Played basketball a few weeks ago against a kid who was wearing AirPods on the court.
It pissed me off.
He was, oh, 17. Maybe 18. And as one who was, long ago, 17 or 18, I knew exactly what he was trying to say: You matter so little to me as an opponent that I’ll simultaneously enjoy the sounds of Drake and kick your ass.
I’ve been there. I remember being a teen, placing meaning in every item of clothing, every slant of a hat brim. It’s the need to show I’m-so-cool-I-don’t-care, even though you’re actually so insecure you do care. That’s how social development works. Trial and error. Highs and lows. Testing, experimenting, finding a voice.
Well, the AirPods during pickup voice is one I don’t care for.
Because I’m 46, and because this kid was young enough to be my son, I wisely ignored his intended statement. I didn’t elbow him in the head or take out a knee. I didn’t talk shit or sling yang or call his game pudding. Instead, I did what old basketball players did: I immediately noticed he brought the ball to his waist before going up for shots, and repeatedly spiked it from his hands. I noticed he had no left, and played him hard right. I pump faked him four or five times before he realized he was being pump faked.
Then, at the end, I asked where he bought his AirPods.