Patella Blues

Unfortunately, I’m going to be looking at a lot of this for the next month or so:

Yeah, I broke my patella playing hoops last Sunday. It’s been a week and I’m climbing the walls.  (Or, actually, I guess I’m not, but I would be if I could.)  This hoop game, a moveable athletic feast around the gyms of greater Bath, has been a huge part of my life for over 30 years.

People often ask me, “How can you work out so much?” (They politely leave out the part “… for such an old guy…”) I laugh it off, but the truth is, I have to force myself to take days off. Playing hoops is one of the few things in my life where, when I’m doing it, I’m not thinking about anything else.  In most other activities, there are those moments where life’s problems still manage to find their way into the noggin and wreak some emotional havoc. Not when I’m ballin’.

I also love the people. Our gang of regulars ranges in age from the 20s to the 70s, with the majority weighted in the older half (thankfully!) of that range. We pretty much all have the same attitude, one that says, However good we once were, that’s gone and it’s not coming back. So, let’s respectfully get after it. Those who can’t or won’t carry that attitude on the court have been known to be asked to leave the game. Trash-talk is considered an art form, but somehow rarely crosses the line.

Among the lessons I’ve learned is that you can tell a lot about someone by the way he or she acts on a basketball court. Character reveals itself on the hardwood. This week I learned that it also shows itself off the court when I found a greeting card wedged into my front door. I opened the envelope and found this beautiful color print of Front Street, Bath:

The beautiful art work was done by Frank Roberts, one of our Bath Y regulars who is also a local architect. (Fun Fact: Hyde folks will be interested to learn that he is also a  Hyde alum parent: daughter Melina ’90.)

Then I opened the card to find an assortment of “get well” messages from the gang who happened to be at the Y that day:

Sticking with the Hyde theme, the well wishers include former faculty member John Ring, who you can see has offered to take all my shots while I’m gone.  (Hmmm… So what’s new, John?  You usually take them when I’m there…;-) The card is also signed by Richard Evans, a retired psychiatrist who counseled many Hyde students from the 1970s thru the 1990s. Rounding out the well-wishers are fellow members of the I.O.G.R… International Order of Gym Rats.

So, thanks guys/gals. And keep practicing, because… I’ll be back!

Onward, Malcolm Gauld