Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tuesday's Top Ten: Things That Stopped a Pick-Up Game When We Were Kids

Yeah it's 2 days late and at this moment this is more of a "Thursday's Top Ten" than Tuesday's but this list is the only ways you can stop or pause a pick-up basketball game in the midst of it. Also I assigned a threat of each # of ending the game based on the likelihood of it occurring.

  1. When the ball rolls in bird/dog shit or spit. Nobody wants to touch it. The basketball might as well have AIDS as far as kids are concerned with it and there's a good chance that your shirt is ruined if it takes a funky bounce off the rim and hits you anywhere and you will be forever linked to doo-doo and adopt that nickname or some variation of it. Unless it rained in the past 24 hours and there's a puddle to wipe the ball off in somewhere on the court or in the street that's just enough to stop a pick-up game. Threat:2.7/10
  2. When you're not paying attention and catch a gnat in your eye. It always feels cold on your eyeball and it doesn't die immediately so you have to suffer through it moving for ten minutes or so then you have to contort your eyeball until it reaches the corner of your eye and you can pick it out. Gnats are generally some of the biggest haters in nature. They can't stand you outside doing your thing. Taking a walk with your girl. Gnats hate. Work up a sweat playing basketball. Gnats hate. Mow your lawn. Gnats hate. Threat: 6.4/10
  3. Loose Dog, most probably from the aforementioned dog in #1's scenario. There's really nothing you can do about this. There's no measure of protection from the threat of loose German Sheppard. You just always have to have your head on a swivel. If you can watch for the pick and roll, you cant watch for the pit bull. Most often someone in the group spots the dog before it's too late and the dog never makes it onto the court before someone notices it. Usually you can see the dog wandering aimlessly down the street with no particular plans and start to make moves before he makes moves on you. Threat: 3.0/10
  4. Lightning. Rain does not stop a basketball game. Rain doesn't do shit but make your jumper that much prettier when you make a shot because of the moisture it gives the net. Thunder changes the entire equation though. The threat of electrocution creates a mass exodus for most sane people. Most people aren't willing to die over a game of 21. Water is a conductor of electricity. If it's raining than everything gets wet. If everything is wet than everything is fair game to the thunder. Lightning don't give a shit. Plus the tallest thing outside usually is at the most risk of direct lightning contact. Threat 3.2/10
  5. Attractive Girl Walks By. If it's just hot enough and the testosterone is flowing just right and the girl throws just enough of a glance the court's way in an acknowledgment that you all exist, the game will pause as one of you will automatically go caveman in pursuit of the fairer sex. Threat 5.9/10
  6. Fight. A basketball game is fertile ground for altercation. Competition, heat, physicality, trash talk and emotion. A perfect storm for a fit of madness. Threat 7.8/10
  7. Fatigue. Most pickup games I've been apart of didn't have an exit strategy. It was Iraq with a basketball. They don't set up points, or a number to reach before it's over. None of that. You just play so long that the score doesn't matter. Nobody keeps track of that kind of thing. Since there is no such thing as an injury in pick-up ball, fatigue has to be the thing that stops it. Threat 9.7/10
  8. Flat Ball. Basketballs are tricky. You might start a game and then after a few possessions realize the ball isn't bouncing off the pavement as hard as it once did but you can make adjustments but after a while the more the ball fails to make it up to your hand as you dribble it the more you resign to the fact that this sucks and you don't care to finish up. Threat 3.8/10
  9. Darkness. When Charlie Murphy creeps up in the game and you can no longer see the hoop the game is over. If you're just shooting just to shoot and you have no idea where the goal is and if you're even making the shots and you're judging if you're making shots based on sounds then you need to quit the game. There's a reason Stevie Wonder (speaking of Stevie, if he dies are there any more famous blind people left?) isn't posting up guys in the paint. You can't play basketball based on sounds. Threat 10/10
  10. When the basketball gets a titty because it got ran over or somebody slams it to hard on the pavement. It's impossible to dribble a ball with a titty. You might as well be dribbling a football. This is death to a game. Threat 10/10

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