Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dream Log: Big-Time NCAA Basketball

I've dreamed about this at least one time before: I was an incoming freshman on a big-time NCAA basketball team. I don't really know anything about what that would be like, but it seems to me that there were unrealistically many players on the team, even before a lot of players might be cut. It was more like the number of players on a basketball team, or maybe even more than that.

We were inside a sprawling facility with many full-sized courts and many other rooms and halls, all for the basketball team's use. The walls and ceilings, and our practice uniforms, all tended to be white. And the towels were also white, as they tend to be in gyms.

At one point a bunch of us -- not all of the players. Maybe all of the new players -- were sitting on benches lining both walls of a long white hallway, and a coach was talking to us. He said that we had many things which most students at the university did not have: much bigger dorm rooms. Much better food, as much as wanted to eat. Massages and steam rooms. and many other things. The coach said that it was not fair that we had all of these advantages. He didn't mention easy, basket-weaving-type classes designed to allow us to graduate without being distracted very much from athletics, but I assumed that that was one of the advantages he was talking about.

The coach also said that we were expected to work very, very hard if we wanted to stay on the team, exerting ourselves physically at a level which most of the students at that university would never be able to imagine. He said that this, also, was unfair. Life was unfair, the coach said. He said that if we didn't know that already, hopefully we would learn at least that much while we were at this university. He added that some of us would not be here long at all: another example of life's basic unfairness. He added that we would be burning several times as many calories as most of those of the other students who were very active, and that that meant that we had to be sure to eat enough, or we would pass out from the exertion.

The player sitting to my right began to mutter as the coach talked about eating. He was definitely short for a basketball player, and he looked a bit pudgy too. I tried not to let him distract me from what the coach was saying, but he leaned in close to me and informed me that he was a member of PETA and that he planned to disrupt the carnivorous behavior of the team. I stood up and moved away from him.

Later, on one of the many practice courts where a large crowd of us each had our own ball and were practicing long-range jumpers, I recognized someone I knew from life before college. I hadn't known he was a basketball player. He was not wearing a white T-shirt and shorts like the rest of us, but a grungy light-brown denim jacket, very old and torn, and old greyish painter's pants. He looked at me and gave me an ominous grin and said something. I got away from him as soon as a I could. I didn't want to hang around with anyone who wasn't completely focused on playing basketball as well as possible.

My arms began to cramp up and I headed to the massage room. And then I woke up, and realized that my arms weren't actually cramping: they were too cold because the windows were open and it had cooled off outside and the fan was on. I turned the fan off and felt much better.

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