My friend and my sister both inquired as to why I play basketball given that in the past year I have:
a) dislocated my shoulder, though only partially
b) sprained my ankle enough such that one time I required crutches while another time I visibly limped for a few days
c) been poked in the eye
d) sprained the index finger on one hand and the middle finger on another
e) broken several pairs of glasses (when I wore glasses)
f) suffered numerous scratches, bruises, near fistfights, and occasionally a deflated ego
Moreover, the rationale for playing basketball decreases when one considers:
a) I play no defense
b) I am not that quick
c) I cannot rebound - not for lack of height or trying, but rather lack of instinct. I am the anti-Rodman - I intuitively go to where the ball isn't.
But I continue to endure these injuries and limitations precisely because I have one pretty decent skill - I can score. Generally with a jumpshot with a range up to 3 feet within the three-point line or with a variety of strange looking, unorthodox layups, hook shots, and runners, I can be the offensive anchor of any team (which has a rebounder, defensive presence, and a post player).
However, there is a caveat: not only is my scoring ability consistently inconsistent, it is also EXTREMELY streaky. I have played games where the ball sails through the air like a bullet fired from the rifle of a man with cerebral palsy, bending rim, backboard, air, other players, etc. And I have played games where it was easier for me to sink a shot than to even dribble, where an opposing player could grab both my arms and intentionally foul me, and my cranium would make the shot, soccer style. So basketball for me is better than going to Vegas. I do not know which version of my basketball playing self will show up, and so each time is essentially a new hand of blackjack.
What I also like about basketball is that you cannot lie or hide yourself when you play. Everything about your skill level in a decent game comes out, sometimes your strengths and usually all your weaknesses. While in my youth this may have been a metaphor for improvement and growth, lately I've realized playing basketball helps me accept who I am. I am unlikely to improve drastically (unless of course I enrolled in some sort of program, but I am not that committed to the sport) and so each time I play it is more about understanding my limitations and working with, versus against, them.
If you're in NYC and want to play, I'm usually in Stuyvesant town at 11:30a-noonish on the weekends.
If you challenge me to a game of H-O-R-S-E, I will kick your ass.