Where to begin?
I haven’t been able to get a Blog out for ages even though life did slow to down from warp speed after our basketball season ended. Unfortunately, one notch down from warp speed is still fairly fast and our calendar notations/reminders remain something akin to a monkey’s splatter painting – there ain’t no space left and most days have multiple items listed.
The ever present refrain of, “That’s what keeps you young, Jimbo.” is getting a little over-used around here, my friends. My annual physical tomorrow with Dr. Pokenprobe is long overdue.
So, in an attempt to get the writing juices flowing and, given that this is a rainy day with little prospect for outdoor activity, I’ll take a fling at listing a few of the mishaps and happenstances of the past little while, hoping of course, that you might find them amusing or worthy of a smirk or a smile.
Basketball Season Ends the Day After Prom Night
Who would have thunk?
Yes, our biggest tournament of the year was fraught with drama as our Under 17 team of young teenage boy’s struggled with the sport vs social life conundrum.
To party or, not to party, that was the question.
In the end, Prom Night won out.
In our last and most crucial game, several of our key players showed up as mere shadows of themselves. The lure of the after-prom party had sucked them into a vortex of teenage-hormonal nirvana. Most of them had been out well past three in the morning and an alcohol haze lingered in the glaze of their eyes and their obvious loss of muscular coordination. The expression of “Two piss holes in the snow” well described the look in their eyes.
One particular player was carrying his post party anger bag and at one point threatened, “If you put me on I’m gonna take out that guy.”
I let him sit.
Later, after talking him through his post party delirium and gaining assurance he would throw down baskets and not opponents, I put him on the floor. Within a minute, he crashed into an opposing player purely by accident (Kind of a basketball train wreck.) and then protecting himself, thrust out his hands, pushing the poor guy to the boards, much to the consternation of the fans in attendance. Of course, I pulled him off the floor because, despite it being a clumsy accident, it looked a lot like a mugging on the mean streets of New York City.
The player wouldn’t speak to me for the rest of the game. He thought I showed him up. He was mad because he believed I thought he committed this heinous act on purpose. His mom later told me I hurt his feelings.
There was so much drama on the bench –whining, complaining, arguing and little hissy fits – that I called a time out and finally said, “Would you boy’s put down your purses and play basketball?”
Well, by the second half that’s exactly what they did.
We knew we couldn’t make the quarter finals, even with a win, but we did know our opponent had a mathematical chance based on score differential. The opposing coach was a bit of an ass, screaming at his players constantly, to the point that the table officials were getting very annoyed. That was our motivation.
Even with a lead they full-court-pressed us constantly, trying to get that differential they needed. But, we would have none of that. Even though we lost in the end, the team came together as a cohesive force and played some of their best basketball ever. This team was from a city of 200 000 + playing a farming community of hung over farm boys.
Our little victory was that we prevented this team from using us as canon-fodder on their way to the championship round.
Our last ploy was to counter each of the opposing team’s time outs in the dying seconds with a time out of our own –delaying the inevitable – the elimination of their team.
I was disappointed in those 4 or 5 players who put their social life ahead of the game. But, it was their Prom after all, and this is a small town area where some experiences are once in a lifetime-important.
Hey, I tried to get Lebron, but I’m afraid a place called Turkey Point doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of a Miami even though it does have the beach.
The Great Muskoka Adventure: Part 1
After my wife, the teacher, finished school and the Phenom finished Basketball Camp at Humber College, we headed north to the land of the loon. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law had invited us to their cottage for five days of rest and relaxation. Even though it’s a five hour drive to get there, we jumped at the chance to stay in one of the most beautiful parts of Ontario. Their cottage is across the Lake from Port Loring on desolate Highway 522.
I love it there. Getting up at 6am each morning, my usual plan is to grab the canoe and head out on the waters until the rest of the clan crawls out of their slumber sacks. All I hear is the chirping of birds and the gentle lapping of water as the sun rises above the lake – the totally silent moments actually offend my city bred ears. It feels that uncomfortable in the beginning.
Nevertheless, as Jimbo has outlined in previous blogs, this would be an appropriate place to add a soundtrack of Neil Young’s, “Helpless!” And, I mean helpless in a more literal sense than Neil intended. Indeed, my relatives would more likely title my sound track, “Hapless!”
