“Yo wanna get a quick game in with me and my friend?”
Aaron and I exchanged a nervous look. “Um.. we are kind of playing HORSE right now so ah..”
“Oh no problem just a quick game.”
He was a big guy. Well over six feet and dangerously athletic looking. I suspected I would be the one guarding him. I was tall too but, being new to the sport and unskilled, all my height had ever granted was the privilege of being destroyed by the biggest guy on the other team.
“Yeah, sure let’s play.”
“Okay great! Rich, get over here.”
Aaron let out a gasp. “Rich” was gigantic – somehow even bigger than his friend. I quickly updated my expected matchup.
“Alright 1s and 2s first to 11. Shoot for it.”
Aaron chucked up a three which promptly clanked wide – not an airball though which was usually a good sign for us.
“Um.. who do you want to guard?” I motioned hopefully in the direction of the giant guy.
“I’ll take…” Aaron looked from one to the other. I wondered what Aaron could be thinking about. “THAT GUY” he pointed to the giant. There was a moment’s pause as everyone exchanged confused looks.
“Okay… cool, I’ll take blue shirt.”
I checked the ball back to blue shirt. I heard a faint whimper followed by a series of powerful grunts. The giant was backing down Aaron in the post. Blue shirt tossed a lazy high arcing pass. The ball sailed over my head before coming to a stop in one of the giant’s huge outstretched hands. One hard dribble and we were down 0-1.
A few minutes later it was over.
“Good game guys! Do you want to run it back… maybe switch up teams?”
“I think we might want to get back to our game of HORSE.”
“Oh, let’s ask those guys if they want to play full court. Us against them – we can take ‘em!” Blue shirt pointed to the other side of the court at a group of PhDs stumbling around.
The two friends walked across the court, hopeful, but Aaron and I saw the fatal flaw in their plan immediately. We couldn’t make out what blue shirt was saying but we could see clearly all eyes locked on the giant. After some hand wringing and nervous laughter the offer was declined and the two returned.
“They didn’t want to play with us.”
“Haha that’s odd.”
“You want to call next over there?” Blue shirt pointed to the adjacent court.
“Nah, I think we’ll get back to our game of HORSE.”
“Alright, sounds good man. Nice playing with you guys!”
The pair moved off our court, blue shirt taking the lead and the big man ambling behind.
“Do you think I pissed off the big guy when I chose to guard him instead of blue shirt?” Aaron asked.
“I don’t know. Probably.”
“Did you expect his friend to be that absurdly huge?”
“Haha no… I was like.. WHERE WAS HE HIDING THAT WHOLE TIME? Like seriously, it’s like he materialized out of nowhere.”
“I never would’ve said yes if I saw him.”
“Yeah exactly. That’s why he’s so good at hiding.”
“Anyways, what’s the score? I think it’s my turn. I call this one ‘The Zeus.’ Prepare yourself.”
I proffered the ball in my left hand and drew back my right as if drawing the string of a bow. I took careful aim at the basket. “HIT ‘EM WITH THE ZEUS!” Aaron shouted excitedly. I clenched my fist and punched the ball towards the rim. This was basketball. Now we were having fun.