Commentary

March 14, 2014

When keeping it real goes wrong

Staff Sgt. Adam Grant
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs 

It’s Tuesday, and after a long day at work I’m reminded that I have an intramural league basketball game tonight. After arriving home and quickly changing I make my way back to the base gym to avoid the scrutiny of my coach and team mates. 

As I begin to search through the maze of a jersey bag to find one that isn’t so small it cuts the circulation off to my arms, I catch a glimpse of the opposing team as they enter and start to feel motivated about the game.

When we were getting ready for tip-off, I remembered what one of my high school coaches would often tell me … “Adam, always remember that at the end of the day both the king and the pawn both go back into the same box.” He always told me and my teammates this to keep us humble. 

I look towards my team mates and yell “OUR TIME IS NOW!”

After an otherwise uneventful first half, I remember being fouled to the point that I thought I was auditioning for the NFL’s practice squad just before we reached halftime. I spoke with my teammates and explained that we needed to work together and pull this win out. After one of the guys said, “Were going to win what are you worried about?” I explained it’s not about winning, I know that were going to win, it’s about how we win that sends a message.

The horn sounded signaling the beginning of the second half. After receiving what seemed like a crowbar to the head I found myself on the free throw line. The opposing team’s coach was trying to call a time out and I could see his frustration starting to show just before he started hurling insults at the ref.

That’s when all chaos broke out! The referee gave the opposing team’s coach a technical foul for his language followed by another technical when the coach kept being disrespectful. A few seconds later, one of the opposing teammates earned a third ‘T’ for disrespect too. 

While this was taking place, the person taking the stats for the game attempted to defend the referee by telling the offenders to leave the gym.

Then, the guy keeping the stats looked at one of the people he was arguing with and said, “you need to get out of here you’re not good for anything” and then went on to insult the other person’s job.

That insult led to a situation that seemed to be controlled into a tornado of bodies from all directions trying to grab one individual. 

After the scene settled down, the guy keeping stats still kept saying “I didn’t do anything wrong, they did.” In my opinion, he lost sight of the big picture and I responded by telling him they were wrong for storming the court but that he was completely out of line with his comments. 

That brings me to my point of this babble, and I don’t mean wear your vest and body armor when going to the gym to play basketball … I mean that we all have to remember seven simple letters, R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

As I kept talking with the stats guy, I thought back to that quote my coach always said to me and it reminded me that we have to stay humble, even as adults who volunteer to defend our country. At the end of the day (even now, with the high school court well behind us), both the king and the pawn both go back into the same box.




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(U.S. Air Force Illustration by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

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