On this weekend of no MMA i figured ol' ZSP would get out his storytelling glasses and start a discussion. So gather 'round the campfire and listen to a tale of yonderyear and wonderment (thresarus ftw).
Yesterday i was visiting some of my friends at Rutgers where i attend. Alot of my friends enjoy basketball and i do somewhat as well. I have always been more of a hockey and MMA fella with some Football sprinkled in between. But me and my friend made a bet on who would win a 1 on 1 game. I proceeded to trash talk him out of the park laying a hefty $10 bet (its a good amount to 21 year olds) New Brunswick supposedly has a fantastic bar scene and i never got to check it out yet so the loser also had to buy the winner the first beer of the night. Now this is where my story picks up a little relevency (just a little). Before i left i threw on my BJ Penn shirt and some shorts. I've always been a moderate fan of BJ and his Aussie inspired shirt inspired the New Zealander side of me to get it.
So were heading down to the park and im pretty confident. I have a height and size advantage on my friend and i expect to bully him around the court especially since he has never seen my game before. I have some decent experience being a backup center/PF for my town's high school for 2 years. At only 6'0" being a down low player is kinda tough, but i have absolutely no jump shot so that meant just one thing. Time to bang hard down low. I loved the contact and learned one thing that really shaped my game: Most players don't like to get dirty. I'm not talking "oh tits my shirt has a stain on it" kinda dirty. I mean bumping grinding mean play that just breaks down your opponents body by the end of the game.
So the game starts and i immediately jump out to a 3-0 lead. My friend doesnt know im ambidextrous and like most amateur ballers assumes a stance designed to give a right side lane drive trouble. Its a smart idea since most guys will drive righty anyway right into the teeth of that defensive strategy. So i switch over to southpaw, make one move and blow right to the basket. After i get to 3-0 i realize, fuck im tired. "Already" i think to myself? I know im not in the shape i was for football several years ago but Jesus.
But i persevere, driving the lead up to 5-0. I have never been known for my cardio so im used to pushing through fatigue. My cardio might suck, but my endurance from wrestling and football has always been a strong point. When cardio fails, endurance kicks in and normally is enough to beat the average player whose play drops like a stone when they get tired.
Fast foward its 9-3, im in cruise control right? But im dying though. Both me and my friend are pre-Med and neither of us brought water on a 90 degree New Jersey evening, idiots. Anyone who has ever spent a summer in the Garden State knows 90 degrees in the summer feels like 110 with our famous humidity.
Exhibit B: 13 degree difference, are you kidding me?
I start EMT training very soon and have been reading the book prior. Having just just got to the chapter on Heat exhaustion and heat stroke it felt like fate. "Great" i thought, "Just in time to collapse next to the only pre-Med guy in the world who hasn't taken CPR training yet". After cursing my friend's laziness i went back to work.
The legs are dead unfortunately and the wind is gone. Those left handed hooks from 2' that were money before fall way short now. My defense which is normally very mobile is relegated to keeping him in front of me. One of my greatest strengths is following the hips on an offensive player. You can deke and dazzle all you want, but where your hips go is where you go. My chief defensive strategy is to make my opponent blow out energy with moves and crossovers i rarely fall for. But now I realize the giant irony wearing the BJ Penn shirt. I is BJ. I jumped out to a huge lead and am gassing harder then a Hummer in stop and start city traffic. He comes back to make it 14-14 and i call for a 30 second timeout.
Second wind time right? Bingo. I summon the energy to do some more power drives and post moves and score the next 6. 20-14 game point. The 21st point though, it just wasn't meant to be, everything i did rimmed out. Moves and shots i know would work on a regulation hoop were bouncing in and out of this less stable park hoop. Long story short (fuck im at 830 words?!?) i lived BJ Penn today, and lose 25-23.
What was supposed to be Edgar-Maynard 1 turned quickly into Edgar-Maynard 3.
Which brings me to my original point of this post. If you were an MMA fighter, who would you be?
I grant you this was a long journey for a simple fanpost question; but hey, its Sunday!
Pictured: one of the most adorable and brave cats ever, Oskar the blind Cat