You Can’t Fake Passion

There are those moments you visit a friend and have a great time and then a friend of your friend shows up and a whole new vibe spikes. A mutual friend of your friend and your friend’s friend shows up and it becomes ecstatic. The mutual friend of the latter two happens to be a basketballer playing for the JKUAT team. She has such prowess in gaming that she has been to national levels and is scheduled for some international matches. Being the inquisitive one in all gatherings, I set to ask her questions.

Why basketball?

Her eyes lit up as if she had waited for that question for years. ‘ You know Michael Jordan? He is my idol. He has played for Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, Scottsdale Scorpions, and Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball. I want my biography to read like his: the greatest basketball player of all time.’

The way we are conversant with Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Tusker FC, Sofapaka FC, and Mathare United FC, she is conversant with American basketball teams. I do not know about you but I think that is immense passion.

So you can dribble and score by hanging on the ring all the time?

She laughed heartily at the use of the word ring. ‘If you call the basketball one a ring, how would you call the wrestling arena?’

A ring still.

‘No. What you refer to as a ring is called a hoop and it is usually attached to a backboard.’

What are some of the common terms used in the basketball arena? I asked.

‘We have an assist which is a pass that sets up a score. We have a slam dunk where a player close to the basket jumps up high and throws the ball down into the hoop. I am assuming this is what you asked me earlier. Well, I used to, but not anymore. I got involved in an arena accident that rendered me unable to perform slam dunks.’ She said that as she stood up showing how her left foot was slightly deformed and unparallel with the right one.

What happened Lisa? I am sure you have been asked that question time and again.

‘Now, do I give you terms used in the basketball arena or do I narrate to you how I twisted my leg?’

Give me two more terms then proceed with how you twisted your leg.

‘Okay. We have double dribbling which is an illegal act of dribbling, stopping, then dribbling again. We also have alley-oop where the ball misses the hoop and backboard entirely.’

I looked at her in awe. I however consoled myself that I could equally explain knowledgeably about chloroform extraction of poliovirus and the analytical profile index (API-20) test of identifying micro-organisms. We are all dexterous in our areas of interest.

So what happened that you got to twist your leg?

‘It was a normal play day and I was enjoying double dribbling, heading towards the hoop. While jumping as high as I could to perform a slam dunk, one of the players on the opponent’s side intentionally thumped my right leg, destabilizing me so much so that I hit the arena floor with a thud, sitting on my haunches on the left foot. The pain was excruciating. I looked at my left foot and the region of the toes was facing opposite of how it should. I passed out.’

Do you mean your left foot turned 360 degrees to face your back?


How is that possible?

‘You see, the impact upon falling was so much that the entire leg dislocated at the knee region to turn 360 degrees just as you’ve said. That sight was so horrifying that all I did was pass out.

In which hospital did you wake up?

‘Nairobi South.’

Did you immediately check your leg?

‘I had forgotten what had happened. I looked around and saw my mum and brother. Doctor Opondo came and explained that the surgery to be done was one that many other doctors considered impossible to do without adverse side effects. A glance at my left foot once more made me cry. I asked what percentage did the chance of reconstruction stood at. I was told 25%. I consented.’

Were you worried that you could die?

‘I was dead anyway if I could live for the rest of my life with my foot dislocated in such a manner.’

How long did the surgery take?

‘It was scheduled for two and half hours but ended after five hours.’

Do you know what they did to you?

‘I was under anesthesia for the first three hours. I came to on the third hour and heard sounds of cranking metal and screeching iron like in welding and I passed out again without anesthesia.’

Do you have metals in your left foot currently?

‘Yes. The joint region is 100% artificial. I walk and do everything normally only that I can’t bend my left knee beyond 90 degrees.’

Why haven’t you quit playing after such an ordeal?

‘You don’t quit what you are passionate about. I was given a go-ahead to keep playing. Why shouldn’t I? Enough of me guys. What are you passionate about?

I don’t know. Maybe if analyzing stool samples is a passion, I am passionate about stool analysis. When a patient presents himself or herself with rice water diarrhea you know they have cholera.

We all laughed and saw Lisa off. She has a slight limp in the left leg and is passionate about basketball.

It was nice meeting you, Lisa.

“Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.”
Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

6 thoughts on “You Can’t Fake Passion”

  1. You dont quit what you are passionate about as quoted so you Moses dont quit stool sampling (smiling sheepishly)
    A story of courage and not giving up how fragile can life be but lisa out here eating it with a big spoon.Lisa my dear nobody will judge you atleast i wont.
    Fighting Spirit

    Thank you Moses nice piece umefanya ile kitu .


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