Word of the Week #134:

Balefire

Gah! I am so tired… I’m in so much pain…

Why, you ask? I mean, I hope you do. You seem nice, after all. Okay, I’ll tell you.

Have you heard of a thing called the Halo effect?

It is basically why women forget about the pain of past pregnancies and choose to have another child.

If you think about, it is the entirety of Domino’s business strategy. The remote possibility of some remnant of a happy memory will draw a customer back is the only reason they are still in business.

Now, you see, I love playing basketball. The thrill, the joy, I can hardly put it in words. And that is basically what I am supposed to do, right?

So, anyway, I haven’t played much over the past few months. Hardly any since I hurt my knee in May, and definitely none since I moved in July. I have been back to the gym and on the court, though. Nonetheless, the feeling of a real game is not something you can ever emulate in any solo drill.

As it would turn out, I had forgotten quite a few things about the game over these months.

I am still good at making passes, which is a relief in itself, but getting into spots where I can receive passes was something with which I really struggled tonight.

And my defence, in general, was just abysmal. Like, for the first few possessions, I seemed to have no idea where to go or what to do.

Luckily, I am a quick learner, and apparently an even quicker relearner. Within half an hour, I had improved drastically in every aspect.

That is when it hit me; I had forgotten the most important thing about basketball.

It hurts… Hurts like hell… Hurts like a hundred nails being hammered into my shins… Hurts so much that I have been whining about it for the past four hours!

Gah!

Of course, it is not like that will stop me from going back, tomorrow evening.

Yeah, it will hurt, but it will be worth it.

Well… At least as long as I don’t break my knee, or my shoulder, or my ankle, or something new.

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Word of the Week #115:

Dejection

Did you watch the NBA Finals, last week? I did.

And if you did not watch the actual games, you might take a look at the results and assumed that what transpired was exactly what everyone expected, going into the series: The Warriors were far too superior, and the Cavs had no chance whatsoever

Well, of course, you would be gravely mistaken.

The first thing to take away from this series was that th ere are no forgone conclusions in sports. Or even in life, for that matter.

But it was the second thing I learned that really resonated with me: Not every loss is the same.

See, it is one thing to play badly and lose. That happens to the best of us. Sometimes the opponent is just too strong, and sometimes we just have a bad day. It happens, and it is okay. You can still come back, play better, and hope to win.

But there are times when you clearly have a historically great game against a historically great team and you drag your historically mediocre crew to within inches of victory, and what happens?

You have one teammate missing a clutch free throw, another who has no idea of the score, and a head coach who does not know you have a time out left.

I believe this response sum up your feelings perfectly.

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No wonder it ended up being the meme of the week.

When you do everything you need to, in order to win, but you still fall short, what do you do? What can you do? How can you not break from a loss like this?

Cleveland did. They showed no fight for the rest of the series. And now that the season is over, and LeBron is, in all probability, going to walk away the first chance he gets, it is highly likely that they will never fully recover.

And LeBron? Well, he might take a moment, but I think he will be just fine.

Word of the Week #108:

Volition

So, yesterday, I tried on a new pair of shoes, for the first time. Good shoes, objectively speaking. They just seem a little more tough, I would say. The sole is somewhat harder.

And as I played wearing them, I could feel the subtle difference under my feet. I could feel the few extra fractions of a second I gained in my air time, as well as the slight additional strain that accumulated each time I landed.

It was, as most things in life are, a trade off.

In its essence, that is what life is, right? The cumulative consequence of all our choices…

You choose a sugary drink over the risk of dehydration? An additional inch of tummy over the week should not be a surprise.

You choose to repair your old vehicle instead of buying a new one? Well, it may just break down again in a month or two.

Choose to follow your passion instead of seeking an ordinary, though reliable job? That is not exactly the path to financial stability, is it?

Yes, life is all about choice… Choices which we are forced to make without sufficient understanding of the consequences.

Sounds cruel, one might say. And I’m not the only one…

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

Word of the Week #107:

Hyperbole

So, this week, let us continue a thought that has stayed on my mind for the past couple of weeks.

To be honest, I have no problem with exaggeration. I do it all the time, and I do it better than anyone else.

Yeah, I can probably exaggerate better than Vince Carter can dunk.

And just for context, check this out:

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Yeah, it doesn’t get much better than that…

Regardless, there are some comparisons that do make me cringe, to say the least.

For instance, every time someone overrules my personal preference on account of their ‘OCD’, I feel an obsessive compulsion to whack them in the head.

“Yeah, I’ve seen you drive, You turn without blinkers and overtake without horns. I really doubt your claims of ‘OCD’, you annoying little prick.”

You see, having seen OCD up close throughout my childhood, I am often able to gauge, at least to some degree, when a person does have a disorder, and when is one just an annoying little prick.

And this precisely is the problem with exaggeration of a certain type. It tends to trivialise something that is far, far from trivial.

Just because you are obnoxious, don’t tell yourself and everyone that you have OCD.

Just because your friend isn’t eating well enough, don’t assume they are anorexic. I mean, they could be, and it is better to be wary, I suppose… Like, on which side would you like to err? A thin line with this one…

Just because your Prime Minister, or President, has some glaringly obvious flaws, don’t just go saying that humanity is on the brink of extinction. I mean, it could be, but you don’t necessarily know that.

In the words of the man I consider one of them greatest minds to have ever lived in the entire universe, DON’T PANIC.

Word of the Week #99:

Lambent

So, if you were to take a quick look at the events that transpired throughout the past week, you might end up feeling quite dejected, or you might just stop feeling altogether.

Yeah, it has been that kind of a week, where we feel let down by the world around us.

I talk about the real world, of course. My world is still pretty cool, and that is what keeps me inoculated from everything real. And this is a part of art that we do not seem to discuss nearly as much as we ought to.

You see, in today’s world, art is too often evaluated by the impact it is supposed to have on the world around it.

Black Panther released last weekend, and its portrayal of minorities and women is the discussion that seems to dominate the media.

Last weekend was also the NBA All Star weekend, and an initial part of the proceedings was usurped by reactions to some Fox News anchor’s racially insensitive, extremely demeaning, and frankly quite stupid comments about the greatest basketball player of our generation.

It is gladdening, of course, to see artists and athletes using their platforms to try to change the world for the better. Their excellence grants them this prerogative.

However, that is not where we begin, right?

Art is not always a beacon that guides the entire world.
Sometimes, it is just a flickering candle that illuminates a single soul…
And sometimes, that is enough.

Word of the Week #98:

Conundrum

So, I’ve lost quite some weight over the past few months. 

Okay, I don’t know if ‘weight’ is what I lost, considering that I may have gained enough muscle to compensate for the lost fats.

But, anyway, I have gotten leaner. Appparently, playing basketball for ten hours a week will do that for you.

It sounds like a great thing, right? Well, it is not, and for a ridiculous but real reason: My clothes don’t fit anymore…

This may seem like an exaggeration, but I literally cannot walk down the stairs without having my jeans dangle around my knees. Now, some young men may prefer their jeans that way, but I am definitely not one of them.

Also, of course I do own a belt, but I keep it downstairs. Just saying…

Now, I could use this as an opportunity to overhaul my entire wardrobe, but that sounds like an expensive proposition, and there is always the risk that I’d pudge out sometime in the near future.

On the other hand, I cannot really go on like this, you know.

I think this decision could very well define the kind of man I will be.

I also think I can overthink things, at times…