Waaaaayyyy too many commercials during UK and UNC Elite 8 game!

Trying to watch the NCAA basketball game between NC and Kentucky, but endless commercials, in a great defensive but poor offensive game (lots of turnovers, forced shots and bricks). Leaned towards turning game off.  Commercials are non-creative typical F500 yawners: Insurance, cars, fast food, lawn care, cell phones and two banks.  My favorite commercials in March Madness are the Mayhem ones, but there were only two different ones and they got tiresome quickly. Every time we return from a commercial we are given 1 or 2 more endorsements as the game starts to play. Kentucky and NC both shooting awfully with a lot of turnovers, but on the plus side I am a fan of how both teams play (not afraid to work it down in the post)…. Ended up watching game on iPad and played GTA during commercial breaks, which was better. Amazing shot by Monk (Kentucky) tied game with few seconds left, then Mayes (UNC) buried a game winner with .03 left…

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Waaaaayyyy too many commercials during UK and UNC Elite 8 game!

Somehow I was good at passing into the post without realizing it.

Our 9th and 10th grade basketball teams were good.  We went like 7-4 in 9th grade, then returned all those players in 10th grade to go undefeated and win the tournament.  What I remember most from those years was having two good big men: Tom and Matt.  Tom was taller than most, but more importantly he was wide and quick with a good bank shot.  Matt was much taller than everyone else and had a low shooting percentage but often would get his own rebound until he could put the ball into the hoop.  We weren’t taught to do this, but I learned (I think from watching so much basketball) to feed them; I’d sit at the top of the key and wait for them to jostle enough to get open then throw it in.  WIth Tom, I’d throw the ball to his open arm, just off his shoulder, so he could catch and swivel away from the defender for a bank shot.  For Matt, I’d throw it straight in but high.  I remember getting a lot of assists that way.  

I was a really good outside shot but used that shot selectively (rarely), since there was no three point line and we were always taught to take close shots.  The times I shot from beyond 17′ feet I was called a gunner or told to pass inside.  Except one time, we had a substitute coach and he called time part way into the game and called us together – “you need to take advantage of Robert’s outside shot” he told the team.  I still remember and appreciate that, the only time in youth basketball where I was encouraged to shoot from outside.  A few kids made comments that I was a much bettter 1 on 1 player than a league player, but that was because I could shoot when and whre I wanted without getting pulled from the game or hollered at. :). It is why I always did so much better on the playgrounds all the way thorugh college.

Somehow I was good at passing into the post without realizing it.

Funny story in “Underbelly Hoops”

Reading “Underbelly Hoops,” following a season in the CBA (minor league basketball).  It’s an enjoyable book and a funny story I read in it overnight:  a player has too much to drink and passes out on a night off, and as a prank some of his teammates deposit him under the Christmas tree (like a gift) at the police department.  

The writer of the book played ball at Purdue before playing minor league basketball.  I read that he is now a professor at DePaul (which ironically was my favorite college basketball team in the early 1980s, when I was in junior high school and Ray Meyer was coach), which is impressive.

Funny story in “Underbelly Hoops”

Funny story in Underbelly Hoops

Reading “Underbelly Hoops,” following a season in the CBA (minor league basketball).  It’s an enjoyable book and a funny story I read in it overnight:  a player has too much to drink and passes out on a night off, and as a prank some of his teammates deposit him under the Christmas tree (like a gift) at the police department.  

The writer of the book played ball at Purdue before playing minor league basketball.  I read that he is now a professor at DePaul (which ironically was my favorite college basketball team in the early 1980s, when I was in junior high school and Ray Meyer was coach), which is impressive.

Funny story in Underbelly Hoops

Childhood acquaintance battling cancer

P was a kid from another neighborhood but who’d we bump into from time to time in sports.  THere were a million such kids who were long ago forgotten but P was memorable because he was a plus-sized kid (had metabolic issues) who was a fantastic athlete.  He scored every point on his basketball team because of a deadly shot and hit long home runs in little-league baseball.  When we were adults we played softball with him; he was still plus-sized and still a great athlete – he was a great infielder and hit long towering home runs once or twice every game.  Later, he helped lead another team to a state softball championship…  He wasn’t a happy-go-lucky guy, but *was* easy going and pleasant to be around, and I never remember him being angry or frustrated, not once… Just learned he is battling cancer that is likely terminal.  Bleh.  And double bleh.

