[Posted on WeChat 1-17-2014]
I didn’t want to play this basketball game, but after Fatty lost the last game, he invited me in all kinds of ways (read: bullied, yelled at, beat, and lured me with money), so I had no choice but to agree to play.
Our opponents were students from Beijing Sport University (BSU). Fatty probably lost to these kids when he went to exercise on their campus. He felt uncomfortable because of the age difference, and he was unhappy that he was called an old fatty so he wanted to seek justice.
Of course, I advised him to forget about it, “Regardless of age or game, you’ll win because you play dirtier than anyone else. But basketball requires long-term training. Plus, you have to find at least five people. The people you seek help from are prestigious, so it’ll be embarrassing if we somehow end up losing.”
But Fatty still insisted on playing because our opponents weren’t from a professional league. He said that these brats had just graduated from university, so they only had a couple of years of training. “We can’t just adopt a laissez-faire attitude while those schoolgirls cheer for them. It’s not respectful to the elders.”
As soon as I heard this, I thought, ah, so winning the game isn’t your priority. You simply want to listen to the girls cheer.
But I liked it, too.
Pan Zi happened to be in Beijing at this time and Xiao Hua, Little Brother, and I were actually feeling quite depressed. So, I agreed to play the game to divert our attention. We bought the equipment and practiced for a period of time. I found that practicing anything technical had a common limitation: there were limits to what normal people could do with their body. But this theory didn’t apply to Little Brother because he had monster-like abilities. Xiao Hua, on the other hand, was very good at this kind of game from the very beginning.
As a result, the problem resided with the three remaining people. I knew how to play basketball, of course, but even though I was smart enough, I obviously didn’t have enough strength for a full game. Fatty often played basketball, but he was only at an amateur level. Pan Zi also knew how to play, but he mostly played streetball and his opponents often had to be sent to the hospital before halftime.
Anyone who knew basketball knew that such a team would lose unless they encountered an opponent who didn’t know how to play. We’d definitely lose if we met an opponent who had good teamwork.
It was a tough game in the end, but we undoubtedly won. The other team had a strong guy guarding against Poker-Face, but Poker-Face could still somehow bypass him and get the shot every time. Nevertheless, the biggest reason for winning this game was because the girls were overwhelmingly on our side. After the game, a lot of people went over to talk to Xiao Hua and ask for his number.
My heart was feeling quite complicated and I was somewhat emotional.
When we were washing up in BSU’s public shower room, Fatty was so excited that he couldn’t stop bragging and provoking our opponent’s team captain. Pan Zi scolded him, but Fatty just said that he couldn’t help it because he had a young mindset and there were still a lot of hormones running through his body. If he didn’t hang out with young people, he’d soon develop Parkinson’s.
It had been a very long time since I had taken a bath in a university’s shower room, but the one at BSU was frankly a horrible existence.(1) Little Brother’s tattoo had practically appeared all the way down to his belly button, so it seemed that sports like basketball required him to use a lot of physical strength. His tattoo, as well as the scars on Fatty and Pan Zi’s bodies, had scared most people away during the time we were in the shower room. No matter how crowded the place was, none of the students dared to come close to us.
“See, I wish we were as young as them. Check out these brats. Every single one of them shows the vitality of life. What a fucking spectacular scene to watch.” Fatty sighed emotionally as he washed away the foam on his body
“You sound like an old gay Beijinger who goes to a bathhouse for a scrub because he doesn’t have enough strength to do it properly in bed,” Pan Zi responded.
“So vulgar! Absolutely ridiculous! Did you not know that I only hang out with cultured people?” Fatty retorted. “There’s a group of schoolgirls huddling in front of the building out there. Let’s just pretend we’re college students today and re-experience our green years(2).”
“Did you even fucking go to college? Green years, my ass. You should call it the green onion years instead.” I laughed, “Pretending to be a college student for you is like a pig pretending to be an elephant by sticking green onions up its nose. Your fucking pubic hair has turned grey already. Go dye it before you make any moves.”
Xiao Hua and Pan Zi burst out laughing, and everyone else around us also started laughing after they heard our conversation.
I thought that people should admire us for having such a mentality at this age. As the students around us listened to our unscrupulous banter, they should be able to hear the sorrow behind our cheerful words. When I was young, I also envied the kind of life where you swallowed the pain and endured any suffering. But now, I seemed to have gone back to my college days. After a meaningless basketball game, my mind and all the pores on my body were now extremely relaxed and calm. This was what life was all about.
Of course, none of us expected that our brief return to our youth couldn’t change the ultimate fate awaiting us.
(1) The reason why WX describes the public shower at BSU as a “horrible existence” is vague. The following are some facts, which you can interpret as you see fit:
- North China has no private stalls/compartments in public bathrooms. Wu Xie is a Southerner.
- BSU is famous for offering a variety of sports-related programs, so its bathroom is constantly filled with muscular athletes. In this setting, the five of them were naked in a huge, spatial shower room surrounded by muscular adolescents who were also taking a shower.
- BSU’s public shower room is known to be relatively dirtier and more crowded with a higher traffic flow compared to the other universities in Beijing. This is because of their program type and the fact that facilities are open to the general public
(2) Green years = College days/adolescent years
Yvette’s note: In the timeline, this takes place in September 2004.
Translated by: Yvette
Edited by: merebear226