Monday, 12 April 2010

Reliving Old Times (Again)

Bannu and I actually go back a long way. Although we only realised that once I came to Chennai and hung out a bit, doing what we did the last time we met- playing basketball. The difference was this, now we were playing together while back then (in Dec 1994, to be precise), we were playing against each other, she for her Kanpur team and I for my Chennai one. It was, of course, not a big deal tournament or anything when you think about it but it was still fun and meant a great deal to us both and I think we both did well then.

We have been playing together every few days now. Bannus husband is a rock solid basketball player. My husband is of course A Tall Person and therefore must be good at Quidditch, uhh, I mean basketball. We have played together a fair bit and, when we are not fighting royally about it (mostly because he gives me lot of unsolicited advice about my game, which I think is just fine, what WNBA scout is looking, really?), have some good moves up our sleeve for public consumption.

Anyway, this past weekend was a fantastically awesome one because we had the chance to play in a three a side tournament here, on campus. Students organised it, and it consisted mostly of student teams from various hostels and so forth, with a good sprinkling of the college team players. We play with all these guys so we sort of know (and are known by) all. So it was cool to walk up to this real giant of a guy (A Very Very Tall Person), and to bellow from his knee region, 'We want to field a team. We will have girls in it.'

So that is how it came about that we kitted out and went up on Friday night. We casually took our first round match # 1. The second match was a walk over, so we were in round 2, for Saturday, sort of casually, and my husband being out of town on Friday, this was just based on Bannu, Bannu's RRS, and yours truly. As in, two girls and a guy, y'all (no pizza either). The boys we beat on Friday were of course very young, and it was really not a big deal. I at least have been playing basketball since before these kids were born, I think. Its just too bad that I did not grow (nevertheless) beyond my five foot frame, and have ankles that are shot to pieces. RRS is miles beyond these kids in every possible thing - skills, brains, training, stamina, etc. And Bannu! This Girl Is A Spit Fire, I tell you. A Spit Fire. Thats the only way to describe her.

Come Saturday, husband back in town, the odds were stacked somewhat better in our favour. We took our two games that day fairly casually. But only because of some spectacular defense (against The Very Very Tall Boy) by RRS, and some excellent plays by all of us (not just the men, I swear). Bannu and I decided to substitute for each other, so that there was only one (short) woman on the court at any time. (Bannu is not as short as I am, but really, she is a small one for a basketball court ya, for sure, even in India and in our geek campus).

So then Sunday. Semi-finals and finals were the only games left. Although I did not voice it, I went in saying in my mind 'We are going all the way, we are WINNING this whole damn thing, not just the semi-final' The semi-final was against these three guys from outside the campus, whom we play all the time. I felt super confident that we could win against them. Despite the fact that one of them is taller even than RRS and my husband, and shoots some spectacular three pointers. I felt super super sure that Bannu & I could take care of the weakest member on their team - a slightly plump (but strong) fellow. And we did. And with that out of the way, it was the final.

I was not so sure about our ability for the final match-up. The team was young. The college team captain, another kid somewhat tall, and a third guy who clearly knows the game very well. But, somehow (strangely! this has never happened before in my past life, I swear), I knew we had to win it, and that we would, although the odds were clearly against us. We are about 2x their age. The foreigner type guy has a phenomenal jump shot. The captain fellow obviously has good basketball instincts. We had a tough day. Shopping for a somewhat meaningful gift for child's upcoming birthday, in the Chennai heat. Late lunch. A work event (husband's) for which I had to don a sari. A shady thumb - infected for sure, ignored till post-match. Bad ankles (me). Bad knees all around, obviously if you have played as much basketball as we all have. But what the heck!

Gender = Just a Letter
Age = Just a Number
Injuries = Are for pansies

All the way, baby, all the way, and back (six point game). And no further injuries (most importantly!). A good endorphin high. An underdog victory. And come Monday morning, back to being profs, parents, and traveling consultants. An overall feeling of satisfaction! I love the game, I think I do well, I know I have my limitations, I have my off days, but I feel happy that I brought my good game yesterday and did not let my team down. But mostly, I am just grateful that I had the chance to play with these two Bannu and RRS who are just phenomenal people. Its also appropriate that that court, where we played yesterday, is exactly where, back in 1991, I played a match (which we finally lost) in which I made around 12 fast break conversions as a tiny freshie college girl and this hulk of a guy walked up to me and patted me on the head and said 'Good game kid.' I did not make that many baskets last night, I have become a much better defender though and he said 'Good game Kenny' last night in the car ride home....


ChoxBox said...

WAY TO GO KENNY! This has to go to 95sarayu!

ChoxBox said...

and, knew the hulk = traveling consultant even before i read the last line :) :) :)

Pipa said...

Wuhoo!! Super............

It is like Chennai 600036 .

(ah if you've seen Chennai 600028) you might know what I am talking about!

Bannu said...

What a wonderful weekend that was! Boss, you and your hulk are top players. It was a thrill to be in the team with you guys and we sure played like a team.

dipali said...

You guys are truly awesome! Lovely post.

Serious Lounger said...

hmm, finally i figure out where and when they met.. after 19 years.. duh! this gets worse and worse for me :D.. well, to weaken your team from next year onwards, hopefully i will be around.. havent played basketball since an illfated attempt 12.5 years back in Calcutta.. so i guess i will collapse or something after 5 mins.. :D :P.. good show peoples..

Pipa said...

Ha, ha I knew there had to be a baski connection though I wonder why I never thought to just ask you.

Hey my new Tamil word for today.

Ila + venil

It is soo... lyrical if I had a daughter I would've named her that.

SrgntPepper said...