Tag Archives: basketball

Don’t go home with strangers

If I wanted, my drive to work could be 29 minutes. Instead, it is 31. It could be an easy ride with minimal turns and country views. Instead, I go through two rotaries and pass a homeless man who hates me and a house so patriotic it makes me feel Canadian. I choose to take this detour because, if I didn’t, every day would be a reminder of the time I accidentally and aggressively stalked a family man.

Eh?

I played basketball from 4th grade through 11th. Before I go any further, I’d like to apologize to every b-balling teammate I ever had.

For the time I let the girl who looked like a coonskin cap score a three-pointer in the last second and win the game for her team.

For the time I innocently forgot our coach had Tourette’s and I laughed at one of his tics.

For the time(s) I wasn’t paying attention and not even mentally repeating the Sister Act II line “If you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere, you’ve got to wake up and paaaay attention” could get my head back into the game.

For the time I popped a lung huffing dog food and left the team without a timid forward-center for two weeks.

For the time I paid so little attention during my basketball career that I had to Google “forward-center”.

Seriously, ladiez. My b.

I liked (and like) playing basketball, and I actually wasn’t that horrendous of a baller — I’m just too weird to play team sports. For one, group camaraderie makes me feel uncomfortable. For another, when I’m not reciting Whoopi Goldberg quotes or urging myself to pay attention, I’m planning my next meal or considering giant uses for normal-sized things; there’s simply not enough space in my head to remember how to run plays or which basket is whose or that I’m supposed to wear the white uniform for home games.

The kid I had a crush on in high school, who played for the boy’s varsity team, once told me he liked going to girl’s games to watch me play. I was flattered until he followed it up with “When the coach finally puts you in for the last few seconds of the game you look so confused. You kinda just sprint randomly around the court. It’s very entertaining.”

What he said barely even upset me. It was true.

As you can imagine, I was not the most popular member of the team. I had some friends on the team, but on the occasions they invited me to basketball parties, I usually passed. The only time I didn’t pass, actually, was when one of the seniors said she was going to have  a spaghetti dinner with whoopie pies for dessert. It was like my team and I were speaking the same language for the first time.

Who would pass up a party with this on the menu?

Obviously I accepted the invitation. Even more obviously, I didn’t know where the spaghetti host lived. And da most obviously, no one rode with me so I had to follow the convoy of carpoolers all by me lonesome.

Turns out, apart from being a terrible teammate, I also suck at following cars.

The girl who was directly in front of me was driving a big truck and I swear she was doin’ fifty-five in a fifty-fo. I couldn’t keep up! She was too fast (too fast), too furious (too furious), TOO FAST FOR YA’LL MANG.

WE DOIN’ A HUNDID ON DA HIGHWAY

Thankfully I was able to catch up to her truck at a four-way stop (the same four-way stop I should go through on my drive to work).  She took a left and I followed.

And I continued following for 15 minutes. I continued following even after we passed the street I thought the spaghetti host lived on, and even after we drove out of the school district boundaries, and even after we drove out of the next school district’s boundaries.

After 20 minutes of following the truck — who, at this point, was the only vehicle on the road besides me — I started getting nervous I was going the wrong way. Actually, I was 97% sure I was going the wrong way. But my cell phone was dead and I was jonesing for whoopie pies in bad way, so I took the 3% possibility and drove with it. I drove with it until the truck turned onto a long driveway, and then I drove with it right up that long driveway.

As soon as I saw the house at the end of the driveway there was no longer any doubt; I was 100% sure  I was at the wrong place. None of my teammates’ cars were there. I couldn’t smell any sign of marinara sauce, garlic bread, or Whoopi Goldberg. And, maybe the most telling of all, instead of a team full of basketball girls, there were two little girls and their mother. They’d been watching out the window for their dad to come home and when they saw his truck’s headlights coming up the drive, they ran outside to greet him.

Well, actually, they ran outside to greet their dad and the 16-year-old girl who had followed him home.

In response to their (first enthusiastic and then scared) greeting, I stepped out of my car, raised my hand in apology, got back in my car, and backed up the entire driveway. I didn’t say a single word to explain why I’d followed their dad home. I just raised my hand and drove away. I still didn’t know where the spaghetti dinner was, but I was able to find the way back to my own house.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to work and I’m two minutes behind schedule.

