Chapter 96: The Power of a Fishbone


I was nervous last night. It was my "return" to intramural sports. Granted, in the greater scheme of life and things, it was probably not all that epic for everyone else. Actually, I don't know if anyone noticed. They probably noticed that there was a middle-aged guy with glasses and a beard playing with a bunch of younger guys. It was probably kind of creepy looking, so I am sure it was epic in that security was notified to keep an eye on the creepy guy. (do they have security at the Colvin?) After a year of Isaac's Syndrome. After MRI's, CT-scans, MS clinics, ALS clinics, Motion-Disorder clinics, neurologists, rheumatologists (sp?), and 'ologists galore. So many blood tests I can't even remember (I am a pro at this), so many medicines I can't pronounce or spell. Lots of hours in the Infusion Center (lots of good nap-drooling there), and sitting in lazy-chairs watching NCIS, Law and Order, CSI, (they started all being the same show after a bit). Of learning how to walk, how to eat, learning how to use hand-rails, learning how to let others drive me, learning how to go through life slowly...after a year of relearning lots of this stuff...learning how to be humble. I was nervous. Because, although I had been able to relearn most of these things, last night was a test for me. I was going to to try to run - in public. Without having my son as a spotter. Without the handles of the treadmill. Granted, I can do pretty much what I want again - it just all takes place in 1st gear instead of 4th gear. Gotta have a plan - always. And for someone as prideful as I am - it can grind on you every now and then. Enter the Fishbones. The UC Fishbones are an intramural basketball team created in 1995-96 (?) by a bunch of guys who wanted to 'not play seriously'..and I mean that. We named it after charter team-member Brian Fisher..aka "Dr. Brian Fisher who teaches math (or something really smart) at Pepperdine now". I believe the opening conversation of that first team went something like this: "did anyone ever play in high school?" "No? OK..did anyone ever play any organized sports?" "you did?!!" "OK, you are starting." The Fishbones have never won a game. Ever. I think we almost tied a game back around 2000ish - but we missed the freethrows. One of those "make this and we're going all the way, Ollie!" moments. But Ollie missed. Does anyone remember who "Ollie" was that night? The Fishbones "kind of" stand against the normative protocol of organized intramural basketball. There is the "Travis Little Half Court Lay-Up" technique. Kylor Brice's two half-court shot night. Brandon Lam's hockey technique. Ricky Gootam's "five fouls in under a minute" episode. Cory Moore's "Calf Throwdown technique on rebounding". Brian "Stray Dog" Lehman's scrappy defense. Did I miss anyone?? Being of good church of Christ backgrounds, we like to test our referees in their knowledge of the "letter of the law". We have attempted drop-kick field goals, a long snap, and a Montana-to-Rice moment. We have tried to stage a fight once just to see how the refs would respond. We have had someone check into the game wearing ONLY a full-body morph suit. We have guarded ourselves. We have formed a human-pyramid using players from the other team to dunk a ball (who gets the foul on that one?). So I played last night. I laughed and smiled the whole time. I actually had a good time. Even made a basket or two. I watched our team laugh and have a good time. I watched the other team go from "This is serious because I played in a highly competitive high-school program" to "I think I'm going to try a shot from half-court too!" And that was one of my favorite parts! Seeing the other team relax, enjoy a night of laughter, easy-going exercise and even accept being a little-bit confused...and they still joined in. Back in 1996 we started the Fishbones to help us have fun and, perhaps, allow some students to enjoy being together. Little did I know that this creation would become a saving grace for me as a person. It would become a portal through which I can enjoy something that I was afraid was going to be taken away from me. I love basketball (and most sports that end in "ball"..."golf-ball???") - but I have secretly been mortified that I would be asked by Isaac's Syndrome to give these things up. Even though my opinion in the matter was of small importance - it still mattered to me. I just had to learn to "reframe" my life to be about God - and not myself. I suppose we all learn this one everyday. Lookin' forward to next Monday night at 6pm! "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (the apostle Paul)

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