Why I Love Basketball, a third-year English essay by PG #44 at Minnesota
A rubber band goes around the arm; Vitamin B12 enters the syringe, tapped and squeezed, ejaculating a small amount of precious vitamin into the sky; metal enters vein, and a bandage protects the newly-made wound. There are 3,395 dimples on a basketball; each, pierced with a separate syringe, creates the sound of a single harp string being plucked. Vitamin B need not be inserted into the basketball to achieve this effect, but if it is the sound is fuller, and swells of cellos can be heard in the back of diameter. Once 3,395 syringes are pressed into the rubbery flesh of the basketball, one per dimple, the orb balloons (if you’ll pardon the expression) to a rather unwieldy 22 inches in diameter and takes on the appearance of a Koosh brand Koosh Ball.
Vitamin B12 has its advantages to the college-level basketball specialist (herein “baller”). Without, one’s memory might prove faulty. Lethargy may set in. With these, a greater threat can emerge: depression. While most college-level academic specialists (herein “bookers”) will experience depression at some point over the course of their academic careers, and emerge from the entire four-year ordeal with nothing more than a diploma, a quarterlife crisis and a homosexual experience that will never leave their memory, burned in for the rest of their existence, eating away at their confidence in their sexuality like a termite at the foundation of a once-strong summer cottage, a baller will experience much more damage from a B12 deficiency. The high level of granularity in the average game means that the random number generator that God runs for every sport in Heaven becomes less relevant. While in baseball, the difference between 1 and 0 home runs might be a twitch in the elbow of a pitcher, or a batter, the difference between a similarly good number of assists (for example, 12) or points (for example, 25) and 0 is entirely reliant on the coaching and the player’s abilities. Depression can turn 25 points to 20; fatigue, from 20 to 15; memory loss, from 15 to a number the player cannot even remember.
With Vitamin B12, I experience the game the way the game was meant to be experienced. The ball may be 9″ in diameter, but at times seems 22″ in diameter. Similarly, the net will expand and contract, as if an invisible lung inside of it pushes at the metal and bends it like the cartilage of the breastbone. With B12, I can ensure that I react to this tidal expansion of the hoop, and place the ball within it when the ball is smallest and the net is largest. Due to this process, I currently have the highest field percentage among all NCAA Big Ten point guards.
I love basketball because I am a baller; I am a baller because I am a basketball. Inside of me is every sound of every stringed instrument, from the ephemeral, wavering dirge of a fiddle in fog to the sharp, perforating shrieks of a harpsichord in heat. The basketball court, a field I see every game pregnant with ripened grain, becomes threshed by my scythe. I do not sow basketball; I do, however, reap. The University of Minnesota newspaper said that I have “single-handedly murdered” the competition (Michigan State University) on the court; I believe I have done no such thing. However, they came to a farm with nothing but hammers, and I have come with my fingers, toes, penis, and each hair on my head replaced with tiny sickles. I firmly believe that this is how MSU’s power forward received a 4″ gash across his temple in the third quarter. I made no attempt to harm him; he merely came into the range of my flailing blades and paid the price. If I could, I would have healed his wounds on the spot, but it may have been seen as unsporting to do so.
I am not a booker and have never pretended to be as such. I am, however, also not a killer, which I believe I may still say as there have been no literal accusations of murder in the court case (this a different type of court, not one grain-filled and bountiful, but frozen and tundrous and tasting vaguely, at the back of the nose, where the mouth meets the sinuses, of sulfur. I am a baller. I am a baller because I love basketball and I love basketball because I am basketball, and I am basketball because I am more than man, but spirit. I am therefore I am basketball. I am all Jesuses and Moseses and Allahs. Basketball is a spirit, and the spirit, of Heaven and all of its numbers. The future is Jesus; basketball is the Holy Spirit of the past. Twelve, thirteen, forty-four.
PG #44 was kicked out of school after writing this essay, not because of the blatant use of psychoactives, the assault court case related to his unsafe play, or his near inability to communicate without screaming that he is intangible nouns, but because the university’s zero tolerance policy on plagiarism nailed him for not properly citing his own school’s newspaper. No amount of on-campus protests could bring him back, and Minnesota fell to the bottom of the Big Ten conference. Three weeks later, PG #44 was found dead in his fraternity, with a needle sticking out of the crook of his elbow. An autopsy found no sign of illegal substances, or foul play. All that could be found was thirty times the recommended daily dose of Vitamin B12, and traces of nutmeg in his nasal passages and lungs. An aneurysm is noted to be the official cause of death. NCAA Final Four Basketball was made in his honour. The college basketball is included because PG #44 played; the graphics, which look like Out Of This World, are included to reference PG #44’s incredibly strange view on life.