hello, get out of my house.

these filipino kids and i were about to play a game of three-on-three when these black kids showed up. do you wanna play five-on-five, one of them asked. i didn't. these kids looked sloppy, and they wore jeans, and one even had on a jacket. i knew they weren't going to play for real. but if any of us had refused, we'd come across probably looking like a bunch of racists. and then there was the possibility that the black kids might even start some shit. i can't believe i'm a college-educated adult, and a part of me still worries that a group of black kids might jump me.

we started playing, and the black kids were annoying as hell. they played sloppily, called fouls whenever they missed, and they talked mad shit. it's our ball, one would say, when it clearly wasn't. then a girl came in, taking the place of one of the fat ones, and it was all over after that. so, i'm a racist and now i'm sexist as well. but come on, a girl playing with a bunch of guys? it's ridiculous. for one, you can't guard her like a man (even if you aren't attracted to her, which is usually the case), you'll look like a dick if you try to block her shot, and if you accidentally foul or hurt her in anyway, you can bet something bad's gonna happen.

one guy on our team just kept hanging out at the other end of the court, cherry-picking, and we'd lob it down to him just about every play. it wasn't even a real game. just some black fools with a height advantage tapping in the rebounds, and us, cherry-picking. it came to a screeching halt when one of the black dudes flagrantly fouled someone on our team. black dude grabbed the flip by the arm, almost pulling him down, and dude didn't even apologize. the flip was pissed off, and he just went and sat down. so what then, one of them said, you guys done? the black fools finally got the point, and they headed off. didn't even bother saying good game or slapping hands or anything.

after they had left, we got a decent game of two-on-two going. i started to believe, and more of my shots started going in. i've only recently started believing. i don't know how i managed before, when i played on a team in junior high, and i didn't believe. how did i even play? i'd throw some shit up there and hope, but not believe. at recess and at practice, i'd be fine because there was no pressure. but come game time, my legs didn't seem to work anymore, and my arms felt like noodles. i could feel the crowd watching. i could feel the pressure, the imminent choking. i don't think i ever made a single free throw.

i was a shot blocker, anyhow. that's what i've been and will always be. i don't remember most of the shots i've taken. i don't remember any of the plays we even ran tonight. all i remember is one of the black kids (with a height advantage) coming up for a layup, and boom. there was my hand. knocking the ball out of bounds, out of sight. and how one of them said, ooh, that was a block! a block and a half. one of my happiest moments in life is blocking michael garcia, a kid a grade ahead of me, who once challenged me to a game of one-on-one. and then in eighth grade, during a game, when i got this burst of energy, of speed, and i came up out of nowhere to reject this douche on a fastbreak. hell, i'll even swat my younger cousin just because.

i don't know what that says about my personality that i love rejecting more than i love scoring. i've seen kevin garnett do it more than any other player, and i've always felt an affinity for him because of it. i like that he won't even let other players take practice shots. maybe it's the only outlet i've ever had for being unable to say no to anyone. in the past, people have asked me for favors, asked me for money, asked for help with something, and me being me, i've more or less always obliged. being on the court is the only time i can say no with absolute certainty.

so yeah, i let those black kids play. but i did everything i could on defense to make sure they wouldn't coming back.

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