Childhood acquaintance battling cancer

High energy dance music makes me miss sports

I’ve never truly liked dancing (except when I’ve had a few drinks) although I truly love being in dance clubs to hear the music.  I find the pulsing music thrilling and an adrenaline rush and it makes me feel alive, and makes me want to play high octane sports (e.g. basketball, football).  

When I was in high school my team would play music sometimes while we practiced/scrimmaged, and that was always a problem for me because it pumped me up so much that I would start playing out of control, which would make me prone to mistakes 🙂  The one exception is the time that I was in one of those zones – the music-inducing energy combined with the zone resulted in an unbelievable scrimmage for me that my teammates were talking about afterward. 

I was always a streak player (other than softball hitting and football catching, where I was pretty consistent).  I’d go through stretches in a season where I was the best player on the court, and then go through awful stretches where I was benched.  I always knew I’d have one good streak and one bad streak in a season and that it would last a few games, I just didn’t know when.  Boy it felt good when I was on, and boy it sucked when I was off (would have nightmares about it).  

My dream was to play college basketball, which was my obsession in high school.  I was a freakishly good shooter in high school and had tireless energy, but I was small (5’11”), slow, a little immature, it was before the three point shot, I played for a fast break team and honestly never had great coaches (the time I went to a high school basketball camp and a couple of coaches worked with me, I was named one of the MVPs).  Ironically, after high school I got stronger and developed foot speed, and they added a 3-point shot.  In short, it was never meant to be.  But I still can feel that love of baskeball I felt, and still love to hear dance music 🙂

Note: the baskeball player I ever saw was Cali D, a friend of a friend who lived in California.  He was only 5’10” but was darty-quick, could leap like a freak and had uncanny court sense. He was his high school league MVP, recruited by DIvision 1 but played for a small college (his dad was rich, he was easygoing, and he didn’t want the pressure of playing D1 I think). He played with us once at the playground and guys were getting pissed as he ran circles around them – I’ve never seen anything like it, even when we played with some UW basketball players once.  

My favorte team ever were the Loyola Maramount teams of the late 80s, the ones that ran at a relentless pace and wore other teams down.  One time in college during a pick up game, three guys like myself (5’11”, but high energy) got on the same team (plus one of the guys girlfriends played with us) and we pressed and ran the entire time, and I think ran off 10 games in a row in a crowded gym, which was pissing off some of the taller guys, especially since one of our players was a girl who claimed to not like basketball.  One of thestarters  from the college (NAIA) team joined in, saying he was going to put an end to our run, and we beat him too.  It was the relentless defense then the running for layups, plus one of the guys had a great 3-point shot during the fast break, and it is hard to break that when you aren’t playing on a prepared (pick up) team.  That was my favorite pick up game day ever, of course.

High energy dance music makes me miss sports

It is amazing how much the moments before a Job Interview are like the moments before a sports game for me

Before lung disease forced my retirement, I loved play softball and flag football.  And when I was a kid I loved playing basketball.  What I remember are the day and moments before games: I’d control my diet, pre-game activity and mindset all day long, and then in the moments before a game I tried very hard to focus on the game, to visualize it, to not allow myself to get distracted by chores, work, etc.

When I interview for a job, it is the same way.  I make sure I get enough sleep the day before, I try to rest as much as possible the day before, then the day of I regulate my caffeine, diet and exercise to maximize my performance at the time of the interview.  In the moments before the interview, I think through all the questions, I put away my phone and I focus on my breathing/energy so that when the interviewer arrives/calls and starts asking me questions I am at 100% of all I can possibly do.  For awhile, before my illness, I didn’t have to worry about it quite as much, but now all those things are extremely important.  The actual job can be done with inertia and experience, but the interview takes 100% clear thought and energy.

I am glad I played sports.  I feel like it was a good prep for interviewing.  Along those same lines, one of my favorite feelings in life are in those final minutes before tip-off in basketball: the sounds, smells (of oiled hardwood), and the possibility of a great game.  My favorite moment in sports has always been lacing a line drive over shortstop where I know I have a chance to turn a single into a double, and when a shot basketball starts to fall through the rim into the net.

It is amazing how much the moments before a Job Interview are like the moments before a sports game for me