i used to love basketball. great game. had a blast. but. but never in my wildest dreams could i imagine myself at the highest levels. at 185 cm, i was either too short, or worse, not too short, did not have the dazzling speed and hand eye coordination needed to be an elite player at my height. i used to imagine that if i had been 10, 12 cm taller but with the same speed and hand eye, i could have been a pro …
god that was embaressing to write. but part of pro sports allure is that it is a daydream land where everyday joes can head to when “real” life gets stressful or just plain boring. the same thing happens in action movies – you imagine yourself as the hero. i am sure that there is some fancy title for this phenomenon.
no, all that explanation didn`t help. i am still embaressed by that first stanza i wrote. eh, not the first time i have felt embarressed in my life, so lets move on.
basketball, great game that it is, is flawed. imho. the game is size / location specific. big bastards stand near the hoop. slightly smaller big bastards stand a little further away from the hoop. small ridiculously fast bastards stand near the 3 point line. and imho, the amazingly fast athletic little bastards can only be peripheral figures. any discussion of the greats of the game centres on kobe bryant, lebron james, michael jordan, magic johnson, larry bird, wilt chamberlain. all men who were at least 200cm tall. small guys are role players. not stars. imho. and yeah, i am simplifying.
it is pretty damn hard to imagine yourself as michael jordan. or shaquille o`neal. you might as well imagine being an alien, or a bird, or a cloud.
but any kid (or sorry, pathetic reality escaping adult male) can imagine themselves as leo messi. or if that is too hard, you could imagine being charlie miller. there is a place for everyone on the football field. if you are imagining yourself as peter crouch … what can i say, i am sorry for you. um, yeah, but there is a place for everyone on the football field, no matter how small, how fat, or how slow – (how could i forget riquelme?).
the other important factor is that any size player can slot into any part of the field. captain caveman carlos puyol, fabiano cannivaro and kolo toure play central defence, despite being munchkins. xavi and iniesta play down the middle. messi, tevez, romario play at the front. great big hulking athletic adonises also play in these positions, but a player of any size can play pretty much anywhere.
if messi was a basketballer, he would be a guard. there would be no chance of him being a forward or centre. okay, messi could not be a goalkeeper, but i am gonna ignore that.
and i haven`t even mentioned the fact that anything can be used as a park, anything can be used as goal posts, anything can be used as a ball (but don`t use a kitten as the ball, that would be very very bad).