Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Interlude-"The Move"

It is a normal eighth-grade practice at the crackerbox Our Lady of Perpetual Help "gymnasium." The gym is more often used as a parish staging area, or for school pancake breakfasts or for rowdy parish group meetings. And it shows--faded free-throw line, incredibly inconsistent three point-lines and ridiculously-small spacing between three-point lines and halfcourt, baselines and wall.  
In the middle of a heated practice for the varsity boys team, I catch an outlet pass around "halfcourt," where I am met immediately by Tom Bermudez, a friend and the type of friend who you compete against on a daily basis for neighborhood pride.  His ball hawking forces me to catch the pass, transfer it to my left hand, spin (for some reason) off him, and catch the ball in stride with a my right hand, whereupon I continue dribbling towards the basket with an astonished Tom left in my wake.
Years later, when Allen Iverson was at the apex of his fame and ability, he made a Reebok commercial in which he made a similiar move, one that clearly could not be used in a game, and Tom joked that I should get royalty fees.  Tom is and was the type of guy with a childlike enthusiasm such that he couldn't contain his glee after I made "The Move," even if he were the victim of such tricky greatness.  Even today when we see each other, the conversation invariably comes back to "The Move," no matter the occasion or the conversation topic.
The truth?  It was a lucky move, one that was forced by the particular circumstances, one that I do not honestly think could be replicated by me in 100 tries.  
But, man, did I feel like The Ish after that move and whenever it was brought up as evidence of my prodigious Game.  
This was Street Cred.  This was Juice.  This was Respect.
Man, I should have retired right then and there, complete with crocodile tears at a press conference held at the school and replete with Jim Brown comparisons... 

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9, 2010--Back on the Horse

"Time flies." What does that even mean? How can time fly? Isn't time just time? Doesn't time tick away in the same practical and emotionless way each day?
I must say, however, that time does fly, it seems. It has been a year since my first post, and it seems like my quest to dunk is situated exactly where it was a year ago.
Here I sit--again with a few weeks of free time before I start teaching again, with the hours stretching ahead listlessly. The life of a teacher and basketball coach is such a frenetic one during 10-11 months of a year, so much so that the remaining month or two is alternately absolutely necessary for sanity and strangely boring in its leisurely pace.
I am happy to report a return to the dunk workout schedule tonight, my workout a quiet success, if only for its workmanlike nature. I did my 25 calf raises, 20 rim touches, 20 squats, and five knee-to-chest jumps. These exercises are exactly what was prescribed by my high school workout book. This is also the exact same number that I started with a year ago. Should I be comforted by this uniformity, or disturbed that I haven't made any measurable progress in 365 days?
It seems significant to me that I have returned to my workouts on the day of my "birthday." Today I am exactly 29 years and six months old. Based on the fact that I was born at 1:10 am, doesn't this mean that I am closer to 30 than I am to 29? Maybe this milestone will inspire me to dunk, for real, by the big 3-0...