I Was A Basketball Whore

By John F. McMullen

I was a basketball whore
 I played in the park
 I played CYO ball
 I played for an Episcopal Church
 I played in a league at the Jewish Y

I played Intramural Ball in College
 I was the proverbial “gym rat”
 in college playing between classes
 and often when I should have been in class
 I went to Iona College, 
 I really majored in “Basketball and Beechmont
 The Beechmont is the bar across the street
 from the college
 Hey — I’m from Inwood!

I grew up small and only grew late in college
 I was a good ballplayer, then for a while,
 a very good player, then a pretty good player, 
 then a good player again, and finally, an “OK player”
 when I finally stopped in my mid ‘50s.

I played in leagues on Wall Street
 I played in “Open Leagues” around Manhattan and the Bronx
 I played in leagues in Westchester 
 and — “pickup” for two hours most Sunday mornings.

Now, I have regular cortisone shots in my hips and knees,
 I’ve had minor surgery in both knees — 
— and then jelly pumped into them.
 No cartilage in my knees or ankles and 
 arthritis all through my back, hips, knees and ankles 
— and my right ankle brings a limp and constant pain.
 If the most recent shot and 24/7 brace doesn’t work,
 then it’s fusion or a replacement — not a happy scenario.

And, I just broke my left foot
 all from a turn of the ankle 
 and a resultant sprain!
 
 My orthopedist, an old player himself,
 says that it’s all from basketball.

If I had known then, back in my basketball days,
 what I know now
 I wouldn’t have changed a fucking thing.

Copyright John F. McMullen, 2016