Shut Up & Play

Shut Up & Play

Sweat is in the air… everywhere I look around, sweat is in the air… perspiration stains abound!

 Tension is building, intensifying and expanding towards and beyond the nonexistent ceiling and walls of the outdoor basketball court in downtown Trondheim this beautiful late summer’s day.


The older, heavier and nearbodybuildemuscular players are not only sweating, but also showing bloody and rainbowcolored  signs of close encounters of the 1. degree: Burns acquired when hitting the steaming asphalt, rifts obtained by slamming into the metal mesh fence, bruises gained in powerful rendezvous of heads when two persons jump as high as they can, sometimes even higher… One in an effort to dunk the ball into the impatiently awaiting hoop, the other determined to prevent the first from doing just that.

 The younger kids, due to their slighter build and weight, fare somewhat better, although their dedication and almost tangible eagerness leave nothing to be desired.

 Despite the ferocious energy and victorycraving looks on the players’ faces, the atmosphere both on and outside the court is one of joviality. An outstretched hand reaches out to help an opponent to her feet, and a playful shove with a fist is, if not a show of affection, so at least of good will.

 There is little or no sulking to be seen, bickering to be heard. Of course the basketball world is not one comprised of white clad beings with wings where the rest of us are sporting shoulder blades (although that would definitely have been a convenient feature). The rules of the game, though, encourage decent physical and language behavior.

 Foul language, aimed at team mates, opponents, referees or spectators is generally paid with a penalty, and is focused in an ongoing campaign called Shut Up & Play.

 In short meaning: Cut the Crap! Play ball! Dwelling on own or other people’s mistakes is counterproductive. Observe them, learn from them, grab the ball and move on.

 Wallowing in muck or pestering others is neither pleasant nor constructive unless you’re a horse fly aiming to deposit your obnoxious eggs into a poor animal’s system where your darling offspring turn into impertinent larvae, create a lot of havoc, probably doing a lot of behind the back-talk, gossiping and wining in the process. Eventually exiting by way of the intestines into a delicious piece of dung where they thrive and grow till they develop wings and the party starts all over again.

 But if you’re not a cleg (and who wants to be associated with those buggers!), this is not the way to build relationships or live your life.

 When life hands you a penalty, a bad throw or a foul ball, focus on what you can do to improve your “game”. If necessary, find a coach, seek advice and support, grasp the proffered hand and move on. Whatever you do, don’t wallow in the droppings destiny or others have left in your way. Shut up & play.

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