Saturday, February 28, 2009

Memorable Sporting Achievements, Sonics, Clownin' - Friday, March 28, 2008

Memorable Sporting Achievements
Sadly, none of my mediocre sporting achievements occurred during real, organized sports. I had good games here and there, but nothing that I would consider fantastic.

Here are a few of them, both good and bad. The bad far outweighs the good so I’ll only use what I think are excellent bad ones.

After college, I lived in an apartment in Bellevue with some friends from school. One of them had a buddy who had access to a gym and we went to play hoops there one night. There were six of us so we split up into threes. I was guarding my roommate. He’s 6’4 and athletic, but can’t really shoot all that well, but can dunk like a donut. He also has really long arms so it’s hard to get a shot off on him. I’m giving you this preamble because I had the best shooting performances of all time against him.

Since we were playing 3:3, I definitely had more legs than I normally would because I wasn’t running up and down the court. Anyway, we played 5 or 6 games and we played to 11 each game (shots counted as 1s and 2s). I probably hit 25 threes on him and missed maybe 5 times. It was ridiculous. I’ve never been dialed in like that before. The best thing was, I had never met his friends before (these guys went to high school with him) so they had never seen me play—they left the gym thinking I was much, much, much better than I actually am. Pretty funny.

Kissing the Hand
Back in college, a buddy of mine and I were always jawing back and forth about who was the better athlete. We normally did this when we were watching games and drinking, so the hyperbole was amped up quite a bit. Anyway, I decided that we should settle it with an “All Sports Challenge.” I came up with a list of 10 events that I think equally addressed our strengths. From memory, here are the events:
  1. Baseball bat toss
  2. Over the head toss of a shot put
  3. Baseball toss
  4. 40 yard dash
  5. Three point shooting
  6. Free throw shooting
  7. Bench press adjusted for weight (he was lighter than me by about 10-15 pounds)
  8. Arm Wrestling
  9. Broad jump
  10. Bicycle obstacle course

Looking back, those are some really stupid events. Also, as I recall, we didn’t finish all of them (big surprise). Again, from memory, I think we didn’t do the bicycle obstacle course, the 40, or the bench press. He won the baseball bat toss, baseball toss, and free throw. I won the three point, over the head toss, and broad jump. So one night, we decided to do the arm wrestling portion and that ended the whole thing. My friend was very, very cocky. Since we were tied he was jawing at me. One thing I should mention here is that I completely screwed up by essentially conceding two events. He was a starting second baseman on the baseball team and was actually very good. So the baseball toss and the bat toss were complete giveaways. I thought I’d be able to make up for it because he only played infield and didn’t have to throw that far. That was dumb. He crushed me in those events by 20 yards-a-piece I think. So we’re at his house with a bunch of people around and we sit down at the table and do the whole Sly Stallone “Over the Top” stuff. As soon as we lock hands and one of my buddies said, “go” I knew that I had him. I knew that his hands were strong from batting and all of that, but he simply wasn’t that strong. He was pushing against my hand and talking. I looked at him, leaned forward, kissed his hand, and slammed it down on the table as hard as I could. I think I hurt his wrist and that was that. I would love to go back and try those events again; I think it would be fun.

Long Ball
In ’99 I was on a softball team with a couple of guys from work. We got pulled onto a team comprised of guys that used to work together that none of us knew. I was not good at softball and hadn’t played in years, but these guys were terrible, but they thought that they were good. I don’t know which level of league that we were in, but it was clear that we should have been in the rung below. Our shortstop was a guy that I worked with (the connection to the team) and he is a textbook short man’s disease guy. Not all short dudes have this problem, but when a dude has it, it’s evident. This guy had it. He insisted on playing shortstop even though he booted nearly every ball that came his way. He was also a slap hitter, except he batted from the right side, which means he’d slap the ball to second or first and then get thrown out. That’s not the story though. As stated, I’m not a very good baseball/softball player. I can play the outfield a little but I think it’s more by default than anything because I really can’t really play infield. But I can hit a little. So during one game, I stepped up to the plate, the ball came in and I turned on it and sent it 20 feet over the wall in left field. I was shocked. The fence was 300 ft and I crushed it. I’ve never hit a home run in my life, on any level (except for home run derby and wiffle ball). I have to say that was a pretty cool moment.

The Redirection
During my sophomore year in college I had one of the best golf shots of my life and it happened because I’m such a bad golfer. We had a 9-hole golf course on campus that cost $2 at the time. It was a fantastic deal. The course was pretty basic, but it wasn’t terrible. However, I was terrible. Actually, I still am terrible. My game has not really progressed since I started, I guess that’s because I don’t play enough. Anyway, the 2nd hole on the course boarders a street to the left. The tee box is set up high and the green is sort of down in a valley. I had a horrible slice back in the day, I’ve sort of gotten away from that now, but it was really pronounced then. To compensate, I used to exaggerate my stance to the left to account for it. Most of the time, I would swing and the ball would slice back over onto the green. Not this time. I hit the ball and it sailed straight as an arrow. As my friends were laughing and pointing at me we heard a KNOCK and then saw the ball float safely onto the green. As we walked down, baffled, we saw that the ball ricocheted off of a fire hydrant. It’s embarrassing to include this as an “achievement” but it was cool.

I am a Sonics fan and have been for a very long time because of Kemp and Payton. I was in high school and college during their rise and I loved the way that they played and how successful they were. I was a freshman in college when they lost to Denver in the opening round and I wanted to kill the guy from Colorado who was running up and down the hallways in the dorm. The Sonics were supposed to win the whole damn thing that year and stupid Robert Pack went crazy and Kemp missed those free throws… sigh. It give me gas just thinking about it.

Anyway, I’m truly annoyed at the whole thing and how it’s going down. The state legislature is packed full of pansies and I hate the Seattle government. I love how they are acting like they aren’t to blame at all in this. I don’t care at all of the actual team that’s on the floor because they are pathetic and are clearly meant to be. They are jockeying for the future and I can appreciate that. Nothing is worse than being middle of the pack in the NBA because there is no hope for the future. I’d rather the team be young and terrible than old and mediocre. It would be fun to pull for the Blazers team because they are very, very young and poised to blow up. They are going to have another lottery pick this year to add to their already talented, young team. It would be great if we could snag that franchise, but it’s not going to happen. New Orleans would be great to have here as well, but that also isn’t going to happen. I don’t want Memphis’s team and I don’t want Charlotte’s team. I’d like the current team to stay because of the flexibility that they have. Now, all that being said, I have not watched one NBA game this year from start to finish and probably only tuned in to 10-15 total for any stretch of time. The NBA regular season is a lot more fun to follow in print than it is to actually watch all of the games. The season is just way too long and the games don’t seem to mean that much except for playoff positioning. But as much as I dislike the regular season, the playoffs are a different story, I’d rather they cut the games from best of 7 to best of 5, but again, that isn’t going to happen.

Anyway, I’ll be sad when the rug gets pulled out from under us because Seattle will have second-class status, and that blows.

A friend of mine from college went to med school in Chicago and during his time there, he and some of his buddies developed a shtick they called “Clownin’.” They would get dressed up in full clown suits, nose, big shoes, hair, makeup, the whole deal and hit the bars. As part of their routine they’d walk in to a bar and head to a table and just act pissed off and do shots. When someone asked them what was wrong, they’d say that they just came back from a stint at a children’s hospital and one of them was making balloon animals and it blew up in a kid’s face, so they were upset about it. The thing about it was, they would always hook up with women this way. I don’t know what kind of quality we’re talking about here, but I don’t think that was the point. They did this frequently, maybe once or twice a month for like four years. Pretty amazing.

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