Yesterday, I went to my local college’s rec center to play pickup basketball with my basketball playing black friend. I had the day off and wanted to do something fun, and I thought that would be it. I don’t attend the school, so I had to pay seven dollars to enter. I was under the assumption I would play until I was tired- simply game after game until I didn’t want to play anymore. That was anything but the case. In pickup basketball, the individual who calls “next” (or next game,) gets to choose who is going to be on their team. I was picked once. We lost. I was never picked again. Never being picked to play is a common occurrence for me in the basketball world. For some reason, being small and white is a slight deterrent to the next-ers of the court.
I started playing basketball when I was in fourth grade. That year, I wasn’t strong enough to get the ball to the basket from the free throw line. I played many minutes then, mostly due to the complete ineptitude of my team (we didn’t win a game all year.) That trend continued through the duration of elementary school.
Junior High was a whole new ball game. On the last day of try-outs, the coach sat me down and flat out told me he was going to cut me. I had no idea why this occurred. Just six months ago, I was a starter. I was just as skilled as the other boys, and I definitely had as much potential. As I started to well-up, he told me I could stay on the team, but I wouldn’t get much playing time. In the next two years, I got into only one game before halftime.
After the Junior High debacle, I decided to hang up the high-tops. I just couldn’t deal with the fact I never really got a chance. Many people have dealt with this over time, and we bench warmers have a combination of two things in common- a fear of inadequacy in literally everything that we do, and a much stronger desire to prove ourselves to the authoritative figures in our respective warm-assed lives.
This is a skill we men and women can use in our adult lives to propel us past the rich-parented ass-kissing always playing douche bags of our basketball days. They have no sense of desire to achieve something they do not have, for they’ve always been handed everything in their life. We do. We as benchwarmers will stop at nothing for approval. When given a seemingly impossible task, remember those days you spent bench-warming; the deep hatred you felt for your peers- and channel it into completing the task with more fervor than conceivably possible. You will be rewarded by once again watching the game courtside, seeing the starters out on the floor- but this time it will be the NBA Finals, and they’ll be wiping the sweat off the floor.