Getting Old Sucks: The NBA Playoff Edition

To paraphrase Murtaugh from ‘Lethal Weapon,’ “I’m getting too old for this shit”

The 2017 NBA Playoffs kicked off over the weekend. Teams play each other at least four times, and in the case that a series goes the distance, they’ll play each other seven times over a two-week span. As exciting as playoff basketball is and as much as this time of the year is anticipated, there is the challenge of actually enjoying the playoffs to the fullest because, to paraphrase Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon, “I’m getting too old for this shit.”

Since 2011, I have worked as an academic advisor for student athletes. 2011 is also the first time I found a job that didn’t feel like work. Up until then, every job was simply a step to another job. Now, everything is viewed as a step in my career. Such a revelation contributes to a newfound appreciation for preparation. Whether it is making and keeping appointments with college students who are learning how to balance academics and athletics, or reaching out to faculty about a group of students, interacting with various parties constitutes the majority of my day.

There’s no way to do these things at a high level when I’m tired. When it came to balancing fun and rest in my twenties, there was no balance simply because it was easy to maximize fun on little rest and still be productive for a following day’s work. Those times are long gone, and, at 34 years old, the career change comes at the expense of my sports life.

While it’s easy to be excited to be excited about Rockets/Thunder with two leading MVP candidates facing each other in the first round, I have to think about tip-off times and approximately how long each game will last. Are SportsCenter highlights the next morning enough of a substitute to watching the game live? Every bit of sleep matters now.

One thing is certain: there’s really no way of knowing if nodding in and out of sleep at work the morning after a late game is worth the headache unless a match-up is absolutely lopsided like the Warriors/Trail Blazers or one which sparks indifference like Clippers/Jazz. Match-ups like those are not worth losing sleep over. While having a job should not necessarily influence how late I stay up, the fact of the matter is having a job absolutely influences how late I stay up.

The realization of the phrase “I’m getting too old for this shit,” or “I got work in the morning” to justify doing saying no to late sporting events was put to the test during the 2016 Men’s Basketball National Championship game. I didn’t watch the 2016 title game, because WrestleMania 32 was the Sunday before in Arlington, Texas. As a life-long wrestling fan, going to WrestleMania was a no-brainer. I could channel the fountain of youth and enjoy the experience with over 100,000 people for over five hours on a Sunday night.

However, it was a one-night deal. Watching the National Championship the following night was out. I was fast asleep well before the 8 pm opening tip and didn’t hear about the Marcus Paige three-pointer or Kris Jenkins game-winner until the next morning when it was time to go to the gym to workout. Which leads to the other issue…

Some people need certain things to function, and mine is the gym. However, going to the gym has to be the first activity in the morning, or I won’t be worth a damn the entire day. Late or missed appointments and faculty outreach tend to occur due to being ornery or outright exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before and not working out before work. Walking into a near-empty gym to workout at 4:30 in the morning has to come at the expense of something, and that something is staying up to watch a basketball game that tips off after 8 pm. As much excitement was there was to watch the Gonzaga/North Carolina championship game, and as funny as it would have been to be on Twitter during the game, being old won out. Monday’s title game wound up with me in the bed well before the 8:20 CST opening tip.

The old adage is “you learn from your mistakes,” and as much as people say the NBA regular season doesn’t matter — I tend to agree — the playoffs won’t be enough to sway the discipline and consistency it takes to thrive and survive a work week. That’s a trade-off I can no longer afford, a proclamation unheard of in my former life.

Kenny Masenda lives in the gym in the wee hours of the morning and burns the midnight oil with books by night. He holds a doctorate in Higher Education from the school formerly known as East Texas State University and can be found on soulonice6.com, as well as on Twitter and Instagram at @soulonice6.

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