The Competitive Edge


What the hell happened to me? One minute I was 17 years old, playing basketball every day and wanting to win every game I played in. The next…I’m 41 and barely have a competitive urge in my body.

What happened?

Well…I have this back/sciatica issue. That certainly didn’t help me at all. Had to give up basketball because of it. So since July of 2008, I haven’t played a competitive game of basketball. No leagues, no pickup games, no shooting around with guys my age. Nuthin’. And since then I’ve really lost all sense of competition. I have no urge to golf, play badminton, cornhole, table tennis…nothing.

Why is that?

Today I weighed myself. I’m at 201 lbs. Seriously? What…the…hell?

Look…I know I’m not in TERRIBLE shape. But I’m not on GOOD shape either. I’m somewhere in between that. And since I’ve been working in the sports industry for going on 14 years now, you would think that I would place a higher priority on staying in shape. Watching athletes compete for a living should rub off on me a little bit…wouldn’t ya think? But apparently it hasn’t. Could be because of all the travel. All the time sitting in a cold truck, typing on a computer all day. Kinda makes you sleepy just thinking about it. Weird hours. Eating crappy food all the time. Then when I DO get some time off, all I wanna do is eat MORE crappy food (I have 2 kids after all. McDonald’s is a staple in our diet.) and hang out. Who wants to hit the gym after traveling to 3 cities in 5 days? Not me apparently.

But that’s gonna change. The last couple of weeks have been an eye-opener for me. I have to change or else I’ll just continue to eat poorly and exercise lessly (yes…that IS a word for this post and I’m going with it) and then I’ll just keep growing and growing until eventually I’m like that fat dude in Monty Python’s “Meaning Of Life.” I’m stuffing down everything in sight and expansion never ends. So I need to change. And what got me to this point?

Well…other than the fact that I’m just not feeling healthy (at all) and I’m tired of feeling tired all the time? How about this one…my son. To say that this football season has been difficult would be doing it injustice. Christopher went from playing all the time last season to being 3rd string this year. He saw limited playing time and now he’s heading into basketball season. After talking with one of the other parents at his practice the other night, it stirred a little of my competitive edge when I was told that there are leagues out there that are geared for advanced players. Kids who are 8 or 9 who can dribble and shoot and break presses and play defense really well. Kids who “get it” and are driven to play full tilt, all the time. This made me remember when I used to be like that. Granted, I was never a GREAT basketball player in high school. I managed to average 7 points a game my senior year and never really lived up to my potential. I think I very easily coulda average 10 points a game. But the 6.5 turnovers per game probably offset that a little. But I digress…

Now is the time for me to be the most competitive. My son NEEDS me to be. He needs me to be a little more enthusiastic about the sports he participates in. I hear the other parents talking. Every one of them judging their kid and the other players on the team. I don’t judge. Or I’ve been trying NOT to judge. These kids are 8. They don’t even know why they are playing sports. But maybe now is the time to implement a little of that competitive nature? Get it engrained in their heads now and later they will just WANT to win. Show my son that I CAN be competitive and maybe he’ll understand a little. Get my ass to the gym 3 times a week, get back into shape. Play ball with him every chance I get. Show him dad still has “it”…even when I know I don’t. But I can still play basketball…I’ve just been too afraid of getting hurt again. And it’s possible (and very likely) that I WILL get hurt again. But working out and eating right and stretching and doing all the right things will surely make it LESS likely…right?

So this is me getting competitive again. It’s gotta happen. I’ve been moping around for too long and it’s time. Christopher needs the old me…not THIS old me. And I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna show him what I know now before he gets to an age where he already knows it all. If he’s gonna play basketball, I can show him how it’s supposed to be done. It’s the least I can do. And then I hope he plays with a little more love for the game than I did. And possibly average a few less turnovers than I did in the process…

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2 Responses to The Competitive Edge

  1. kat says:

    yooo can do eeeeet!!!

  2. mom says:

    Is this all because he told you he beat grandpa and he is only 8? Dad told him you were 9 when you beat him. Don’t worry about HIS enthusiasm.He has it in truck loads. All you need to do is be there and encourage him. Of course, getting back into shape will be good for you, and maybe you will be able to STAND UP and cheer for him at his games, instead of growning about how you feel. I think you have instilled a great love of the game in him, especially football and basketball. He played his heart out Sunday and I cheered everytime they said “and that play was completed by Chris Layton” or words to that effect. Go Chris!!! Go Alan!!! Love, Mom

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