This is the first in an occasional series about the intersection of love and sports.
I once had a second date at a basketball court. She made the mistake of mentioning her previous basketball career to me, and thus somehow we decided that our second meeting should involve some hoops. She was my height (about six feet tall), but lighter than I am.
We started by playing some shooting games like Around the World, and I lost pretty badly. I wasn't too worried about that, though. I've never been that great of a jump shooter. Then...I asked her if she wanted to play a game of 1-1. She agreed, but said she was kind of tired, so I agreed to play only to 7 by 1's and 2's.
I started the game by giving her a fair amount of room, and she took and nailed a jump shot. 1-0.
I missed a jump shot, and after some length of time she hit another jump shot over my sort of outstretched arms. It was lazy defense. No big deal, though--I knew already she could shoot jump shots. 2-0.
I somehow blew a lay-up. Knowing she could shoot outside jumpers, I forced her to dribble inside...and she made a lay-up. 3-0!
Now at this point, I was getting a little nervous. The game was only to 7, after all. So I pressed a little, missed another jump shot. She got the ball, and I guarded her a little harder than before, forcing her to make an adjustment to her game. She then executes a mini-fadeaway jump shot. Swish!
It's 4-0, and I am in huge trouble. I had no idea she had a fadeaway in her arsenal! I can block that move, but it'll be harder because she's my height. Playing lazy defense will no longer be good enough.
Here's the deal. If this was a skinny but talented guy my height, there would be no question what strategy I would use. I would body him up when I was on defense, attack his dribble, and jump as high and as close to him as I could to block those jumpers. On offense, I would take every shot to the lane, and try to score off put-backs even if the initial post-up would fail. But this was a girl who wasn't talking trash and who I was trying to earn another date with. Plus, she deserves to win this game, and will win unless I start playing physical and blocking her jump shots.
So what would you do? What's more important, the game or the girl? And by the way, it's even more complicated because some girls would love it if the game got more physical. Other girls would hate a more physical game and think that it was a creepy jerk move by a win-at-all-costs malcontent. At this point, I had only met her once before, and have no idea which way she would react.
I'll post what I decided in the comments after I get your opinions on what I should have done. And yes, this does somewhat parallel That 70's Show episode where Donna keeps beating Eric in basketball.