My knees haven't given up on me yet.
I play pickup basketball for fun.
I still have the speed and quickness. I might have lost one step. Because I'm not getting any younger.
I always like going to my left. It's my strong side. Because I'm a lefty in basketball. (I play tennis with my right hand.)
My younger-self only relied on my drives and passes. These were my strengths.
I never bothered to take a jump shot, even if I were open. Because I wasn't confident. I believed my teammates would hate me. I wanted to impress my teammates with my strengths. I only took jump shots whenever I warmed up.
My younger-self never utilized my speed and quickness. I was predictable on the offensive end. The defense knew I would go to my left and drive. They would sag off of me. And dare me to go right.
I'm more calm and relaxed. I read what the defense gives me.
A defender gives me space. I'm going to take the jump shot. A defender forces me to go right. I'm dribbling to my right. I see the defensive team on a 2-3 zone. I'm taking the jump shot, or I'm going for the teardrop. I see a trap swarming at me. I get rid of the ball right away. Or I dribble backward.
My younger-self would miss two jump shots in a row. I would pass the rock. I wouldn't even dare to take a jump shot anymore. This was my fear in basketball.
Anxiety would kick in. I assumed my teammates would be criticizing me. I was hard on myself.
Every time I missed a jump shot, I would hate on myself. I thought it was the end of the world for me. I would always shake my head whenever my shot didn't fall. It would get worst if my shot ended up with an airball (to the point where I attempt it and the ball doesn't touch the rim or backboard at all). I would get embarrassed. Then I would decide to pass or drive the ball.
I expected to be perfect.
No one is perfect.
For instance, the NBA is averaging about 36% in 3-point shots made at its first month of the season. It's not perfect. It's not even close to 100%.
School taught me 100-90% is a grade A, 89-80% is a B, 79-70% is a C, 69-60% is a D, and 59-0% is an F.
Again, the NBA is averaging about 36% in 3-point shots made this season. Let's say I missed a lot of 3-points shot in a pickup basketball game. And I wasn't able to make one.
I'm still at the grade F range alongside the NBA.
My anger and frustration would take over my mind. I never realized it's a pickup basketball game.
Meditating since June has given me a better understanding in life. Basketball is part of my life too.
I keep firing away. I like to shoot the basketball now.
I see my teammate with the hot hand. I give him the ball.
I continue learning and working on my offensive game. It challenges my mind and body. It takes patience and persistence.
I'm ready on what the defense gives me.
My younger-self would try doing this one fancy offensive move on a game. I never attempted it. Since I wasn't able to use it on what the defense had given me.
I like to have more weapons on the offensive end. Because I'll be ready to utilize them. And I can improvise on what the defense gives me.
For instance, a defender gives me space on the fast break. I don't need to dribble a lot. And go for a step-back jump shot. Or take a layup. (That's doing too much.)
Instead, I'll keep it simple. I'll take the pull-up jump shot. Or attempt the teardrop.
My younger-self would overthink on the court. Then I would settle for my strengths.
I struggle guarding a taller guy. But he has to chase me in the other end. It pans out.
It's easy to say and write. But it's a challenge every time I'm on a basketball court. I continue practicing and training my mind in competitive play from basketball.
It's being able to learn, apply, adjust, and execute as I continue to play basketball.
I play within the game.