Saturday, April 5, 2008


I was a bit hesitant when I first received the invitation to play
basketball in Armenia: a) I didn't really expect to have opportunity
to play, b) I didn't bring the proper shoes, c) a very unscheduled
life for the first several weeks, d) the late hour (9-11 pm) e)
possible language barrier issues f) fear of re-injuring my knee (MCL
surgery '93 - rollerblades vs car, and then small piece of floating
meniscus '05 - basketball).
So, with a newly implemented family schedule, borrowed shoes, I
sucked up my language fears, and vowed to play carefully to protect my
knee. To my surprise, it was very similar to games with Jay
Khushigian at FAPC, with out the Bible study. English was the
predominate language used for the game, although there was a
surprising amount of Arabic, along with Western Armenian, Eastern
Armenian, and Russian.
Four on four half court, with evenly matched teams, was very fun,
although there were probably more fouls called than points scored.
Everyone was often reminded that it was supposed to be a "friendly
game." I tried to stay away from fouling and tried not to call any
fouls if I could help it. I did call foul, when someone's knee found
my rib cage and left me laid out gasping for air under the basket.
Some of my favorite statements from the game were: Directed at me,
"You're our best player, and our worst player (for not calling
fouls)." Then from my host to the 6'4" 250 pound player I was
guarding after discussing the 3 second rule in the key, "We will call
you Mashutka (public transportation van) number 45, and that (the key,
under the basket) is your parking spot.
So now two days later, every muscle in my body is completely sore, I
have blisters on my feet from oversized shoes, my ribs are bruised,
and I can't wait to go back next Thursday.

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