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  • Paul Davidson

Please Don’t Ask Me To Play Office Nerf Basketball

I fear the cushy ball.

I guess I’ll have to come clean and tell you that I am not a good basketball player. I was never a fan of running up and down a basketball court, I was always travelling with the ball and if you asked me to do a lay-up, I would most likely miss the basket altogether and end up stepping out of bounds as I slammed into someone else and (had it been a professional game) caused a foul.

But being pretty skilled at having “other things to do” when friends are putting together basketball games, I can usually be (a)nursing my sick grandmother back to health, (b)removing a huge splinter from my dog’s paw, (c)moving, (d)seeing someone about something ambiguous that I can’t really talk about now because it’s hugely personal, (e)showing out-of-town relatives the town of Los Angeles, (f)dealing with food poisoning, (g)repairing a faulty electrical panel that threatens to burn down my house, (h)putting together a desk, (i)meeting someone very important for a career-making breakfast or lunch or dinner meeting, (j)having to wait at my house for the cable guy, (k)dizzy, (l)feeling a little under the weather, (m)nursing a sprained ankle, (n)having to accompany a friend to a wedding, (o)just plan busy, (p)desperately trying to finish this “thing” that I’m writing, (q)having to take the dog to get groomed, (r)doing some ambiguous work thing, (s)stupidly stuck to my bannister having locked my hand to it with an old pair of handcuffs that I don’t have the keys for, (t)trying to replace a flat tire on my car, (u)dealing with a current bout of insomnia that prevents me from doing anything athletic during the daylight hours, (v)on a mood-altering medication that could cause me to start un-necessary fist fights, (w)locked in a bathroom that just happens to have a phone, (x)watching a 90210 marathon on FX, (y)in the middle of “you know what” with “you know who”, and (z)really not feeling up to a game of basketball.

Yes, I have a few excuses to stay away from the game of basketball.

But recently, people in offices who never see the light of day (much like coal miners who go IN before it’s light out and get OUT when it’s already dark) have decided to come up with their own game of basketball that can be played in a flourescently-lit office. All you need? A nerf basketball, a hoop somewhere near a potentially groin-injuring copy machine and a bunch of silly people who want to play.

This is where things get dicey for me.

I have attempted for years to always have excuses so that I would never have to play basketball in the real world — something that would shield me from the horror of displaying my less-than-stellar b-ball skills to my friends. But now, if I’m in an office where people want to play an “innocent little game of nerf basketball”, how can I refuse?

The problem is this: If I suck at real-world basketball, that’s one thing. But if I suck at nerf-office basketball, that’s even worse. If I can’t make a lay-up with a nerf basketball into a 4 foot high nerf-basketball hoop that’s positioned over a Konica Copy Machine that could also serve as an easy step up to a picture-worthy nerf-office-basketball dunk… If I can’t even hold onto the damn nerf ball as the defenders are trying to knock it out of my hand… If I show no skill while playing nerf office basketball, then I must be the worst basketball player on the face of the earth.

I am fresh out of ideas on how to avoid such a simple, innocent game that, in reality — could ruin my reputation as a superior athlete for years to come.

Damn you, Nerf.

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