Every Wednesday night is hoops night at the Johnston’s. Around 8:30 guys from the neighborhood/ward show up, we turn on the flood lights, lower the back yard hoop to 8’6″, and run 3-5 games of full contact 3-on-3 dunk ball. Court rules include maker takes, ones for all buckets (even though there is a three point line), goal tending allowed anywhere except through the cylinder, dribbling in on the inbound is allowed, and walls/trees are out of bounds. (Don’t worry if that means nothing to you – I trust some of y’all will understand.)
Let me tell you – it gets pretty gnarly out there. In the last three weeks we’ve had a bloody nose, a sprained elbow, a couple of rolled ankles, a minor black eye, a cut lip, and loads of less visible knots and bruises. But man is it a blast! There are enough thunderous jams, bone-jarring picks, and glass clearing blocks to make it a must-play every week (though we keep it to once a week to give time to recover between games…)
So I have been thinking about this rough and tumble highlight of my week as it might compare to a few things that have been discussed here in the ‘nacle lately. Here are a few loosely related thoughts.
1) Mormons are good people to be friends with
These guys never cease to impress me. We’ve been running this brutal game for months and I’ve yet to hear a single f-bomb or other non-biblical swear word out there. When someone gets whacked hard or gets a fat lip we invariably hold the ball to check to see if our brother and friend is ok. Every time so far he has been and has not held any grudge — we just play ball again. Sometimes when someone does get beat up or really frustrated we’ll lay off a little and give up a thunder jam or something (especially if we have a good lead). There is a sort of unspoken concern we maintain for each other. These are really good men. They are, to a man, very competitive and very tough – but they are at core compassionate and thoughtful and good men. Yep, Mormons generally make good friends and thus they make good dunkball buddies.
2) Guys like to roughhouse
I’m not sure what it is, but the blood and bruises and posterizing one another with thunderous alley-oop jams is cathartic. Maybe it is a guy thing. Or maybe it is mostly these guys. But banging around under the hoop and smashing into each other going for a loose ball is just fun. The guys seem to always stop before anyone really loses his temper. It is just one of those things we all seem to silently know how to do.
I’ve noticed that this male roughhousing thing happens in the ‘nacle and here at the Thang too. For instance when Jeffrey, Christian, Blake, (and sometimes Clark and others) and I start going at it in a debate verbal elbows can start flying; black eyes occasionally result; but when it’s over I still really like Christian, Jeffrey, Blake and the others and look forward to our next bruising debate. Now maybe that is a guy thing and maybe it isn’t… but here at the Thang it is just the dudes that are involved in such roughhousing. I see women snarl at each other at times in the ‘nacle, but it usually seems much more serious and personal than when Jeffrey and I imply the other is a slobbering idiot just for fun. Is it just me that senses this? Is it really just easier for men to roughhouse online and offline and let it roll off?
3) “Lurkers” or “spectators”?
I hate calling people who read posts/threads without commenting “lurkers” – sounds so sinister. Perhaps a better term would be “spectators”. Using my basketball analogy it would definitely fit. The mosh pit we call hoops every Wednesday night is not for everyone – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting to watch. I think a lot of Mormon blog threads are sort of like that. Some of us like to get into the mosh pit to mix it up and lots of others are much happier viewing from the sidelines. I can understand that.
So the good news is my sprained elbow should be better by next Wednesday, the knot on my right temple is already going down, and my eye doesn’t even look black anymore. (And even with my wounds I threw down 3-4 dunks last night!) My bloggernacle wounds are similarly healing quickly. I’m ready to mix it up again. So what about you? How are your ‘nacle bruises and shiners healing?