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Pick Up Basketball - The Cast of Characters
At 36, I've been playing basketball for well over 20 years. I never did made it to the NBA, but I've learned some valuable life lessons over the years. You can learn a lot about a person on the basketball court.
Playing ball at the local park or at the Y, the talent and skill level may vary, but regardless of the competition, there are plenty of characters out there. Here are a few...
Charlie Hustle - This guy will hit the floor or the pavement. The ball is his and only his, he will not lose because of effort. He may not have the best jump shot or quickest first step, but he makes up for it with his gritty determination. Mr. Hustle came to win, or die trying.
The Coach - It never fails, there's always a coach on the floor. This guy has made it his personal mission to spread his basketball knowledge. Any stop in play is an opportunity to teach. Coach wants the ball in his hands and will direct traffic, hope you're not here to have fun!
The Trash Talker - I used to be this guy. I'd like to think I've outgrown it, mostly. When The Trash Talker is on the court you will hear him, talking is part of his game and he'll tell you all about it. He likes to mix it up. Some guys talk just enough trash to effect their opponent, others take it way too far.
The Cheater - The Cheater has to be watched. He's not all that good, so he resorts to making horrible calls. Your foot was on the line! or You hit the ball last! are some of his favorites. Mr. Cheater starts arguments and brings everyone down in the process. He sometimes starts fights with his overzealous calls.
The Old Timer - There's a lot to be learned from the Old Timer. He plays the game the right way, always making the right pass, or perfect screen. The Old Timer is fun to play with and usually has a 2 or 3 game window. I only hope I'm on my way to old timer status.
The Enforcer - Coming in the paint? Make sure you know exactly where The Enforcer is. He will lay you out with a forearm or elbow to the face. This guy didn't come to score or look flashy, he came to inflict some pain. He has to be accounted for or it could result in serious bodily harm.
The Prospect - This guy is on his way to the big time, whether it be college or the pros. He's decided to slum it with the regulars for today. Usually he's too cool to play hard, he doesn't need to. He's playing down to the competition and is bored in the process. You always let Mr. Hustle guard The Prospect because it's fun to watch.
The New Guy - This is the guy that shows up in running shoes. He's not a basketball player, he's just on the court for the exercise. You may not have enough players so you pick him up. Uh oh. His first shot sails over the backboard, the second almost hits an innocent bystander. He's a nice guy, but get the ball out of his hands!
The Girl - This is always a dilemma. You never want to guard the girl. She's out there for a reason, she can play. Block her shot and everyone looks at you like a bully, but if you don't play defense, you just got beat by a girl. I always pick the girl, problem solved.
The Ball Hog - The Ball Hog came to score. Legend has it he once passed the ball in 2003, but no one on the court can verify this. He will be hoisting up shots from any and everywhere so try to rebound.
These are some of the different characters you will encounter on the basketball court. Like life, everyone's different. Different styles and attitudes all working for one common goal. As with life, everyone's not always going to agree. Some days are better than others, but until it's no longer fun, I will be there. A trash talking old timer, now that's funny.