A couple of months ago, my teammates and I organized a friendly basketball game between my amateur team and a team composed of players who were born around the year 2000 (technically speaking, they compete in the U20 local tournament). As usual, I was excited about the idea of playing against players that young. Although I know they are faster, jump higher, and have more stamina, I love this kind of challenge. Fighting to catch up with them is primarily a form of competition. Given the fact that I can’t compete with them athletically, I need to maximize my advantages which are basically experience and knowledge of the game. As such, playing these guys is a tough physical and mental challenge.
Unfortunately, on game day my painful Achilles tendinitis flared up. Nevertheless, I bit the bullet because I didn’t want to miss the game at all. However, I think that I never felt so sad on a basketball court; not even when I experienced my worst defeats. Our opponents were careless. They didn’t seem to care about what was going on the floor. The final score was something like 158-84 for us but they seemed not to care about it at all. They were apathetic and lethargic. They didn’t communicate with each other. They simply looked empty. I felt so bad that, after a few minutes of playing, I requested a substitution and I sat on the bench for the rest of the game. I just couldn’t continue to stay on the floor. It hurt too much. It was way more painful than the tendinitis I fought against to play the game. I thought that nothing could turn me off of playing basketball but I was wrong. At the end of the game, things got even worse. Their locker room was close to ours. We could hear distinctly loud music playing in their room. They were having a party right after being humiliated by a group of amateur, older players! I honestly didn’t get what they were celebrating. You were just been beaten by 70 points and the first thing you can think about is to party? I was speechless.
I don’t know if I’ll meet these guys again. If it happens, I would like to talk to them. I would like to ask them the following questions.
- How is it that you seem to feel nothing on a basketball court?
- How is it that you are so disrespectful of the game I am so crazy about?
- How is it that you don’t get upset when you can’t guard your opponent who is twice your age?
- Don’t you realize that your body language is horrible and insulting?
- How is it that you are not pissed off by the fact that you were being humiliated by older players who should have been overwhelmed by your energy and your enthusiasm?
- How dare you scar the game, my game?
- And finally, the most important one: why do you play basketball?
After that, if I could, I would like to make them spend a workout day with Italian paralympic athlete Bebe Vio, who was born in the nearby city of Venice. I think it would be an outstanding coaching session for them.
PS: I think this episode is a blatant example of why the communication with millennials is so difficult.
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