I Am Not a Baller

I️ enjoy basketball, but seriously, it’s so damn hard to me. And I️ can’t do anything about it.

It’s already clear this 30 day challenge is pushing my boundaries. I️’m now writing about basketball (this should be good). Originally, I️ wanted to stay true to a few subjects, but it might be better to leave it all fair game. After all, this challenge is somewhat experimental, so I️ might as well try some new things.

Okay, this basketball biz

I’ll admit it: I’ve never been good at basketball ever in my entire life. I️ can’t think of a single moment that makes me hesitate to put that in writing. I️️️ am really bad. Tonight, I️ was reminded where I️ fall on the spectrum of basketball talent.

Just so you have an image in your head, I’m a fairly athletic person. I️ played football all throughout high school. I️ work out almost everyday, I’m not overweight or anything. I’m just really awful and awkward when it comes to basketball.

Despite my laughable lack of skill, I️ still enjoy the game. I️ shoot around from time to time, always by myself though. It’s the only way I️ have a shot (pun) at making anything. I️ really have to focus on the whole shooting motion. Yes, I️’m cringing as I️ type this, I️ understand how lame it sounds.


So I️️’m casually shooting around just like always. But tonight, something unusual happens — the ball’s going in the goal. A rare thing for me! I️ don’t know what it was, but I’m making damn near every shot. Mid range, behind the arc, everything. I️ drained seven in a row at one point. Yeah, I️ counted because after five I️ was in total disbelief. Statistically, that should be the last time that happens for the rest of my life.

So, this is great. I’m throwing ‘em up and the shots are falling. You can bet I had some swagger in my step.


I️ go to the fitness center on campus where there are six courts, so a lot of pick up games are going on typically. I️ never play. But my sudden burst of talent must of made me look like a high-grade prospect for a game.

Dude approaches me and asks “Wanna run 5 on 5?” Normally when people ask me this, I️ laugh and tell them there’s a reason I’m over here by myself. But tonight? Tonight is different. Michael Jordan himself blessed me with uncanny basketball talent for this one evening!

Tonight, I’m f*cking playing. “I’m in.”

Game on

Alright, I’m doing it. I’m in the mix, ready to make these guys look sorry. They picked the wrong night to ask me to play.

The game starts. We’re doing the basketball thing. I️ want the ball, I’m eager to shoot my shot. I’m feeling it.

It finally comes my way. I️ do the through the legs jazz (this looks cool) and I try to set up a shot. Ball in hand, I️ pump fake to the right and ever so elegantly fade away for a mid range jumper. Oh, it felt good. “This things actually going in” I️ says. I’m already back pedaling to the other end of the court, the shot felt so good.


I️ miss the entire rim and the ball thumps off the upper right corner of the back board. Like really hard, like really not close at all. First shot is always a miss, right? I️ keep going, still half optimistic I️ can make a shot. Wrong-o! Shots two, three, four, AND five miss too. I️ end the game with zero points. I️’m deflated. Not a single basket.

My basketball powers are gone.


This is how it goes for me. I swear it’s the hardest sport ever created. “Here, just loft this ball into an 18 inch circle from 15 feet away. Oh and don’t forget, everyone is dying to block the shit out of you. Good luck!” I️ don’t get it. It’s impossible.

Nothing you can do

You can’t do anything either. No matter how hard you try, you can’t make the ball go in. This is why it’s so frustrating. In football, you can hustle into better play; you can do something if you get frustrated. You can run harder or hit somebody for crying out loud — your effort makes a difference. Not the same for basketball.

Alright, I’m done griping. I️t’s just not meant to be.

I️ guess the moral of this story is some things never change. I’m still really bad at basketball.




Bored, uneducated, homeless — em dashes are my specialty. I write what I see, think, and feel. That’s it.

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Alec Zaffiro

Alec Zaffiro

Bored, uneducated, homeless — em dashes are my specialty. I write what I see, think, and feel. That’s it.

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