Last night I had a dream, and although this is not exactly an earth-shattering revelation for most, it’s strange to me for many reasons — not least of which being the fact that I remembered a dream at all. Many may lament the loss of these subconscious insights, some may even go another level up and take some lucid control of the dream world, but not me. I know all too well what my mind can conjure even when it’s wide awake and as sober as your average monk, so I’m happy to stay away from what it produces unchecked.
Of course it’s not the first time I’ve remembered a dream — I didn’t wake up saying “[What.] The. Fuck. Was. That?” — but it was the first time I have woken and still believed that the dream is an outside chance of happening. When you see the subject matter of the dream, you’ll realise how strange that is. It makes me a little concerned that I’ll start basing my socially acceptable behaviour on whether or not I believe a dream where it happened. Will it get to the point where I dream of walking into a mother’s group to start juggling newborns, and wake up thinking “Yep. Could work.”? Will the argument “I dreamed about it and it totally seemed legit,” hold up in the inevitable trial if I completed the act in real life? It’s probably best if you don’t answer those questions, leaving them rhetorical makes me appear a little less insane.
The dream itself started off in the way dreams do, I dropped into my pseudo-consciousness perfectly happy with the location and the reason I was there. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but there is a small, high school swimming and athletics carnival happening in London at the moment — they call it The Olympic Games and quite a few people are watching it. I was in London, at the Olympic Basketball arena, watching The Opals (The Australian women’s basketball team) take on … somebody. I can’t remember the identity of the second team — it could have been Mexico, it could have been Madagascar — and it’s anybody’s guess why I travelled all the way to London to watch a game of basketball. To me, basketball is like a slower version of tennis with less impressive backhands, and even though I support gender equality (where possible) in sports, my dislike for women’s basketball pips the men’s version slightly because there are fewer sex scandals and drug controversies.
So, there I was at the London Olympics, sitting court-side as The Opals played Iceland (probably?), and I can’t remember if I was alone or with a group — there’s every chance that in this dream I was a true basketball enthusiast and didn’t want to be disturbed by non-aficionado friends. Nepal was wiping the floor with The Opals, the score was outrageously one-sided, when the unthinkable happened. Australia’s star batter (is that the correct basketball term?) came down injured in a scuffle with the opposing team’s (Belarus, probably) wicket keeper. At this moment — and I can remember just how certain and focussed I was at the time — I stood up, stripped off my jacket and removed my jeans, knowing that beneath the clothing I would find myself in a basketball uniform complete with my name and number emblazoned on the back.
I looked down, eyes locking on the Australian’s coach, she gave a nod, and I, a twenty-eight year old, male spectator, walked out onto the court to take the position of the injured player in a women’s basketball clash between Australia and Tunisia. The crowd gave an awed “oooh,” but not because a spectator was chosen as a player, because I was chosen over another spectator who was favoured to take the position. I walked around doing a few stretches and high-fiving all of the players, got some advice from the coach, and was sent in to play. This sounds absurd — of course it does — and I know this, but there is still a part of me, muffled and up the back, saying “No, that’s totally how they do it. Most teams only bring just enough players and when one is injured, they can totally just choose someone from the crowd — man or woman.”
What then happened — and I say this with equal parts pride and shrinking embarrassment — was my finest sporting moment to date. I single-handedly brought The Opals’ score back to level with Senegal’s, and then proceeded to stretch the lead out beyond reckoning. Every shot I took hit its mark —I’d like to say that I dunked a few, but even my dream self couldn’t manage that — and The Opals beat Fiji by a substantial margin. When the game was over, I received a couple of pats on the back and a hug or two, got a respectful nod from the coach, and simply walked back to my seat, returned my casual clothing, and left the stadium.
“Da fuq is that all about?” is what most of me is saying, but still, even now, that quiet voice is saying that it’s normal, and that if I were to head off to London to watch a basketball match, it would play out like this. When I argue with the voice and tell it that the most I ever played basketball was to play some games of BASEketball, it tells me that I would perform a lot better under pressure …. The worst part? I am inclined to agree.
I dread the day I remember a dream of something less ludicrous as I might subconsciously convince myself of things that aren’t possible.
Actually … could that explain all of my life’s failed ambition?