Friday, 3 February 2012

Street Ball MVP

So, my beautiful wife and my not so beautiful father in-law have spent the last ten years tricking me into loving basketball. I'm not sure how they pulled it off. I refused to play on our rec team for a couple of seasons and then before I knew it I was on the bench, then the floor and pretty soon I was actually playing, (with my right hand only). We have met so many amazing people playing that I figured it would be a good thing to get into the game on this side of the planet. I decided not to jump right into it. I practised a couple of times on my own and got rid of the rust on my shot. I scouted out the local court and picked up on the local playing style. Below you can see some of the ingrained playing behaviour:
  1. Shoot from as far away as possible
  2. Do not follow your shot
  3. Shoot first pass never
  4. Trash talk as much as possible
  5. Watch the rebound...boxing out is for losers
  6. If you can't do any of these things wear a Kobe jersey and sit on the speaker...Thug life!

After scouting for a couple of days I figured I would unleash my measly talents on the court... this was ill advised! I showed up and quickly took up residence on the "mixed backpacker" team. Two of us seemed like we had played before. It started well, I set some screens for someone who could actually dribble and was eager to grab a couple rebounds and earn my keep. One of the players on my team was aimlessly running around with no concept of guarding the guy who was picking him apart. It was this Aimless Wanderer that almost ruined my summer. A shot went up and I actually boxed out (this is one of my few abilities), I turned to grab the rebound and the Aimless Wanderer was right beside me apparently trying to make sure our team was sticking together. My foot caught on his foot and I went over the top of my ankle and to the ground in a heap. I'm certain I screamed in imitation of a 200lbs cat dying, and curled up in the fetal position. Needless to say I didn't get the rebound and was not going to be playing again anytime soon.

I crawled to the sidelines tying my shoe as tight as it would go hoping it wouldn't swell. It swelled. After sitting with it elevated, I figured I would be able to "walk it off" on the way home. I made my 'goodbyes' and was quickly forgotten after logging 3 minutes and the worst stat line you could imagine. I kept my head up and gritted my teeth for the 2km walk home. On the way I actually almost limped over the actor Matthew Fox. Later on we googled him, and found out he is filming a movie here over the next month or so. Jess has been on a Matthew Fox hunt ever since...

I had a couple of hours before Jess was done work to try and get healthy so she'd keep letting me out of the house on my own. I hit it with some frozen peas and elevation, but it fought back with swelling bruising and waves of pain. My ankle was winning this battle in the worst kind of way. When Jess got home she lightened the mood by telling me it looked broken and I was screwed. I nearly cried. I started thinking and decided all I needed was a good nights sleep and would bounce back in the morning. I slept well and woke up to get ready for work. I turned the shower on and had to take a seat as the world started spinning and blackness crept into my vision. Things were getting serious. I called work and took a rain check on the day.


We took a cab to a nearby medical centre where they x-rayed my ankle. I was shitting my pants at this point thinking I had ruined my vacation. I must have done something good in a previous life because the x-rays came back with no breaks. I had only destroyed every ligament in my foot and ankle and done something to the tendon above my ankle to make it bulge out. It had also become infected overnight so I was prescribed antibiotics as well. I got the true New Zealand experience when the physiotherapist shaved half way up my shin - sheep style, and taped it for a little support. Now the waiting game started for the swelling to go down.


The pictures do not do it justice. We lost sight of both sides of my ankle bones for a week and were treated to every color of bruising imaginable. I became a pain relieving, anti-inflammatory pharmacy on crutches. It will be six weeks before I can start using my leg for anything other than its good looks. It was a truly horrifying experience but I am lucky my wife has taken care of me and it was easy to get treatment. It really hasn't deterred me from playing, (I have been described as being violently independent and stubborn from a young age), so I will be back on the courts as early as I can. I guess Jess and Romel-saurus tricked me better than I thought.


  1. Sorry to hear of your injury, but what a great story! Hope you heal quickly and can't wait to read about your next adventures.

  2. Thanks Val!
    Jeff is doing much better now :)