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When Pedigree turns deadly/How dog food can put you in the hospital

Chico turns two today! And after his recent bout of kennel cough and squirt of skunk stink to the dome, I’m sure he’s excited to get buck wild his birthday. I’m planning on joining in on the celebrations — I love that little mufugga.

"This leather smells fab."

I love almost everything about him — I love him all the way from his beady monkey eyes to his wagging tail stub. The only thing I don’t love about Chico is that, when it comes to eating, he’s a bit of a prima donna. Nothing’s ever good enough for his sophisticated puppy palate.

He’s such a picky eater, in fact, that sometimes my mom gets so frustrated with his dogorexia that she flops herself down on the floor and feeds the little diva by hand. I find this troublesome.

But it’s not the sight of my mom spoon-feeding the dog that bothers me so much; it’s the fact that the food she spoon-feeds him is wet dog food, not dry dog food. I really like dry dog food.

Or, to be more specific, I really like the smell of dry dog food.

I first discovered my love for the smell of dog food with our old dog, Halle. She was the opposite of Chico – both physically and foodically.

She was giant; Chico is mini.

Halle’s meals were stored in a trash bin and consisted of Pedigree dry dog food. When she got hungry, she’d knock her aluminum bowl with her Schnauzer schnoz, and wait for one of her faithful Conns to come a-running. I tried to always be the one to answer her calling. Not only did I get to serve my precious Halle, but I got some quality dog food-sniffing time. Sadly enough, this lovely habit ended with a night in the hospital.

A Cautionary Tale

My junior year of high school, I was the V.I.P. of the high school basketball team. I balled out of control so hard — blocking and rebounding and boxing out and whatnot — that I swung between varsity and J.V. They needed my talent for every league, and I was happy to comply.

One night, as I shot around during halftime of a varsity game (and after totally dominating a J.V. one), my chest started hurting something awful. Every inhale of breath was as sharp and jagged as my pointy chin.

Contorting my jaw like that really hurt.

At first I decided the chest pain was just fatigue; after all, two intense games of basketball back-to-back ain’t for the faint of chest. Then, when I remembered that I’d played lazily during the J.V. game and had yet to play even a minute in the varsity one, I decided physical exertion couldn’t have been the cause.

I did the only thing I could think of doing — I whined to the coach and the athletic trainer. They both ignored me (and why wouldn’t they? I wasn’t actually the V.I.P… just the space cadet who wore men’s size 13 moon boots to practice), so I toughed it out for the rest of the game by not moving (this was surprisingly easy).

By the time the game ended and I got back home, my chest was hurting worse than ever. Though hopeful that it was just a boob spurt, I asked my mom to take me to the hospital. I knew, boob spurt or not, I needed a doctor’s opinion.

The doctor’s opinion, of course, was that I was overreacting. Still, she humored me by X-raying mah shit. And boy, did my X-rayed shit offer some insight into mah shit.

Basically, my lungs were popping off, literally.

The alveoli on my lungs had burst and were leaking air throughout my body. The leaked air had my neck sounding like Rice Krispies and some important organs on the verge of collapse. Afraid my entire system might snap, crackle, and crash, the doctor lady had me spend the night at the hospital. She wanted to monitor my vital signs and, since she’d never seen it before, do some research on my condition.

After a restless night of Roseanne reruns and poop-inducing machine beeps, the doctor came back to tell me her findings. Apparently, popped lungs are common amongst crack smokers — the way they inhale crack so deeply sometimes causes their alveoli to explode. Since I hadn’t started hitting the pipe at that point, the doctor attributed my own case of popped lungs to my intense basketball regime.

But the second she said “inhale really deeply” I knew what had caused my episode: dog food.

Like I’ve already mentioned, every time I’d refill Halle’s bowl, I’d whiff her dog food as intensely as humanly possible.

I’d whiff her dog food as intensely as addicts inhale crack.

I’d whiff her dog food intensely enough to send me to the hospital for the night.*

Now, thankfully (and heartbreakingly), with Chico and his vile wet food, I’m no longer at risk for dog food huffing. I will admit, however, I still enjoy an occasional waft from the pet food aisle at the grocery store.

*Ben Gay may have played a small part in my popped lungs, too.

P.S. The smells of dry horse, cat, and rabbit food are also delicious.