From the age of 12 to about 24, I was obsessed with playing basketball. I spent my first paycheck on jumpsoles (specially-designed shoes that supposedly work your twitch calve muscles to improve your jumping ability). I spent my second paycheck on Nike basketball shorts, which, at 25 USD, was deemed “too expensive” by my mom (even though I paid for it myself, she scolded the hell out of me for spending that much on basketball shorts when she could find generic brands shorts at Ross or Marshalls for 7.99). I never even thought about smoking, both cigs or grass, not because I had some do-gooder morals or because my parents gave a crap, but rather because I wanted every edge possible on the basketball court.
I spent at least 4 nights a week playing pick up games at almansor park with Vince my junior and senior year of high school. Now I look back, I kinda regret not going out with some chicks, but eh, I think overall I wouldn’t have done it different.
For the first half of the 2000s, I had this thing with Marv and Jeff where we’d drive around looking for basketball courts that open late–either officially (like USC, with their 24 hour bball hoops) or unofficially (a park that is not gated and has enough light source nearby).
I read books and I did exercises that worked on my lateral movement. I didn’t work out for looks (like all these clowns at the gym wearing skin tight outfits and staring at themselves in the mirror as they lift…that’s just GAY) I worked out to get faster, stronger, better at basketball.
This stopped when I moved to Hong Kong. Originally not by choice–I simply didn’t have time, place, or the friends, to play ball with. But over the last two years, my lack of balling has become a choice. I first noticed this in 2009 when I purposely missed a few games because I was too tired from work. I knew then times are a-changing–I would never miss basketball for anything back in the days.
My love for the game is still here. I still check ESPN on a daily basis, I still debate basketball on internet forums and I still know more about the league than 99% of all cats I know. But the playing part? It’s fallen off. I dunno if it’s due to aging, or what not. But it’s happened. I live down the street from an “unofficial” late night court right now and I’ve only gone once in the last month.
2003 would look at me and shake his damn head.
So without basketball to work towards, I had to find something else to work on. Lately, I’ve been forcing myself to learn a few new words daily. I even have a little notepad for all these words. I follow dictionary.com on twitter, where they have a “word of the day” tweet. One word isn’t enough, so I log on to the site and look through the archives for word of the days dating back to 2004.
English isn’t my native language. And although it’s solid for someone who didn’t learn the language until he was 9, it’s still behind the true native speakers (well, some. the average working-class Americans are actually pretty fucking mediocre at grammar/spelling).
So yeah. I think one of the ways to stay happy/motivated is to have hobbies and have passions. If I have the money/tools/time, I’d like to mess around with pro tools and make some beats. I’d like an iMac and edit/cut some videos. I don’t want to waste money going to school or have private lessons, I want to read books on it and fuck around on it and get it right on my own. Or at least half right. It’s a hobby.
Basketball was my biggest hobby. All these other hobbies got some big shoes to fill.
Anyway, here’s a word I learned today that totally applies to me: dishabille. I am dishabille on most days.