I’d been talking shit for quite a while now.
I have two nephews, Jordan, 17, and Isaiah, 14. I’ve watched both of them grow from the time they were born. I used to throw Jordan around a basement bouncy when he was a toddler. I used to pick pumpkins every fall from a patch alongside Isaiah. As the wife always says, they’re our two other kids.
That said, I wanted to destroy them. And told them so.
For a long time, I’d insisted that, should we play basketball, I would win—easily. Me Vs. the two of them. Jordan called bullshit. Isaiah called bullshit. Reggie, their dad, called bullshit. But I knew—absolutely knew—I’d win. First, I’ve been playing ball forever. Second, neither of them plays organized hoop. Third, I’ve got all the little tricks. The pump fake. The cross. The wrist grab. Tricks upon tricks. So, yeah, it’d be 2 on 1. But my one tops their two. I was quite certain.
Today, at long last, we played.
I took an early lead. Hit a few shots. Pump faked. It was 2-0. Then 3-1. I was rolling and secure in my abilities. This would be cake.
It all fell apart. Isaiah would drive, dish to Jordan behind the three-point line. I knew Jordan wouldn’t hit his shots. But he did. Repeatedly.
The sweat built on my forehead. My body tightened. My legs felt a bit fatigued. I tried to hide the symptoms of old, knowing damn well the tykes would use it against me. Alas …
“You’re old,” Jordan said.
Now, a 7-5 loser, my back hurts and my pride is wounded.
But I’ll be back, dammit.
I’ll be back.
PS: We played a second unofficial game. They, ahem, won that one, too. Fuck.