I've played basketball my whole life, and like anyone else over the age of 30 I've lost a step. To be honest now that I'm midway through my 40s I've lost more than one step, but that doesn't stop me from dragging my old carcass out of bed a couple of times a week to play pre-dawn hoops – something I swore I'd never do before I aged into bladder-induced early morning awakenings. Of course my mother is aware of this, and like my wife she finds my love of a young man's game rather foolish, which is why she emailed me this poem from Stephen Dunn:
It's probably a Sunday morning
in a pickup game, and it's clear
you've begun to leave
fewer people behind.
Your fakes are as good as ever,
but when you move
you're like the Southern Pacific
the first time a car kept up with it,
your opponent at your hip,
with you all the way
to the rim. Five years earlier
he'd have been part of the air
that stayed behind you
in your ascendance.
On the sidelines they're saying,
He's lost a step.
You can read the rest here. Truth be told I didn't have much of a step to begin with; one of the advantages of being naturally slow of foot and without the ability to jump over a phone book is that my game has always been predicated on overcoming my lack of athleticism. Still, getting even slower is no fun.