The Time I Played Pool Basketball

I’m going to tell you guys about the time I played a 14-year-old kid in pool basketball.  As with most experiences in my life, it did not go well.  It was the summer after my Junior year of college and I had a part time internship.  As I wasn’t old enough to buy alcohol, my days consisted mostly of hanging out at the pool in my apartment complex and attempting to catch the eye of the girls that hung out at my apartment complex.

There was a pool basketball net, which was cool.  Water basketball eliminates the need for dribbling, which I’ve always found to be very cumbersome.  As someone who cannot cut food with his left hand, attempting to control a bouncing ball with said hand has always proved to be an exercise in futility.  This eliminates most of my usefulness on the court; my only existing contribution to pickup basketball games is that I am sort of tall, and nothing else.

 

On that fateful day, there is a pretty girl tanning at the pool that is ignoring me, as usual.  So I decide to put on a display of manliness, and take to the pool by myself.  With nobody guarding me, I put on a respectable display.  I am making just over half of the shots I attempt, mostly layups.  I am using the backboard much less than usual.  I swish one or two shots from less than 5 feet away from the hoop.  I am LeBron James.

A young man comes up to me and asks if I would like to play him one-on-one.  Normally I would say no, because playing people that are younger than you in sports is almost always a lose-lose situation; but Tanning Girl looks in my general direction as he asks.  She is adjusting to get an even tan, but I pretend she is interested.  His mother, sitting on a chair a few feet away, tells me that her son is 14 and made his high school JV basketball team as a freshman.  She says that Seth is very good.  As a 6’2” 20-year-old, I’m sure I would make at least one Varsity basketball team.  I probably would not, but I am still bigger than he is.  I will crush Seth.

I jump out to an early lead, using my height and long arms to prevent him from scoring any points at all.  Tanning Girl is largely ignoring the game until Seth inadvertently splashes her, at which point she yells, “what the hell,” and moves to a different chair further away.  I try to give her a knowing look, one that demonstrates our mutual hatred of Seth.  She ignores me.

When I am one point away from winning, Seth, desperate to make a dent in my sizable lead, splashes water into my face while I’m in the act of shooting.  This dislodges one of my contacts, and I am instantly rendered half-blind, gasping in pain.  His mother laughs as the heavily chlorinated water burns one of the most sensitive areas on my body.  I briefly consider pushing her head underwater, but feel that Tanning Girl would not be impressed.

Now with little to no depth perception, I watch as my lead shrinks.  Knowing my weakness, Seth routinely splashes my face before darting to the rim and making layups with absurd ease.  To my horror, Tanning Girl has started to take interest in the game, as have several other pool patrons.  She cheers for Seth alongside his mother.  She has betrayed me.

After a short period, we are tied with one point to go.  I am tied with a 14-year-old in a game of pool basketball, and he has possession of the ball.  I am going to lose.  In a fit of ill-timed gallantry, Seth abandons his splashing and attempts a clean game-winning shot.  I see him go up.  I meet him, and block the shot with as much force as I possess – right into his face. I vaguely register that the full force of the block has rebounded off Seth’s face, and that he might be in need of medical attention.  I do not care.  Jubilant, I grab the ball out of midair and slam the ball through the hoop.  I have done it.  I am victorious.  I am all that is man.

As I come back to reality, I realize Seth’s mother is screaming.  Turning around, I see that Seth is crying and holding his hands to his nose, which is gushing blood.  I know it sounds like exactly what happened in Meet the Parents, and that is because it is almost exactly like what happened in Meet the Parents.  Multiple people are yelling at me.  Tanning Girl is one of them.  A man who arrived in an old pickup truck is angrily pointing at me.  I wonder if he has a gun in his truck; I begin to fear for my life.  I ask loudly if Seth is okay, to which he replies, “Fuck you.”  His mother screams at me to “get out,” which I do as quickly as I possibly can.  Many people might call that cowardice.  To those people, I say this: you are right.

 

There have been a lot of awkward, cringe-worthy moments in my life, but this one might take the cake.  Whenever you’re confronted with situations that seem to be lose-lose, they probably are, and it’s best to just walk away.  Sure, you might win, but you never know when a display of supreme, awesome manliness could result in you being threatened by men who drive pickup trucks.

But most of all, just remember: I beat Seth fair and square.  That fucking point counted.

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Your Guide to the 2016 Olympics

Rio Olympics

Hello everyone.  The 2016 Summer Olympics are almost here! The Olympics are held every four years, and bring the world together to watch the athletes that got away with using PEDs compete for their respective countries.  For those of you who don’t know, the Olympics began back in ancient Rome, when Julius Caesar challenged some guy to a push up contest.  Since then the Olympics have evolved into a worldwide phenomenon, one that almost always leaves the host nation with crippling debt and allows Subway to remind people that they endorse professional athletes, and not just weird guys who like kids.  This year’s Olympics are being held in Rio de Janeiro, and promise to leave Brazil an even bigger shithole than it was before, if you can believe it.  The 2016 Games consist of 42 sports; 306 events in only 19 days!  I know that sounds overwhelming, so I’ve created a handy dandy Olympic Guide to assist you in nailing down exactly what you should and shouldn’t watch.

