I Take the Charge · 28 April 2013

People think I am crazy, but I am the guy who takes the charge in church league basketball. It is a good reputation, but it is a painful one.

I have been thinking all week about the last charge I took. It was during our final game of the season, a crushing defeat by a very athletic team. But the reason I have been thinking about that charge was not because it came during a losing battle. I have been thinking about it because it hurt. All week long. Every time I sat or put a little pressure on my rear, I remembered that charge.

It was not the first time in the game where I stood in front of an opposing player with my hands raised ready to take the full force of his charge. It was not even the first time that I got knocked down and thought I was fouled by the offensive player. But it was first the one that got called. And it is the one I remember vividly.

I see myself standing there near the top of the key and a huge man, at least twice my size, careening toward me driving toward the hoop. If I was a cartoon character, I would have seen my opponent change from a huge man barreling toward me at full speed into a freight train coming to run me over. The collision would have resulted in smoke, dust, and great sound effects. When the smoke cleared, I would have just been lying flatter than a pancake on the floor. One of the freight train’s teammates would have used a spatula to pick me off the ground instead of just helping me up with a huge grin and the words, “I would not have taken that charge.”

People watching on the sideline grimaced and laughed. They came up to me after the game and just smiled that knowing smile. That one had to hurt.

My friend Mike laughed at me too when I told him about it. He definitely thinks I am crazy. But for more reasons than just taking a charge in church league basketball.

My friend Micah would have been proud of me had he been around to see the action or at least hear the story. He would have smiled a big smile like the man who used the spatula to pick me up off the ground. He would have even used the same words and laughed a little too.

My eighth grade coach who taught me how to play basketball and take a charge would have been proud of me and laughed too.

But I did not take the charge so that people would be proud of me. I did not even take the charge because my wife and one of our sons were there watching. I just took it because that is what I do. I plant my feet and take the oncoming opponent’s charge because that is what I was taught to do all those years ago when I learned how to play basketball.

Last weekend, I saw the freight train coming. I stood there and felt the pain. But I also felt the elation of getting the rare church league basketball offensive foul called against the other team. It was a great feeling. Even though it hurt.

The charge would have been a classic cartoon crash. Of course, since I am not a cartoon character who can shake it off immediately, I still felt the effects of the freight train all week long. And I suppose that crash solidified my reputation as that crazy guy who takes charges in recreational church league basketball.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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