The Yard Dog Award – The Destruction of Steve’s

17 Apr

I noticed a message about an intramural tournament on our campus marquee, and it brought to mind an intramural tournament during my college days. It also made me realize that the experience from long ago deserved the Yard Dog Award.Yard Dog

My roommates and I spent several late nights playing pickup basketball. That, of course, means a couple of things. First, we thought that we were decent basketball players. Second, we were too nerdy to find more fun late night activities.

Anyway, some of the regular players thought it would be a good idea to form a team and enter the intramural basketball league. Robert, one of my roommates, and I did not think it was a good idea. We did not consider ourselves to be the next Michael Jordan and knew that the other guys, no matter how delusional they were about their own skills, were also not the next Michael Jordan’s.

The team was called Steve’s. I have no idea why it was called Steve’s. Apparently, somebody thought that would be funny. That should give you an idea of our sense of humor.

We agreed to show up for the first game with the understanding that we would only play in an emergency, like someone losing a leg. When we walked into the gym, Robert and I knew that we should have stayed home.

The opposing team consisted of Prop 48 guys. In other words, they had been recruited to our school to play basketball but had not qualified academically. Their pre-game warmup was a dunk contest, and we were practicing our set shots. Yep, the nerdy guys who played pickup basketball was going to play against a team of college players.

Heck, their coach even showed up wearing a suit. Our coach did not show up wearing a suit because we did not have a coach.

The game went as you would expect. I cannot remember the score, but it was definitely too many to not enough. It was, in eloquent terms, an ass kicking.

As the clock wound down, Robert and I were still sitting at the end of the bench. Then, a couple of our friends, who had survived this beating, convinced us to go into the game and let them off the hook.

We did the best we could. We played hard on defense. We actually got some rebounds. I even made a layup because the guy guarding me knew that it did not make any difference. Unfortunately, there was one guy on their team who had not come to that conclusion.

I had the ball and passed it to Robert at the top of the circle. There was no one around him, which meant that he had an open three-point shot. That is when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the players run at Robert from under the basket. He jumped and hovered like a helicopter. As Robert let the ball go, the guy hung in the air and waited. Then, he blocked it.

When I say he blocked it, I am not describing it properly. When he hit the ball, it sounded like a gun going off. When it hit the wall at the other end of the court, it sounded like a bomb going off. Oh yeah, the ball did not hit the ground in between. This guy blocked a three-point shot and it slammed into the wall at the other end of the court.

I cannot remember if Steve’s continued playing in the league because Robert and I never went back. We had taken part in one of the biggest blowouts in basketball history and were not about to repeat the experience.

With all of that being written, the Yard Dog Award goes to those who thought playing in the intramural basketball league was a good idea. An individual award goes to the person who thought Steve’s was a catchy name.

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7 Responses to “The Yard Dog Award – The Destruction of Steve’s”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong April 17, 2015 at 21:56 #

    Personally, it sounds to me like you did your best in a totally impossible situation. It was a grossly unequal matchup. I can see why you lost your taste for playing after that.

    • Rick April 18, 2015 at 00:07 #

      That’s a positive way to look at it. We’ve had a lot of laughs since then.

      • Marilyn Armstrong April 18, 2015 at 01:56 #

        Iin a situation where the deck was so obviously stacked against you, you were beaten before you started. That you hung in there and gave it your best shot anyway speaks of a lot of character. I think most kids would have walked out and I wouldn’t have blamed them. Glad you’ve laughed about it since. I think THAT is a positive spin.

  2. Mark R. Cheathem April 18, 2015 at 03:14 #

    That’s funny stuff right there!

    • Rick April 18, 2015 at 04:10 #

      Through the years, it’s been funny. At the time, not so much. Unlike some funny stories, this one has no exaggeration.

  3. Bantering Ram April 20, 2015 at 03:47 #

    You wouldn’t have this – one of the very best I’ve read from you – but for Steve’s!

    • Rick April 20, 2015 at 03:49 #

      Thanks. I’m glad you liked it. The game, like a lot of college experiences, has been relived many times.

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