You see, my sister-in-law kept chiding me by saying, “Take out the kayak, Jimbo, I think you’ll really like it.”
“Well, maybe?” I’d respond.
After she’d said this for the umpteenth time I decide to take a flyer at kayak navigation. I was a little leery because at 6 am there would be no one to lend me a hand, I’d be on my own and literally - “Hapless”.
No matter, that’s why someone invented life-jackets. Right?
Getting aboard was my first objective and, after several tries of trying to mount the beast from the dock, I decided that this “tippy” contraption would have to be entered from water level. I’d step in the knee deep docking area and slither aboard. You see in a kayak you must enter an oval section or cockpit, slip your legs and feet forward and wedge your beer gut somewhere into this nanospace, all the while keeping the craft in stable equilibrium.
I am pleased to report that I did this on the first try. However, forgetting to take the elastic band off the rudder meant I had to dismount and attempt the dirty deed once more.
Apparently success came in double doses this day, as I once again slid effortlessly into position. However, I did feel a bit uncomfortable seeing as I felt like a square peg in a round hole. No matter, I used the paddle to push off, I flipped the rudder down as the water depth increased and off I went, paddling gently through the pristine water.
The first thing I noticed was that any body movement attempted by me was translated into an equal and opposite movement by the kayak in a rock-and-roll kind of fit of instability. Duly noted, I paddled on with care, with my body as stiff as a bronze statue, save for my arms that were doing he paddling.
My sister-in-law had explained that there were foot pedals I could use to control the rudder. Stretching my legs deeper into the front cavity, I found no such devices.At that point, I think I was about ten feet from the dock.
Maybe the pedals are further back from my feet, I thought? I remembered my shorter-than-me niece using the craft most recently. So, being the adventurous mariner that I am, I started to pull my feet back, and feeling along as I went, hoped to find those damn pedals.
“Ah, there they are,” I moaned, as my feet caught and locked onto the apparatus. I felt as if my knees were at my chin and my ass was touching my heels. This would not work, my friends. I felt I had to dislodge my feet and get a more comfortable perch; otherwise my depressed diaphragm was going to put me into hyperventilation. I felt as if I’d become a human’ wedgie, stuck fast in the ass crack of a kayak. My breaths became short and choppy pants.
“Release your feet,” I kept thinking, which was far easier said than done. How would Houdini accomplish this task, I wondered?
As I struggled, I completely forgot what I had learned earlier – to each muscular exertion there would be an equal and opposite swing and sway effect on the craft’s stability. Just as I released one of my feet, I felt the entire kayak’s superstructure dip to my right and with a tremendous splash my melon head hit the water.
This of course was followed by another 180 pounds of hapless’ adventurer, who slithered out of the cockpit as if the craft was expunging an unwanted toxic suppository.
Gone was my hat. Gone were my prescription sun glasses.
But, I laughed and chortled as my feet touched the bottom in the waist deep water. I was a mere hop, skip and a jump from the dock. I’d travelled about twenty-five feet, I’d say. I’m sure I looked like a drowned rat as I emerged from the icy water. Fortunately, there were no witnesses to this happenstance, save for a few fishes and loon.
Later, my brother-in-law said he heard coughing, which in turn broke his slumber at the moment of my capsizing. He also said you could adjust the seat-back so that your feet fit into the peddles more easily. Hmmmmmmm!
My sister-in-law felt bad about my misadventure and she and my nephew attempted many underwater dives looking for my lost paraphernalia. I am indebted to here for eventually pulling my Margaretville Jimmy Buffet hat from the drink. That would have been a big loss for me.
Thank you, Leslie. That was beyond the call of duty.
As for the glasses, I’m sure one of my little nieces will land them as a special catch as they fish from the dock this summer. They’ll know exactly what they’ve found because everyone in the family now has heard the tale of how Jimbo tipped they kayak a mere twenty-five feet from the dock and lost his glasses. Indeed, my chapter in the book of family lore is getting bigger by the day.
And by the way, they all ask me the same question. “How do you tip a kayak?”
With a shout out to Neil Young, I find it best to respond in song with, “I am, hapless, hapless, hapless, hapless!”