This is very important for reference as related to tonight's blog topic.
During those years, I played on the Stetson Hills basketball team in our annual Church league, which runs from January through the end of March (roughly). I became great friends with many men on that team over those years. Most years we were either the best team or a very close second place (although there is no official trophy or playoff system ... you just go with straight wins and losses).
People like Jeff Murrow, Kirk Blad, Rick Evelo, Darrin Wilde (when he came out to play), and Brian Null became more than just my teammates. These were truly my brothers, and not just like "Brother Jeff," I mean like guys that I felt like I could always count on and they could always count on me.
In March of last year, my family was growing and so we moved into our current house. Based on the boundaries, this forced our move to a new ward (Oakwood) instead of Stetson Hills ... which meant I would need to switch teams. You have to understand here that historically during this time, these two wards were often the #1 and #2 teams in our league. Or at least if they played their best players they would be the two best teams (Oakwood often had inconsistent attendance in the games against less competitive teams).
I can't say why, other than sheer competition, but there was something of a hatred of these other players on the basketball court. Off court, we were always very civil to one another and honestly things were more than just cordial, they were near friendly. But once that whistle blew, all bets were off.
Needless to say, I dreaded the switch to my new team. I felt like the kid in the Mighty Ducks who gets moved from the "cake-eater" team to the "less fortunate" club ... except in reverse. Perhaps my perceived aire of authority and what I like to call "general belief of betterness" of the Oakwood team, made me feel this way.
Regardless, once this year's schedule came out, I knew this night would come. I would be forced to either skip a basketball game ... or play against my ... brothers.
To keep this blog from being inordinately long (too late), I'll sum the game up this way: it went WELL. Tempers never really flared up (which is a HUGE rarity in this rivalry!) on either side of the ball. It helped that Oakwood had a large lead early on, but Stetson Hills made a remarkable comeback and were within 3 points at halftime. Coming out of the half, our two fastest players (that used to always be me) had several steals and fast break points to build the lead back to 15 or 16 ... and we never looked back. Final score: 74 to 60.
Ultimately, I wanted a blow-out ... and I actually didn't care who was on the winning end ... I just wanted it to be relaxing at the end without any arguing or stress. Mission accomplished. I am finding new friends on this new team and there is fun to be had again, without the need for officials to intervene.
But the best news is ... I don't have to shave my "Unbeaten Beard" yet!
(Pictures to be provided at the end of what I hope to be an unbeaten season)
Woot woot! :)