un-defeated

i’ve been plotting the revival of this blog for a few weeks now, probably since i first arrived in connecticut about three weeks ago. what inspired me to go ahead and get started was yesterday’s launch of espn’s new website, theundefeated.com. ironically, i was defeated time and time again yesterday.

to be clear, my blog has nothing to do with the undefeated, but as a black journalist, the premise of a website that explores race and culture in sports, through the lens of black people, got my gears turning to talk about my life experiences.

i actually began my day, tuesday, by waking up at 7 am to catch the undefeated’s editor-in-chief, kevin merida, on the mike & mike show. some of you may get up early every day without a problem. for me, it was a huge problem, especially because i don’t typically leave work until 1 am. i don’t ever go to bed before 2, and not usually before 3. i planned to read a few of the undefeated’s first articles after kevin’s interview, but thought it smarter to catch a few more z’s with open gym basketball looming at noon.

anyone who knows me knows its hard for me to go back to sleep after i’m up. furthermore, i don’t always approach things with the most urgency in the morning. so i laid in bed until about 12, half awake, with total disregard for breakfast. i got up and got dressed, brushed my teeth, and grabbed a protein bar to eat on my way to the gym.

needless to say, i played awfully. i played about three or four games, my teams only won once, and my terrible play had a clear connection to our losses. i left the gym intent to redeem myself, not just the next time i played basketball, but that same day – in a sport i’d never played before.

my department at work is holding a tennis tournament. even as the newbie in my office, my competitive nature caused me to be one of the first people to want in. my match, against alejandro, was two hours after my basketball failures. neither of us owned tennis rackets, but he had raquetball rackets that i agreed to play with. that was my first mistake, being that another co-worker offered me a real racket. my second mistake was that i didn’t want to spend much time warming up once i got to the park. i was just ready to redeem my basketball failures. that was the worst mistake. i went down 2-0 before claiming the first set as a warm up and saying i’d get it together by the second set. that’s when the bomb that we were only playing one set was dropped on me. i put up more of a fight than the final score suggests, but ale beat me 6-0. i was defeated, badly, for the second time in one day.

bitter, but in refusal to let anyone know, i agreed to meet ale at a bar later that evening to have a couple brews. lo and behold, pool tables. i jumped at the opportunity to redeem myself one last time. i know how to play pool. in the first game, i wiped the table clean of all but one striped ball, while ale had just about every solid still on the table. i missed my next shot only to see him clear the table in one go. this loss might have been the most painful of the day. i did win the next two, and final, pool games, so the night eventually ended on a high note, but i don’t think i’ve ever taken so many crushing losses in one day.

it’s all good, though. my competitive confidence won’t be shaken. on the day the undefeated launched, i was un-defeated. next time i go to the gym, i’m playing like a mad man. i may never play tennis again, but if i’m challenged i’ll take it.

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Author: Prince J. Grimes

BottomLine Editor at ESPN. Former sports writer for Southern Maryland Newspapers and the Gazette newspapers. Graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. Hip-Hop was my first love.

2 thoughts on “un-defeated”

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