Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Blog as anger management

Strong feelings always make me come back to blogging. When something bad or stupid or frustrating happens to me, blogging about it is sometimes the only respite I receive. Or if someone does something and I can't respond or come to any resolution through conflict, ie. yelling at the person, blogging is all I can think of doing. It's as if immortalizing the incident in the printed word is retribution enough. Or at least it's the only retribution option left to me.

So, this is what happened. Ill Wind is midway through the summer season. I wasn't going to play on the team this summer, remember how I was getting frustrated with their lacksadaiscal play. But they approached me because they didn't have enough players to form a team. I hesitated, but it was a way to get more of my people in. I brought in Brit, a lanky 6'4" center, the one position that I thought we were severely lacking. All was well and good for the first few games. We were 2-1, the loss coming from a highly skilled team.

Then last night, we had to play against a team with only 4 players. They were missing some guys. The rules state that we play for the first 10 minutes 5 on 4, and then we have the option to call a forfeit. So the game starts and, here's the kicker, we are losing from tip off. They have one less player than us and they were outscoring us, outdefending us, and outhustling us from the first shot. The team had one excellent player, a black guy with a sick shot. He was everywhere, getting rebounds, shooting threes. I felt that our team was playing at half-mast, with one hand on our dicks trying to frig ourselves into some respectable formation. We had nothing.

Ten minutes pass and we're down by 8 or so. Then, incredibly, one of their teammates leaves the gym. Suddenly, it's 5 on 3. And we're still losing. Badly. I suggest going man on the remaining three and Ill Wind just looks at me blankly. "Huh? What's man?" Eventually, I go man on the black dude while the rest of them do a zone, a little box-and-one. He got a lot less shots off, but that kind of defense falls apart when the other two get wide open shots slicing through my illustrious teammates.

We were down by 12 at the half. I didn't know if we wereforfeiting or not because the captain, Jason, hadn't made a decision. He was just as aggravated as I was but he wouldn't do anything about it. I suggested talking to the other team and giving them two of our players so that we could at least have a five on five. Once again, I was met with, "Huh?" Christ, we were in a lose-lose situation. If we won, we beat a team of three. Big Whoop. If we lost, then we lose to a team of three. Winston actually says to me, "If we lose to three guys, then we deserve a loss." Well, yes, of course, but then let's go out and make sure we win.

I forgot to mention one thing. The main guy on their team never stopped mouthing off. He had words with the refs, with me, with everyone else on my team, even people on his team. That's not uncommon in this league but with him there was a sense of maliciousness, of derision. He was unsportsmanlike, basically. He was a dick.

So the second half starts and it's more the same. Some shitty playing from Ill Wind, and the black dude making absolutely sick shots from three point land. Then the real incident happened. I didn't see this but apparently the dude actually threw the ball at Han in response to being fouled or something. Robert told the black dude to cool off. Walking down the court with the ref behind him, the dude said to Robert, "If you get in my face one more time, I'm going to punch you in the face. I'm going to put you in the hospital." He said it quiet enough that the ref didn't hear him. But I did.

I came up to the two of them and tried to get the ref's attention. "He's threatening us," I said. The ref didn't listen but I continued to try to get him to hear what's going on. Finally, the ref whistled, turned towards the scoring table and made the T with his hand. "Technical foul. Black 33. Unsportsmanlike conduct." My number is 33.

What the fuck? I get tagged with the techinical? What did I do? A player is threatening my teammate with physical violence and I get a technical. Where is the justice in that?

I didn't know what to do. I walked off the court. Told someone to go in for me and I started getting ready to leave. What's the point? I could not continue playing this sham of a game. If I had made a huge scene and screamed my head off like I felt like doing, I would have been the asshole. But if I left, I felt like I was abandoning my team and I was also being an asshole. I didn't know what to do. Eventually, I walked over to the scoring table and kept score for a long time.

We made a late game surge but still lost by 3. I made a beeline for the ref to discuss what happened. I was very clear and concise. My voice may have been high in decibels but I didn't feel like I was yelling or anything. Robert and Jason come over and try to get in on the discussion. But all they end up doing is telling me to calm down and not to yell at the ref. I a little bit flipped out at Robert, "No, I'm not going to calm down. The game is over, we're not losing anything by talking to this guy. He fucked up and I'm going to tell him why." Then I walk away, letting them handle it.

I'm boring myself talking about it. It really made me think about anger and resolution though. I don't know what made me more mad, the ref bungling or my teammates telling me to calm down. I mean, really, the only reason I stayed after the game was to yell at the ref. I felt like I earned it. Yelling would have done nothing but I craved some form of conflict, some resolution. But that was thwarted by my teammates. I found myself arguing with them instetad of with the goddamned ref.

The whole ride home I was thinking about the incident. I will never get any closure from it. The ref will never say, "I made a mistake." My teammates will never say they should have let me yell at the ref. I will never "win" this fight. All I can do is rant. I can tell others about it. I can blog about it.

And that makes me feel better, I guess.

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