To play or not to play? The winter conundrum

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To play or not to play? The winter conundrum

As I take in basketball games at the height of each winter, I start to entertain the thought of joining a recreational hoops league. You know the line, putting together a group of guys and playing for pride and a chance to stake a claim on a cheap plastic trophy.

I like to believe that within this heavyset writer covering sports is a nimble-footed Joo Hee-jung waiting to leap out. But without venturing too far into fantasyland, back to reality. Those who can, knock down jump shots; those who can’t merely write about it. And that’s what I’m doing, scribbling and pondering how to include more physical activity in my life.

Although I’ve participated in various sports in the past, I could never hold my own on the basketball court. Picture, if you will, a guy with close to no offensive skills who tries to overcompensate on defense by playing man-to-man like it’s the fourth quarter of game seven in the KBL Finals. Regardless of the limitations that I face on the hardwood, it doesn’t hurt to entertain myself with the thought of joining a recreational basketball league. It just sounds like a lot of fun.

It’s for this reason I took more than a passing interest in the announcement that Jump Ball, a monthly basketball magazine, is organizing a new rec league. Although several others exist, the league is geared toward middle-aged working class members who are looking for a healthier way to spend the weekends. The action kicks off on Jan. 3 and continues through April. Games are to take place on Sundays at a cultural and athletics center in Doksan-dong, Geumcheon District in western Seoul. Each team must submit a roster of 15 players and are guaranteed a minimum of seven games.

The league excludes young, fit university students. I like the idea. For many, holding down a job and providing for the family can require putting in more overtime than one would like. It also involves drinking, which usually results in gobbling down spicy or greasy foods. It wreaks havoc on your waistline and just does not bode well in an image-conscious place.

I’m sure most guys can attest but with each passing year, it is increasingly harder to participate in sports or physical activity on a regular basis. Those who can manage to pull off three to four visits to the gym a week or jog around the neighborhood on cold, dark mornings are not normal. They should be kept at a distance, like those who try to weasel their way out of paying for bills. In short, to be successful and fit, one has to have significant physical and mental toughness.

For most of us, we fall short on both categories. With a little more than a week left to register for the league, I’m ready to make the commitment this year once I can get together 14 other guys. But that might be easier said than done. There’s still a strong chance the only jump shot I’ll be making is on my Xbox 360.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]

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