High-School Basketball Memoirs - 03.30.98

As I mentioned somewhere in another essay, I played high-school basketball. While I wasn't particularly good, I didn't do too bad unless I was pitted against someone a lot stronger than me (I'm kind of a weak boy).

During my senior year, our team was pretty much middle of the road. We won some games and we lost some games, but never by an exorbitant amount either way. Although I've lost touch with them all now, all the seniors on the team got along really well while playing. Off the court, everyone went their seperate ways (which explains us not keeping in touch), but for the 1.5 hours of practice every day and during games, we seemed to bond pretty well. If anything, we were a little bit too laid-back and didn't take things serious enough (at least for our coach).

We made mix tapes that we would play before the beginning of games, and they weren't the standard fare. While most teams favored Queen, AC/DC, and Van Halen to get pumped up in their gym, a good friend of mine and I had other ideas. During the first home game of the year, we ran out onto the floor to "The Imperial March" by John Williams (Darth Vaders Theme from Star Wars). As soon as it had finished, "O Fortuna" by Apotheosis (a classic , cheesy techno song) came roaring out of the speakers. People in the crowd stared up at the speakers, wondering what the hell it was while we ran through our warmups. The final three songs on the tape were Ministrys "NWO," They Can't Be Giants' "Istanbul Not Constantinople," and the Lemonheads, "Mrs. Robinson." It was a rippin' good time, but unfortunately the school felt it neccessary to get rid of our music only two games later. The "pep-band" was to be our inspiration the remaining home games.

Anyway, I'm getting away from the main story I was trying to tell in the first place. One of the highlights of every year was the Basketball tournament that we played in. It took place over Christmas Break and because it was in a town quite a ways off, our school footed the bill for us to stay overnight in a hotel. Traditionally, we would eat a huge buffet meal at a local restaurant and it was just a good time in general.

On this year, we had lost our first-round game and went back to the hotel. It was early evening and we had just eaten our buffet dinner and were stuffed. With team and coaches, we had a chunk of about 6 rooms taken at one end of the place. Since there was no pool, everyone went about there different forms of entertainment. Card games broke out in some rooms, while others settled back and watched some television (with cable!).

At about 10 pm, the coaches started coming around to and quieting things down. Everyone went back to their respective rooms and started getting settled in for the evening. There were 4 guys in our room and we were all just chilling out. I was watching some MTV when the video for Nine Inch Nails' "Wish" made its premiere on 120 Minutes. The other guys started gathering around watching it and one of them made the comment that, "those guys have to be satanic." He didn't know it right then, but he had spawned a conversation.

After the video was over, we all settled down again and someone murmured that the video was, "psycho." A few moments later, we started throwing different bits into the conversation and it eventually became a discussion on religion. We eventually started talking about the end of the world and someone found a copy of the hotel bible in the nightstand drawer. I snagged it from them and flipped directly to Revelations, where I started reading about the signs of the apocolypse and the second coming.

By this time, everyone was adding their take on the subject and the clock was rolling its way past midnight. After everything had calmed down a bit and all of us had gotten our thoughts in on the subject, it was just past 1am. We decided we had try to get some rejuvination for the game the next day, so we shut off the lights and went to sleep.

During the first half of the game the next day, everyone on the team was a bit sluggish. The huge buffet dinner and lack of sleep the night before didn't help matters much. The team we were playing wasn't quite as good talent-wise (in my humble opinion), but they were beating us by almost 10 points when we went into the locker room at halftime.

When my coach came in the doors behind us, I thought he was going to explode. He walked into the center of the room, threw down his clipboard, and immediately started yelling. After ranting for about 3 minutes about everything that we were doing wrong, he said something that went sort of like this:
"You guys never take this tournament seriously. We come down here every year and just because it's over the holiday, everyone thinks that they don't have to play their hardest. It's like you don't even care to come down and play, I mean, I heard you guys up talking still at 1am last night."

Looking like he wasn't quite finished with us, he then questioned my roomates and I with, "What the hell were you guys doing up that late anyway?"
Without only a couple seconds pause, my friend mechanically stated, "Reading the bible, sir."

While the rest of us grinned, knowing what he said was technically correct, my coach flew into even more of an outrage. "THAT'S BULLSHIT!" was his first reply, and he then went into another tirade about how we thought everything was a big joke. He then told us that if we wanted to be comedians, we could sit on the bench and be comedians.

At the beginning of the second half, all 4 of us roomates were at the end of the bench. We still chuckled at what had been said and gave my friend a hard time for making a smart remark. Eventually, tempers cooled and we all got in the game and even managed to win. On the bus ride home, we passed around our 3rd place (out of four teams) plaque and started repeating, "that's bullshit!" over and over again.