Fourth Quarter Meltdown

Eternally Optimistic.

Archive for the category “My Attempts in Athleticism”

Basketball Tourney Recap: Bruised, Battered, and Questioning the Character Depth of Billy Madison

One would think that the masterminds behind "Jack and Jill" and "Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star" wouldn't take the easy road in describing the depth of their antagonists.

Ye who are faint of heart, brace yourselves. I learned a harsh lesson this weekend: Billy Madison lacks sociological accuracy. The tale of Mr. Madison would lead you to believe that the big man bullies of the world, the O’Doyle’s, they’ll be massive, unapologetic douchebags that will eventually get what’s coming to them by way of banana peel induced car accident.

I faced my O’Doyle this weekend during the opening night of my alumni basketball tournament. When I asked a friend to compare him to a professional athlete, he answered without hesitation, “Brock Lesnar.” I had hoped that he would, you know, name a basketball player, not some behemoth wrestler turned MMA fighter turned back wrestler. Sadly, the comparison was accurate. Even more disappointing: everyone seemed to like him. Not all O’Doyle’s are mean in real life (a gaping flaw in the Billy Madison script…I’m crushed). They just channel their bottled up aggression into productivity, usually with pent up hostility in sporting events.

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Never comfortable with his inadvertent internet celebrity, O'Doyle channeled his aggression from his Kate Beckinsale photobomb into wreaking havoc at intramural basketball games. His weapon of choice: elbows.

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My terror was two-fold. For one, I did not know him, therefore would not be subject to any friendly “I’ll take it easy on you” banter. Secondly, I had to guard him. For five minutes.

Luckily for me I have a superpower that allows me to live with little bone and no cartilage in my nose, so nosebleeds and broken noses are hard to come by. That said, rib and sternum bruises: I get those. I took so many elbows from this sumbitch that I stewed about how my being included in this tournament even came to fruition. I was doing them a freaking favor. There weren’t enough teams, not enough players. I only joined because they asked. Cheap shots weren’t part of the deal.

After the game I iced my ribs and ego, sipped a beer and grinned goofily to myself about how I could supremely ruin their fun by starting a mutiny (aka, “pulling a Raymond Felton on their asses”). Try playing without your players you bozos! HA! Then I realized that I was acting like this guy, and decided to gut it out the next day.

This is what I look like and how I act after catching elbows. FYI.

I caught bow’s to the same spot on my ribs all three days. The second day’s ribbing was from a little guy with a healthy dose of vitriol, and surprisingly good post defense. He was nice, asked if I was okay when I cringed from getting a sharp elbow to the bruise O’Doyle inflicted the day before, but then he informed me “It’s a dog eat dog world” without an ounce of sarcasm. Weekend Warriors…they come in all shapes and sizes.

"It's a dog eat dog world bruh."

To recap: 3 games played, 0-3 record, 8.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 32% FG Percentage (approximately…booya!), 3 elbows to ribs, one elbow to the nose, multiple minor elbows to the chest.

Even still, I think it’s time to rejoin the Weekend Warrior club. It can be fun (sometimes). Just know that I’ll be bringing a bucket of ice with me next time, and a bottle of Fireball whiskey.

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Facing the Weekend Warriors

Your valiant blogger is dusting off his high tops and returning to the court for the first time since the 2000-2001 CYO season (during which he posted averages of 3.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and a stunning PER of 0.0)

Your valiant blogger is dusting off his high tops and returning to the court for the first time since the 2000-2001 CYO season (during which he posted averages of 3.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and a stunning PER of 0.0)

The last time I joined an adult intramural sports league it was a slow pitch softball team in the San Fernando Valley.  By the 6th inning of our first game, I noted two unfortunate flaws in joining.  For starters, I forgot that I used to strike out during tee-ball.  That mental block reared its ugly head even though I was a 20-something grown ass man, and it pummeled me into an emasculated hot mess for the remainder of the season.  Secondly, I didn’t like any of the players on opposing teams.  There was the guy that flexed and screamed to the sky after hitting a double in the second inning.  There was the guy that would grunt during every pitch he threw (the most strained slow pitch the sport has ever seen).  There was the pitcher that would walk towards the plate and pop off at the batter like he was Ubaldo Jimenez after beaning Troy Tulowitzki. 

There’s a name for these jackasses.  They’re called Weekend Warriors: a collection of uber-competitive men that long for the glory days of high school athletics.  They grunt, scream, talk shit, and seem to legitimately believe that their team is the subject of an Under Armour commercial.

The whole experience ruined organized team sports for me.  I haven’t played anything since. 

And yet, inexplicably, I broke my own rule by agreeing to play in my high school’s alumni basketball tournament this weekend.  The pitch was simple enough: this is really just a reunion disguised as a basketball tournament.  Plus, free pizza and beer.  That alone is totally worth the $40 entrance fee (note: no it’s not).  

The only reason I got recruited into this mess is because an entire team dropped out of the tournament at the last minute (red flag #1), so my pal who organizes the event asked a former 7th man on a CYO team to play (I’m referring to myself…this is red flag #2), and solidified the squad with a group of riff raff misfits…the oldest member of the team graduated the same year the youngest member was born (red flag #3).  Another pal that plays on an opposing team gave me the following advice for tonight’s opening round game: “Just make it through the first round and try not to get hurt.  Then you’ll have fun” (red flag #4).  He then went on to describe my first round opponents, which made me think of the MonStars (red flag #5).

My opponents for tonight's game, as described by my friend, who does not have my best interest at heart.

My opponents for tonight's game, as described by my friend, who does not have my best interest at heart.

Despite all of that perceived bitching, I’m actually anxious to play.  I watch a lot of sports.  And the Weekend Warriors ruined the joy in actually playing them.  Since I’m not playing in the San Fernando Valley, and I’m in a city with deep seeded connections from my childhood, maybe this will drown out the previous experiences. 

Then again…I can’t run or jump, I’m not particularly tall, I have an unflattering BMI, and my brother (a veteran of this tournament) told me “it sounds like you’re supposed to be the big guy on your team…if that’s the case you’re in big trouble”.  

Neat.

What we have here my friends, is the making of a classic underdog story.  But let us not forget, sometimes the group of riff raff misfits defy all odds and pull off one of the greatest upsets in history.  Most likely though, I’ll break something.  But that could be fun too.

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