Back to the Mat?

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So, last night I had a dream. For some reason, as a 41-year-old man, I’m stuck riding the pine on my son’s Varsity Basketball team except he wasn’t there. All of a sudden guys who played on my high school team just started appearing pushing me further down the bench. Rob, my best friend from high school, lobbies to get me into the weekend tournament but the coach says no. Actually, the coach says HELL NO. Growing up playing ball on the neighborhood courts was really just a way for me to hang out with the guys, a way to try to make friends. I really didn’t care about scoring because I wasn’t that good at shooting or dribbling and just kind of drifted to improve the other parts of my game. Honestly, I had more fun just running around than with the rock in my hands. My game was more Rodman than Jordan, which was always a source of jokes.

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My bad got off track. So after the coach said I was going to stay buried in the depth chart the gym morphed into my old high school gym. Dejected about being told I would never play, I wander down the hall into the wrestling room. There stood Coach Riddick or as we called him Deebo,  the assistant wrestling coach, rearranging the room that for the time being was basically being used as storage due to the basketball tournament. We called him Deebo because he looked just like Deebo except for the lazy eye. He frequently drove the guys who didn’t have a ride home so me and my boy Mookie had to listen to a lot of his talks.

“Why are you on the basketball team, boy that’s not you. I thought you loved wrestling, why did you quit?”

“I don’t know, it just got too hard, I got tired of losing. Besides, my friends were all playing basketball.”

He chuckles, “ Boy you’ve always been a complainer and always been animated. That never stopped you from getting back up and putting in the work to get good.  You were close to becoming really good but you stopped and went to this. Are you even enjoying this the way you enjoyed wrestling? I think you need to let loose who you really are. That person pushed himself to be better and motivated others around him to go harder. That person got back up and found a way.”

Just like that Deebo vanishes and the basketball court, the whole gym dematerialized and I’m watching the t.v. in the apartment back in PT school. It’s the Ultimate Fighter final, the very first one. Stephan Bonnar, r.i.p, and Forrest Griffin are tearing each other a new one. Neither fighter is backing down.  No matter how hard these guys got hit they moved forward. 3 rounds of No Quit. I was energized.

Photo by Fabrizio Velez on

Coming out of my slumber, I questioned what my dream was about. What did me riding the pine in basketball mean and why was it that I had a conversation with Deebo out of all people. It left me thinking have I really gotten that far away from my WHY in life that I needed a lecture from my old wrestling coach. 

I’m still trying to gather my thoughts from this dream. My head is racing with thoughts on what basketball and wrestling really represent. Was it a cry from my subconscious mind or just a result of not fully reheating the chicken I  ate for dinner? Since it did take me back to high school, the lesson was something along the lines of “Make it a great day or not the choice is yours” which was the signoff for the morning announcements. Maybe my wife just had it so hot in the bedroom that it took me back to the wrestling room.

Either way, y’all have a blessed day.


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