimes this causes major arguments, especially between the Americans and Israelis because there is a very different standard for fouls (and aggression) between our cultures. Most of my injuries have been inflicted by the Israelis we play with. During these tense moments, when tempers sometimes flare, you can tell who is there to win and who is there to have fun. I try not to call fouls that often. Unless I get hit really hard or it’s blatant and even then, it just slows down the pace of the game.

This past Friday, the weather was beautiful and it was a great day for basketball. During one of the final plays of the game, I went up for a rebound and I was called for a foul. I looked at my opponent and said, what’s the foul and he said, “Over the top!” Now over the top is foul that is usually called when two players go up for a rebound and one of the apposing players reaches over the back of their opponent to rebound the ball. It is a legitimate foul. But the call surprised everyone on the court. It was a surprise because I went up for the rebound against someone who was 6’3”. My teammate looked at Andre the Giant and said, “your calling over the top on him?” My teammate was questioning the veracity of such a call with an obvious reference to my height and the unlikely probability that I could accomplish such a feat. Now this put me in a quandary? Should I argue the call? Do I join in the chorus of, “no this is not possible.” He could never go over the top on Mr. 6’3”! I on the other hand actually thought this was a great call. I mean, this guy was huge, almost a foot taller than me. My teammates were not going to deny me this foul. This foul call was a major endorsement of my playing. Short white men can jump! So I took the call and said to my teammates, I’ll take any call that is good for my self-esteem. It was a great day for basketball. No one got hurt, and the guys who came to have fun, won the game.

Great Post, DM. I read it twice and am still laughing out loud.
The thought of you going over the back on a 75 inch man ios pretty funny but totally believableespecially after that time and tried to jump you from behind and u flipped me. I just polished my shoes they look amazing!
ed, you're just like gonzo, always thinking about your shoes...
ari that was fun to read.
haha, you were captain of your bball team...:-) i luv you dude.

So sorry for your pain, dear! But happy you won the game! What's gonna happen next week?! love:)
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