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An odd Sunday: Chili, Cheerios and cheating on defense
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Sunday was one of those days in which previous good fortune switches — not maliciously, but annoyingly.

The ladle from my homemade chili didn’t make it all the way to the sink and was dried to the countertop, though the rest of the dishes were clean.

I washed it off, readied myself then traveled through the fog to a breakfast that had ended 23 hours earlier. Not only had I missed out on a pancake feed, but I’d told people I’d be there.

Well, technically I was just late.

Back home I had all of three tablespoons of milk to wet my Honey Nut Cheerios. For lunch I made a tuna melt, but the excited chicken of the sea burst with enthusiasm in the microwave leaving my clean barn smelling like a pine forest growing in a custodian-less pet store in August without air conditioning.

Once my tuna explosion was finished, I worked on a story about my buddy, Mad Dog, and how he is filling the hours before he heads back up to Alaska to guide.

Part of me was envious. He didn’t have papers to grade. He had nothing to do but Google Map places on the Skeena River he wants to steelhead when he drives through British Columbia in April on his way to my hometown to start guiding again.

Then I remembered how well I did as a guide last summer: Four clients — three fish, me — six. Keep grading those papers.

Mid-afternoon rolled around and I headed to my city league basketball game.

The six of us coaches that make up an out-of-shape, has-been team joked about plays and defensive schemes we all knew we would probably ignore once the game started. I took the first rest and began sweating before I even checked in.

The anticipation of strenuous exercise caused me to bead. Running 7 miles outside is one thing. Usually there is a breeze, and there is certainly a rhythm to it. Sprinting back on defense or playing defense at all is a little different.

My legs were shot after a few up-and-backs, so I decided the least amount of energy could be used in a 3-point attempt on the next offensive possession. Roughly 17 minutes after I started the shot I was about to release it and an opponent essentially caught my feeble attempt to get off the ground and release the ball. Those are the moments that remind me of how tremendous an athlete I am. It’s different when coaching. If I jump in during practice to show the guys a drill, I know the pain can stop at any time, and can tell them to go get water before I pass out.

Maybe I’ve lost a bit of my competitiveness, because there is no doubt my glory days are behind me. And thank goodness fishing, writing and coaching have pushed playing basketball out of the top three things I am passionate about.

I still find it in me to rebound and scuff up my knees and elbows because the wood floor in gyms is a lot softer than the cold cement outside the school were we chucked frozen basketballs at metal hoops when it was 30 degrees out in middle school. Anything is easy after that.

Anyway, upon reaching home I discovered a burn on the inside of my calf. Confused, I laid on the floor and tried to make that section of skin touch the floor.

I was unsuccessful and more than a little confused but decided I may have been inadvertently kicked.

I also decided being a referee for city league would be about as fun as teaching Paris Hilton to fly-fish.

So kudos to those current and former players that endure the whining of us adults.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail