It Ain’t Too Much For Me To Jam

13 October, 2011 (12:00) | Memories

My senior year in high school, I was dunking.  My hands were too small to palm a basketball firmly enough, so I had to build up the ability to get high enough for both hands to be above the rim.

Let me step back a bit.  We had a new coach my senior year.  I was also spending half days at high school and the second half at a Laurel Business Institute pursuing an associate degree.  On those days that we had basketball practice right after school, I’d either have to miss practice, or show up really late.

Now, most adults have the student’s best intentions in mind.  Like in soccer, my coach didn’t penalize me for missing practices.  He knew that I wanted to play, and I was the kind of guy that would work extra hard to make up for it in a game.  My basketball coach did not share the same view.  Sometimes, my teammates would agree with me that our coach had something personal against me.

Flash to an early season game at Charleroi.  We’re doing our warm-up lay-up drill and I’m feeling pretty energetic.  All of us are always trying to get as high as we can.  In my mind, I didn’t know that it was considered a technical foul to dunk in warm-ups.  I also didn’t do a flagrant, hanging from the rim, kicking my legs, aggressive, spectacle of a dunk.  I just tipped it in the basket.  The ref didn’t like it though, and immediately blew the whistle.  Everyone was confused.  That’s probably the only pre-game whistle anyone will ever hear.  The other team was awarded 2 foul shots, before the clock started, and they made them both.

Our coach was livid.  At half-time, the locker room “pep talk” included references to everyone having to make up for my mistake.  When we came back at the end of the game, having lost by 2 points (the equivalent of the 2 foul shots)  The coach specifically said we lost the game because of me and even physically pointed at me.

I didn’t get to play that game, and many games after that.  Had I been given the chance to prove my worth, I’m confident my season would have gone a lot better than it had.  I think that coach was one of the first people to confuse me with their ridiculousness.  Logically, without those foul shots, that just ties the game.  Even in practical terms, to say I caused our team to lose the game, without me actually participating in the game, seems wrong if not just simply unfair.

Anyway, I dunked my senior year of high school.  If you don’t believe, go ask the old coach. I bet he blames his short lived coaching career on me dunking.