TV: And now we're going to send you out to Austin, Texas, where Chuck Lovell is with veteran swingman and fan-favorite Josh Rosenblatt, who outdid himself today at the Hancock Park basketball court off Red River near the shopping center where Old Navy used to be. Chuck?
Chuck: Thanks, you.
Josh, great job today. Three truly excellent games. Minus those two early losses you had what has to be considered a near-perfect day on the basketball court. I'm looking at the stats here, and I'm seeing things like 3-17 shooting, including an impressive 0-6 from three-point land; I'm seeing two steals; I'm seeing only 12 turnovers; you barely twisted your ankle even once; not one single - get this! - not one single instance of your having to apologize for running into a teammate on a fast break; and, perhaps most impressive of all, 14 self-deprecating jokes to pre-emptively deflect criticism from better players disappointed in your effort. Is it safe to say you were feeling it today?
Josh: It is, Joanie. I haven't played like that in a long time. I don't know what came over me, honestly. Our trainer, Chad, he's got me smoking different tobacco these days, so that might have something to do with it. I'm not really sure. You know, in basketball you have good days and you have bad days. Today was one of those good days. When I was watching Jay chase that ball down the hill in game three, after I'd passed it over his desperate, outstretched arms, I remember thinking to myself, "Most days I would have done that three, four times by now."
Chuck: Did you consciously change your approach?
Josh: Yeah, I definitely tried to change things up. For example, I decided to wear this old, torn, thin gray Army shirt because I was finding that the stained white T-shirts I was wearing before weren't nearly see-through enough after I poured water over my head between games. I think my teammates prefer when they can see my sweaty chest through my T-shirt; it gives them a little more confidence; it lets them know, "Hey, I'm here to win." So that was big, I think. My wet, hairy body.
Chuck: To be fair, things did get tough in that second game. Your team was down 8-3 late and only barely managed to eke out the 11-5 loss there at the end. When did you decide that it would be best to guard their fastest player when you are clearly the slowest guy out here?
Josh: Ummm, right before the game, I think. With the way I played in that first game, only allowing my man to score eight out of 11 total points, I knew it was my responsibility to cover their best player and throw my hands up in exasperation as often as I could. I knew if I did that, we'd have a chance to win.
You have to remember, the team we were playing against, those guys are a good 10-12 years younger than I am. They're also exquisitely chiseled all through their chest and stomach and arm regions, and they're also very blond. Plus they've got their whole lives ahead of them. They're filled with life and hope, whereas I'm more of an embittered player, a cranky player, a player prone to fits of existential desperation; that's my thing. So I knew I was going to have to just go out there and play my game and not allow myself to get caught up in their sense of optimism.
Chuck: In that game, you shot a remarkable 13% from the field, causing only two balls to go bouncing over the fence and into the poison ivy grove. Did it just feel automatic out there for you?
Josh: It really did. I can't explain it, honestly. I will say this: My attitude has been much better these days, as has my work ethic. I'm worrying less about the fact that in the grand scheme of things basketball is a meaningless waste of time, a useless distraction to keep us from confronting the essential emptiness of human life in an uncaring universe. I've learned to save those thoughts for after the games.
Chuck: Plus, you've been unemployed for several months now ...
Josh: So I'm getting a lot more rest, exactly. My training regimen - which involves 14 hours of sleep a day, split into two equal shifts, combined with a focus on fluid intake, mainly guava juice mixed with grain alcohol - has really increased my stamina. I feel like a man half my age. Not exactly half my age, of course; I don't remember what 16 1/2 felt like, but you get the idea.
Chuck: I do. So how do you keep this remarkable run of play going?
Josh: Oh, you know, just one game at a time. I'll be back out here on Sunday for the two-on-two tournament, and I figure as long as I spend the time between now and then practicing my jump-shot in my living room wearing just a pair of socks and maybe watching a basketball highlight video on YouTube, something set to a hip-hop soundtrack, I should be ready.
Chuck: Okay, thanks Josh. Great game.
Josh: Thanks. Great interview.
Follow Josh Rosenblatt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/unfittimes