Bob Otto has been disparaged by many of his former basketball coaches as a poor defender, bad passer, weak rebounder, and so-so shooter. Yet at 67 he ignores their critique and the painful cries of his aging body, and continues to play hoops. The sport he has loved since boyhood.
DRAYSON CENTER, LOMA LINDA, Calif. – Foolish, risky, and what the hell was I thinking? All three assertions applied to my senior basketball venture on Monday at the Drayson Center. I decided a “two-for” was in order. Meaning playing basketball twice in a day – once in the morning from 11:30 – 1:15 and at night, 6 – 7:40.
17 year olds laugh at two-fors. And it’s no challenge even for 27 year olds. But at 67? At 40 years past my prime? It’s like opening the door for injury and saying, “come right in and wreck havoc with my old body.”
All my appendages and muscles (most of which are rapidly deteriorating) from the bottom of my feet to the top of my salt-and-pepper head were put at risk from the physically demanding two-for.
Especially my fragile left ankle. I had just been freed from 10 weeks of a spat of painful tendonitis. But on Sunday the ankle felt great; it turned and torqued and rotated like a frisky colt romping around a corral.
So Monday I decided a test was due. Why test the fragile ankle’s limits of basketball endurance? Why risk a setback from a two-for? See foolish and what-was-I-thinking in my opening line.
When I awoke Tuesday morning, I swung my legs out of bed and gingerly arose to my full 5-feet-9 stature (yes, little guys still play in the land of the giants). I took one step, then two. No pain, no creaking or crackling of the left ankle, or any other joints. What a glorious occasion! For I had just passed the two-for test.
Will I do it again? Once more, please refer to the first line.