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This one is for the basketball fans out there...

Does everyone know what it means to be 'posterized'?

Being posterized means you've been dunked on in a game, and if someone were to take a snapshot of the event, it would make a great poster for someones room; hence the phrase 'posterized'.

As a basketball player, these types of things can happen to anyone.  Most of the time, if you were the victim, you will try to find every excuse to deny the dunk ever happening.

With that, I bring you my excuse...

I could not have been over the age of 16, and was playing in one of my first summer men's league games.

At the ripe age of about 16, I had a healthy dose of confidence that some would call delusion.  Either way, I was prepared to bring havoc to the court.

When I arrived to the game, and we approached the center circle for the jump ball,  I scanned the other team, player by player, to determine which person I was going to destroy that night.

While scanning, I remember a player from the other team detailing the scouting report to one of his new teammates. The player went through all of our players and told this new teammate what to look out for.

Unfortunately for that newcomer, I was now locked in on the apparent weak link and had plans to teach him a thing or two about basketball.  I knew exactly who I was going to guard, and there was nothing he could do about it.

Pause in the story...

Over the years, my brother and I have spoken about this specific situation, as we were teammates during that game.

One potentially game changing detail that I missed was when the other team was going over the scouting report...

According to my brother, the new player was not phased by any of the details in the scouting report and actually appeared to be quite disrespected.

In my naive eyes, I saw that as fear, and was ready to attack...

Big mistake.

Now back to the story.

The ref made sure that everyone was ready to start, tossed the ball up, and the battle began.

To my knowledge, there was nothing abnormal about the start.  The new player made a shot or two, but I wasn't worried.

Lucky shots.

But then things changed...

I decided it was time to put my stamp on the game, and take over.  It was still early on, but enough was enough and I was ready to dominate.

I was bringing the ball up the court with a determination and a swagger that only I believed in.

I made a pass, and unfortunately turned the ball over.  To make matters even worse, guess who stole the ball?

That's right.  You guessed it.  The new guy.

What started as disappointment in myself for the error, quickly turned to sheer enjoyment, as I was about to welcome this new guy to one of the most sought after parties in the area...Richie's Block Party.

From half court, I began to run down the middle of the court to protect my basket.  As I looked back over my left shoulder, I saw my prey on the left sideline, a couple steps behind me, rushing towards the rim.

Salivating at this opportunity, I started to adjust my steps properly so that I could take flight, and get rid of this man's weak attempt at the basket.

While adjusting my feet, I noticed something in this man's eyes.  Something that I had never seen up to this point in my life.  If I were to describe this look, I would describe it as pure disregard.

It was like I was not even on the court.  All of my efforts were going unnoticed, and I was not quite sure why.  Nevertheless, I was about one step away from take off, and the ultimate "I Told You So"...

This is where reality hits...

As I jumped, he jumped too...

The only difference between our jumps you ask?...He jumped much higher.

When I say "much higher", I really mean, "MUCH HIGHER".

All the confidence flew out of my body, as I watched this man pull the ball back in his left hand with so much aggression and force, and realized that my scrawny arm was up as if I was going to actually block his shot.

In a panic, I quickly put my arm down and tried to shift my body out of the way.

The damage had already been done.

The way that he dunked the ball made me feel as though I had done something to him in the past and he was paying me back for it.

I tried to think back to anything I may have possibly said to this person, or where I might have known him from.

For a moment, I even thought that he must be from outer space because I just could not wrap my head around what just happened.

One thing that I did know...

I had made a terrible judgement of character and had paid the price severely.

He went on to score 44 more points, which included 6 more dunks, and then went on to dominate the local Division 1 college basketball team.

Me on the other hand...I got a solid 12 points...most of which came towards the end of the 40 point loss, when the other team plays no defense and lets the worst player on the court walk in for layups. I think we know who got the better of who.

To this day, I still remember the helpless feeling that rushed through my body when he jumped.

Sure, I learned a valuable lesson in judging someone prematurely, based off a potentially unrealistic perceptions of oneself...the perceptions I had of me...

But either way, that look he gave me, before he put me on to that poster told me everything I needed to know...

I just simply wasn't ready.

In my older age, I've learned that humility can work wonders.  This moment certainly had a lasting effect, and propelled me to make the necessary adjustments so that I never had to experience that again.  I can't say that it never happened again, but I was much more equipped the following time(s).

I'd thank him for this lesson, but I'm not sure that I have let this one go yet... 

Maybe in a couple more years.

Probably not though.

I hope you enjoyed this moment we shared, and I hope that if somehow you ever came across that'd properly dispose of it.

Thank you.

Until next time,

Long Live The People

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