One of my previous employers made me exercise three times a week. I would literally be violating a federal law if I didn’t exercise as directed. Think about that when you’re complaining about all the things your boss makes you do.
Sometimes I was allowed to exercise on my own. If the weather was good, I would ride my bike for a couple hours. If the weather sucked, I would find an unoccupied rowing machine or treadmill at the gym and crank on that for an hour or so.
Sometimes, though, we did a group thing. Usually we ran. I got pretty good at running until my knees got old.
There was this one time a bunch of us played basketball. I don’t know a thing about basketball. Well, I know one thing: the ball goes in the hoop. That’s it. I don’t know the positions they play, I don’t understand the strategy. I don’t even understand what people are talking about when they try to explain basketball to me. It’s like when people try to talk to me in a foreign language: I just grin at them like a moron until they give up.
I told the PT monitor I didn’t know anything about basketball. “I’m not saying I don’t want to play, I’m just warning you.”
“Sounds like a ringer,” somebody said.
“No, honestly,” I pleaded, “I know absolutely nothing about basketball.”
“Yeh, whatever,” the PT monitor answered. He didn’t believe me, either.
I guess I can sort of understand that, basketball being a sport that almost everybody follows religiously. It would be like someone telling you he didn’t know a thing about breathing, or something else everybody knew about as if it was second nature.
There were five of us to start, so we broke up into teams of three and two. I was on the team of two. “Take the ball out,” the PT monitor said, tossing the ball to me.
“Take it out where?” I asked, so he explained it to me. Apparently I had to start the game by standing out of bounds and throwing it to him, which I did. Then I ran down to the other end of the court, because I was the only other guy on the team. It seemed to make sense. I was just past the mid-court line when he threw it to me, and I figured this was as good a time as any to take a shot, so I fired it in the general direction of the hoop … and it went in.
And not just the first time. I shot most of the time from mid-court, because if I got closer to the hoop, I missed every time, but from mid-court I had about a 50-50 chance of making it. I think I sunk about six shots that way.
Which only solidified everyone’s belief that I was a damn liar when I said I didn’t know anything about playing basketball. “Ringer” was my nickname for a while after that.