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It’s official – I’m an old fat guy trying to be a kid

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

312_stopthepresses.jpg“Don’t write about us old fat guys out here trying to be kids.”
I don’t know that my friend Scott was trying to get me to do what I’m doing now – you know, writing about us old fat guys out on a basketball court in an Augusta County Parks and Rec league trying to be kids.
But it did get me to thinking …

“If I did, I’d have to write about how bad I’m playing,” I said to Scott as we toed the blocks as one of Scott’s teammates attempted a free throw.

My team is oh-and-whatever – technically, we do have one win, but it was by forfeit, so I don’t count that one.

We’ve been in every game but one – a 67-38 loss to a team that I swear I saw playing UVa. in an exhibition last fall, but I could be wrong on that.

Aside from that one blowout loss, we’ve come down to the last two or three minutes every time – and lost every time.

“We’ve got that losers’ mentality,” one of my teammates, Tim, said the other night after we lost 39-31 in a game that was tied at 26 with five minutes and change left to go.

And I have that I-can’t-make-anything-I-shoot mentality going for me right now.

I’m averaging five points a game on about 2 percent shooting from the field – this from a guy who averaged 15 points a game in intramurals in college and was the 1994 free-throw shooting champ at UVa.

I’m even 2-for-5 from the foul line this year – I made 24 of 25 to win the shirt signifying my IM free-throw prowess in 1994, for those keeping score at home.

“Keep shooting. It’ll come to you.”

I’m hearing that way, way too often these days – considering that we’re seven games in, and I’m still waiting for it to come to me.

Maybe I don’t want to admit that I’m just an old fat guy trying to be a kid – actually, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to admit that.

The way I can tell there is that I show up for games a half-hour early to get early to get some extra shooting work in – and I’ve been going to the YMCA on off-nights to hasten the working off of the rust.

The problem isn’t really basketball rust – I’m Robert Horry until the opening tip, at which point I morph into Roberto Duran, “The Man with the Hands of Stone,” and a bricklayer to boot.

To be blunt, I think this is where the old-fat-guy-trying-to-be-a-kid part kicks in.

But hey, all you can do is go back out there and keep tryin’. Right?

“As long as nobody has to read about how bad we play …” were Scott’s parting words to me the other night.

Um, er …


Chris Graham is the author of Stop the Presses: A Collection of Columns. More information on the book is available at

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