Darren Cole is a sports writer for St. George News and is participating in the Huntsman World Senior Games for the first time. He is compiling this diary to document his experience.
You know when you are playing a team and there is one guy who plays for that team that you don’t have to worry about. You know, kind of dorky-looking, can’t dribble very well. He is the one you have no problem leaving alone to double-team the guys who can actually play. Yeah, today that was me.
So I had my first game in the 5-on-5 basketball today. I initially was not going to play because, one, I could not find enough guys to fill a roster, and two, I planned on helping officiate and administrate this week. But as often happens in the Senior Games, guys get picked up in the first week of 3-on-3 action. I was flattered to be picked up by Shelf Life, a team out of Washington State. They took bronze in the 3-on-3 and seemed like great guys. There was no conflict with the officiating because I have no games in my age bracket.
So after officiating two other games today, I walked into the gym where I was scheduled to play. Shelf Life had nine guys there today, and if you ranked the players, I am number nine. I am just happy to be on the team. Watching my team warm up, I realized that not only could they all shoot, but they also seemed to move a lot faster than I was moving.
I played great today. I hit my 3-pointers and I think I was 4 for 5 from two-point land. I also had a couple of assists that I can remember and a steal. The steal was nothing special, the other team threw it right to me as if I were the intended target. But my shooting percentage was so high because I was always open. Like 7-11. My teammates were drawing the double-teams and dishing it to me under the basket. The guy guarding me would go help and no one would rotate — like I said, I was the weak link.
Not that I play badly — just comparatively to my new teammates, who, even though I don’t have their names down yet, I now consider family.
We played a team from Boise. They showed up with only three guys, but added a few guys from the 3-on-3, including one of my former teammates — Kevin. Interestingly, Kevin played better today than when he did last week. A lot better. Other players on my team kindly pointed that out to me. I was happy for Kevin. Finally broke out of his slump — just as he leaves my team.
So tomorrow is our second game and I have been told we will have another teammate that played softball today — which means soon I will be 10th best player on the roster.
One thing I really enjoy is talking to the athletes, finding out where they hail from, and just talking basketball or other less important subjects. Today I spoke to players from the other team. During the game. One thing that seems to be a theme with these games is when an opposing player makes a great move, instead of trash talk flowing, there are comments from the other team acknowledging the great move.
As someone who has officiated high school basketball for 11 years, as well as many AAU, city league, and the dreaded church ball, I can say that I don’t see that too often.
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