There's nothing unusual about a bunch of older guys playing basketball in a dimly lit gymnasium. Shots are made. Shots are missed, some more badly than others.
Teammates make behind-the-back passes to each other. Opponents grapple for the ball. Elbows are thrown. Fouls are committed, but there's no whistle to stop the action and send a player to the line. Even when someone falls, the action continues, not waiting for them to pick themselves back up.
What makes this game of hoops a little different is the guys are playing three-on-three basketball in wheelchairs in a TV commercial.
It's not until about five seconds into the commercial you see a wheelchair.
During the action, the words "Dedication," "Loyalty" and "Friendship" are spoken by the announcer.
It's not until about 42 seconds into the commercial we learn five of the six guys aren't bound to their chairs. The guys are bound to the one guy, who receives their dedication, loyalty and friendship.
The commercial ends in a bar where a glass of beer is being poured from a tap complete with a frothy head, destined for the table where the guys are sitting and drinking beer - Guinness beer. The announcer comes on and says, "The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character."
What a great commercial. I get the push to make the viewer think if he doesn't drink Guinness, the choice is flawed and so is his character. That's what the public relations company that created the commercial wants us to think.
Remove the product promotion from the commercial, and there's a simple nugget that if we all followed, the world would be a better place for everyone.
I'd like to think we all have friends that would go the extra mile for us. Those are the friends who we should keep dear and in our hearts. I'd like to think we'd be that type of friend, too.
The guys went the extra mile to help make their friend fit it. Actually, the guys did what they could to fit into the friend's world. The guys could have played basketball without their friend in the wheelchair. They didn't.
That says a lot, and hence the concept for the commercial.
I can count on one hand the number of people like that in my life.
When my mom was losing her battle with a brain tumor more than five years ago, my friend JoAnn would go and visit her whenever she could. During one of her visits to the New Jersey rehab and care center, my mom became the queen and following suit, JoAnn became the princess. They had matching tiaras and wands and would spend time practicing the beauty queen wave together.
Mom was deteriorating fast, and JoAnn could have just humored her, but she didn't. JoAnn went the extra mile to make my mom not have to fit into her world, but instead she made the effort to fit into my mom's.
I'm sure people walking through the hall at the care center, who saw them rehearsing their waves, thought they were loopy. But that didn't matter to them. I know it didn't matter because each would smile whenever talking about their newfound royalty.
When I would visit, mom would always tell me about her being the queen and JoAnn being the princess. I even got to witness their double wave a couple of times.
I know those visits with JoAnn were among her fondest moments of her time in the care center.
I hope, in some small way, I've brought a smile to someone's face like JoAnn did to my mom's. What she did wasn't anything big, but it was quality. It highlighted her impeccable character, and it is something I will always remember.
"The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character."
Sitarz can be reached at 943-2529 or via email at email@example.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.