Another Hit to the Head

McDonald’s is not a place I often go when I’m home in Canada, but in Dalian, it’s a bit of a treat. (All things are relative, my friends.) I began this post, which  begins as an adventure in middle-aged basketball and ends with a journey through Chinese health care, under the golden arches. Last Christmas, I gave you my heart / The very next day, you gave it away / This year, to save me from tears, / I’ll give it to someone special… (Wham!) The Mai dang lao Christmas collection, which I know shockingly well, is still going strong. “Jingle Bells”, a distressingly perky version, just ended. This is a place I sometimes come to avoid the distractions of home! I am the King of Distraction. Speaking of which, here’s the story I wanted to tell.

For the second straight day, I got a call to play some basketball. Normally, that’s not great for the ol’ body, but I hadn’t played very hard Tuesday night. When Yinghua, a former student and a pretty good player, invited me to join him yesterday afternoon, there was no NO there. Projects I was fitfully working at were shelved; even when I was perched at the keyboard, I found myself Mentally Preparing to Play as if this game actually meant something. The King, indeed, but even codgers need something to look forward to. What I hadn’t prepared for was getting decked twice, and staggering away with a pair of more or less serious boo-boos.

Another day, no boo-boos. AND I blocked this shot, I swear!

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Old Guy Glory: Still Got It! (One day.)

“There is a greater hunger for appreciation than for bread,” said Mother Teresa, which may account for the burst of well-being that this middle-aged, decomposing terra-cotta warrior of the hardwood felt last week. Among the new things I learned: my university actually has a basketball team! They play against other universities! I’m a basketball hard case who’s lived in my northeastern Chinese city for over three years, and I hadn’t known this. I also got an email from Han Xinghua, who teaches German at my college – most foreigners call him “Hans”, surprise! – inviting me to join the staff basketball squad. (There’s a teacher team?) I discovered, too, the following Wednesday afternoon, that our university has a sports hall, with glass boards and seating and a pseudo-hardwood floor. Nice!

I launched an early three. Net! Cries of supply and acclaim!

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