Writing Switch: In the deed the glory
With the only sports-related thing on TV being ESPN’s Chicago Bulls documentary, we started reflecting on times when we were at the peak of our athletic prowess. We thought about calling it our own personal “The Last Dance,” but unlike MJ we never give up, and we keep dancing, even when the lights come on and it’s just us and a bunch of drunk guys left. This week we get in the zone and give an SVP-style retelling of our finest hours.
Eighth grade B team basketball
SB: First of all I should have been on the A team but the coach, who I can’t remember because I don’t take slights to the grave like Mike, said he “Didn’t want ball hogs on his team,” according to some kids on the A team. Turned out it didn’t matter because when you have a pool of 24 kids to fill two rosters, neither team is going to be good.
And I would have passed the ball but everybody sucked.
During my brief return to a small Catholic school in eighth grade, we didn’t even have enough guys for two teams so we had to bring in kids from the public schools — who happened to go to the same church — to fill out the rosters. The A team was mostly made up of them. It was fun, though, because all my friends were on the B team.
Neither squad was good at all but I got to dice up other lowly private school B teams while playing point center. At one point I was on the receiving end of a Box and 1, which is about as much respect as you can get from a middle school basketball coach. We’d inevitably lose because my wings were the kid who played with worms and home dude who got really into Kotton Mouth Kingz in high school.
However, at one point we got to scrimmage the A team and put it on them. I put up some buckets and swatted their center, who was the A team coach’s pet project, multiple times, prompting a “Stop bringing the ball down so low!” plea from his coach. (You could tell this wasn’t the first instance of frustration he had that season.) I’m pretty sure it was the best basketball I played all season.
Hat trick heroics
BW: Motivation when you’re almost a teenager comes from needing to have a better stat sheet than your buddies during Capri Sun storytime, and also the cute girls on your team. This is my last year before puberty hits and co-ed soccer splits off, separating hormonal triggers so we can live up to all AYSO’s expectations.
Every season has a new influx of players on military bases, so making friends wasn’t hard, until one day you’re moving in two weeks and never heard from again. If you’ve lived in Aspen for a while, this may sound familiar.
We were down 1-0, yet I was feeling confident in my red and purple jersey and bangs spiked with so much cheap hair gel not even sweat was letting those puppies droop. I scored a minute after halftime and they responded right after. “Look who’s winning,” sneered some cocky kid (if you are allowed to call them that). “Looks who’s gonna win,” I replied, much more cleverly.
I made a penalty kick to tie us, then deked the goalie for another score as time ran down. I’m last to walk off the field, as is the MVP’s perogative, grinning broadly at the coach, my dad.
“You’ve got some orange stuck in your braces,” he says. I must’ve hit him with a pretty good eye roll. “Nice job though, son.”
Hit stick football
SB: I didn’t play too much pickup tackle football because it routinely ended in fights/injuries due to the fact that we were, you know, playing pickup tackle football without pads. I’m pretty sure I no-called-no-showed/quit my godfather’s job to play football this fateful day.
I was having a pretty solid game; contributed a couple of touchdowns, had a nice stint at QB until a pitch that would’ve resulted in a TD was mishandled by the recipient. Soon thereafter, I missed a tackle and was pretty upset about it. The next play, the player I was covering caught a flare pass out of the backfield and I closed on him, bear hugged him and body-slammed into the ground, in the process injuring his knee and forcing a fumble, of which I caught midair and lateraled to a teammate, who returned it for a score.
The game ended pretty soon after that because a couple of guys swung on one another and the guy I suplexed was injured.
BW: Golf is not the game for a person who is easily frustrated when sportsballs don’t travel in their intended direction. After angrily launching tees into the pond after skipping another ball along the fairway 20 feet, I swore off golf and my hand-me-down 1970s clubs forever.
Until my friends needed another fiddle for their ensemble at the Barstool Open in Lincoln, Nebraska. For those unfamiliar with a Barstool Open, it’s when bars around town set up putt-putt holes and you play progressively sloppier mini golf. We resolved to have a drink at all 18 establishments, and after a little front-loading, I hit that familiar drunken concentration stride that got me through college.
Hole 3 was a foosball-styled box — plinked it off the corner and into the goal. Shots! I hit the gap across a bridge on hole 4 and into the cup. Shots! I read the slant of the green for a turkey. Shots! Seven times in a row my stroke was true, and walking on O Street I felt like Tiger Woods between holes at Augusta, adjusting my sequined glove and holding my putter like an M16 while the crowd parts ahead of me.
I’m not sure who actually won the tournament, as everyone eventually stopped keeping score and stayed at whatever bar they gave up in.
I woke up face down in a basket of fries and looked at my phone. “It’s 5 in the morning, how is this place still open?” I asked my roommate.
“That’s p.m., not a.m. Let’s get you home.”
SB: The time I shot like 3- to 5-over on 18 at the par 3.
The fact that Ben Welch has yet to best me in any game of basketball, including when I rolled my ankle and Kevin McHale-d my way to the W.
Shooting a personal best 88 at Aspen Glen. (I’m not a good golfer.)
A couple time in seventh grade at 24-Hour Fitness: Once when I crossed up a bunch of older Mexican guys a in an Iverson jersey and had a filthy dime for to finish it. Another time beating an older felon who was wearing a house-arrest monitor.
BW: Packing a dude so hard in freshman year that he broke his arm.
Sharpie-ing my white jersey with Air Jordan and T-Mac logos and song lyrics, putting it on in a game and being so embarrassed it mentally shut me down rest of the season.
Catching a double-tipped Hail Mary for a touchdown in the neighborhood Thanksgiving game.
I bowled 206 back before bowling drunk was a thing.
Rebuttaling four times in a row and making last cup to win a beer pong tournament.
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