First things first: a few facts about the host city.  Rio de Janeiro was named after the 2011 animated feature film Rio, which featured Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway as the voices of the two main characters.  There is no known record of the city’s name before the movie came out, and quite frankly, I don’t care to know it.  Despite the film’s terrible stars, it was a moderate box office success that showcased some of the bright colors and spicy attitudes that permeate Brazilian culture.  Experts say that the government of Brazil first began distributing colorful garments to distract its citizens from the poverty and crime that run rampant through the streets of the South American country, and the move has proven surprisingly effective.  Brazil has a knack for churning out soccer stars, having won the FIFA World Cup a record 5 times.  It is also home to a large swath of the Amazon River, which is surrounded by a dense tropical forest that the Brazilians are doing their best to destroy.  No matter how many trees are chopped down each year, it never seems like enough.  Brazil also has its own unique food (I’m assuming), but I don’t know any of the dishes because I don’t speak Portuguese and I’ve never been there before.  I think bananas grow there?  Nobody knows for sure.

But enough fun facts!  You’re here for sports, and sports you shall have.  I can’t go through every sport being played in the Olympics, because that would take too long and I have a lot of stuff to do today (eat, sleep, watch National Treasure, etc.).  Here are some things I think you should know before you tune in to Rio 2016.

Rowing
Rowing is basically just a bunch of dudes racing in canoes.  It might sound boring, and that’s because it is.  If I wanted to watch people frantically row a boat, I’d watch Titanic.  At least I’d see Kate Winslet’s boobs.  Granted, the potential exists for aquatic crashes, fights, and possible anaconda attacks in the dirty Brazilian water.  But I won’t watch.  If I really wanted to see people row a boat on some river, I’d watch my uncles try to fish.

Fencing
Fencing is like sword fighting, but for people who enjoy dressing like weird Storm Troopers and using little bendy swords instead of the actual ones you see on the HBO smash hit, Game of Thrones.  I guess one of the guys’ helmets could fall off and then you could get some dramatic footage, but the odds of that are slim to none.  If they want me to watch this, put the contestants in full knight armor and let ‘em have at it.

Rugby
Rugby is like American football, but with no pads.  Can you imagine football with no pads?  I can, but I probably couldn’t have before I watched rugby.   Do I understand the rules?  Of course not, nobody does.  I doubt even the players understand the rules, or the referees.  But the New Zealand team does a dance when they win that reminds me of Lilo and Stitch, which is a great movie.  I challenge anyone to dislike rugby, and I challenge anyone to dislike Lilo and Stitch.  Seriously, if you say you don’t like that movie I’ll come to your house and make you watch the whole thing with me.  Rugby: 10/10 will watch religiously.

Volleyball
Volleyball is a pretty cool sport.  It’s not as cool as rugby, but it is close.  It’s like a big game of hot potato, which is a game I always won when I was little.  Some people from my past might tell you I won because I cheated and threw the potato at the other players and scared them into quitting, but those people need to mind their own business and stop making excuses for things that happened a long time ago.  Also, there’s the off chance that a spectator could get hit with a stray ball, which is funny, unless they’re old.  They could die, and death is never funny (unless the person who dies is Donald Trump).  A lot of people only know volleyball as the thing that Tom Hanks drew a face on and had sex with in Cast Away, but I think it’s more fun as a sport.

Swimming
People like swimming, but I don’t really get it.  The bathing suits are either way too revealing (men) or not nearly enough so (women).  If I wanted to see dudes walking around in Speedos, I’d just watch my neighbor Gary try to sell lemonade to the neighborhood kids.  No thanks, Gary.  If people are swimming in the rivers of Brazil this has the potential to be somewhat exciting, due to the amount of chemical waste in the waterways surrounding Rio and the supposed dangerous animals that have shown up (jellyfish, poisonous fish, Michael Phelps).  I would probably tune in if they wore water wings, because watching people try to swim fast in water wings is hilarious.

Table Tennis/Badminton
I know these are two different sports, but they’re essentially the same thing.  It’s one team or person using a racquet to get a little object over onto the opponent’s side, and not letting it hit the ground.  Both of these involve a good deal of skill, but apart from some thrilling volleys, are relatively boring.  I propose that both of these events be turned into full contact sports.  After all, most of the world’s best spectacles are full contact (football, hockey, The Bachelorette), and it would greatly increase the entertainment value.  Until then, hard pass on these two.

Soccer (Football)
Everywhere else in the world calls this sport football, because you kick a ball with your foot.  But because Americans have to make everything way more difficult than it should be (not using the metric system, calling the “bathroom” the “restroom,” having way more fat people than everywhere else), we call it soccer.  Soccer is a very fun sport to play, but not so much to watch.  Usually the matches only have one or two goals, and feature a lot of people falling down because they get breathed on too hard.  If you’re interested in how to look like you know what you’re talking about with soccer, I wrote this about the World Cup in 2014.

There you have it!  I hope this has been informative for you guys.  If anyone wants to come over and watch the Olympics with me, I’ll be painting “USA” on my chest in the mirror.  After, we can do what every American Olympian does and go to Bennigan’s for 3 to 4 Monte Cristo sandwiches (minimum).  See you there!