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The Front Row with JASON ELLIOTT June 16, 2010

| June 16, 2010 9:00 PM

Knowing when it’s time to stop playing

Injury prone and out of shape.

Probably my two best reasons for not signing up to play in this year's Hoopfest in downtown Spokane next weekend.

Or, at least that's what I keep telling myself.

NEVER PLAYING a minute of high school basketball, I still enjoyed going out and shooting hoops when I was a kid. These days, I don't get out there as much, instead spending most of my lazy days at home sitting on the couch.

Not that my skills are very good (actually, I'm pretty terrible at the whole running and dribbling part), but for some reason I could always shoot the ball fairly well.

That was until I had someone running at me and I toss up enough bricks to build the Kroc Center.

Once I started playing in a recreational basketball league, my abilities began to improve from where they were when I'd play every week, but nowhere near the level of other players in the league.

When that season was over, I was glad.

Somehow during the final game, I'd managed to sprain my thumb, needing a brace to keep it from getting worse for a couple of weeks.

A few months later, during the Silver Hoops 3-on-3 basketball tournament, my knees made me remember why I shouldn't be playing anymore, and I haven't picked up a basketball since.

OVER THE past couple of years, I've also made an attempt to stay active on the softball diamond as well, playing in a coed softball league in the Silver Valley the past two years.

When I played in Little League, I was never the best hitter, nor could I field the ball that well.

The one thing I could do was pitch the ball.

Not that I was the next Greg Maddux, but I always had an ability to get a strikeout when I needed it.

For some strange reason, pitching some slowpitch softball I could do the same, putting pitches where they needed to go.

Unfortunately, when I didn't, I was staring at some long home runs.

Whatever the final score was, it was always fun, even if I was a little sore when the game was over with.

THIS YEAR, I've really began to regret not playing this year in Hoopfest, but not as much as I should.

The idea of waking up at 6 a.m., playing in the heat of the day and the chances of continuing my streak of injuring something, doesn't sound as appealing as it used to.

Instead, I'll take my chances on just watching the games, whether it's in person or on television.

To say that it is an end of an era might be false, because you never know, maybe sometime soon, after a little bit of time away from playing, might help me feel like playing again.

Until then, I'll just sit back and watch someone else do it for a while.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d'Alene Press. He can be reached by phone at 664-8176, Ext. 2020, or via e-mail at jelliott@cdapress.com.

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