The Problems with Playing Organized Sports as an Adult
Best case: You win. And 5 minutes later you never think about it again because, come on, you’re a middle-aged mediocre “athlete”. No one cares, nor should they. But at least you got some exercise.
Worst case: You lose. In some aggravating or embarrassing manner. You’re in your head for three days about it despite the fact that it’s meaningless and you know that. You aren’t really upset about the result, but why can’t you stop thinking about it?
The only guarantee: At least one guy you play against is a dickhead. Once you’e out of high school, you’re no longer forced to see jerks in your day-to-day life, it’s pretty simple to cut them out. But there’s always one on the other team, talking too much, embracing and forcing animosity for no reason. These men likely have wives or girlfriends, maybe even kids. They probably hate them, but they have them.
Wiping a butt, squeezing some Carnation through a nipple, mopping up the milk puke with a dishrag, all that was mere tasks and procedures, a series of steps, the same as the rest of life. Duties to pull, slow parts to get through, shifts to endure. Put your thought processes to work on teasing out a tricky time signature from On the Corner or one of the more obscure passages from The Meditations, sort your way one-handed through a box of interesting records, and before you knew it, nap time had arrived, Mommy had come home, and you were free to go about your business again. It was like the army; Be careful, find a cool dry place to stash your mind, and hang on until it was over. Except, of course (he realized, experiencing the full-court press of a panic that had been flirting with him for months, mostly at three o’clock in the morning when his wife’s restless pregnant tossing disturbed his sleep, a panic that the practice session with Rolando English had been intended, vainly, he saw, to alleviate), it would never be over. You never would get through to the end of being a father, no matter where you stored your mind or how many steps in the series you followed. Not even if you died. Alive or dead or a thousand miles distant, you were always going to be on the hook for work that was neither a procedure nor a series of steps but, rather, something that demanded your full, constant attention without necessarily calling on you to do, perform, or say anything at all. Archy’s own father has walked out on him and his mother when Archy was not much older than Rolando English, and even though, for a few years afterward, as his star briefly ascended, Luther Stallings still came around, paid his child support on time, took Archy to A’s games, to Marriot’s Great America and whatnot, there was something further required of old Luther that never materialized, some part of him that never showed up, even when he was standing right beside Archy. Fathering imposed an obligation that was more than your money, your body, or your time, a presence neither physical nor measurable by clocks: open-ended, eternal, and invisible, like the commitment of gravity to the stars.
“Beastie Boys filmed an unreleased musical performance of “The New Style” for the aborted 3rd season of “Chappelle’s Show” in late fall 2004. It was on a boat in the East River, NYC. Rest in Peace, Adam Yauch. You were excellent.”