Saturday, May 07, 2005

Behind The Ball

I am still recovering, physically and emotionally, from attending the Washington Wizards game last night. Unbelievable experience. It is the first time since the Reagan administration that Washington's basketball team actually won a playoff series. The energy in the arena last night was intense. As was the beer (headache is only now subsiding).

The reason I like sports in not only because of the sports themselves, but also the personalities who bounce, throw, catch, or kick the balls. One of the big stories in Washington was the suspension of one of their better young talents, Kwame Brown, for attitude reasons. He basically feigned illnesses and missed practices because he was upset with how the team was treating him. His excuses were outrageous; at one point, he skipped practice because he claimed he had the shits.

Kwame Brown was the first high school player to be drafted first in the NBA draft. He was -- and still is -- really just a kid emotionally, trapped in a man's body. When he first entered the league, Michael Jordan was the president of the team, and later a player. Jordan subjected Brown to homophobic, intense abuse in an effort to "motivate him." Lonely and overwhelmed, the then teenage Kwame was never the same after Jordan -- a basketball hero of his -- called him a flaming faggot in front of his teammates for not performing to Jordan's standards. Jordan might have been the greatest basketball player ever, but he was -- and is -- also a gambling addict, a philanderer and an all around cock.

My favorite Wizards are Etan Thomas and Michael Ruffin. Thomas is a 6-10 dreadlocked bruising center and aspiring artist. He's known for penning verse regularly, and is a big anti-death penalty activist. I have mixed feelings about the death penalty issue, but it is still cool to see a deep thinking athlete doing what he belives in. I am not quite sure why I like Michael Ruffin -- he's not particularly good or noteworthy -- except perhaps that he shares the same last name with David Ruffin, the troubled yet talented singer from The Temptations.

My other two favorite athlete-personalities are a current and a former Redskin. The current Redskin is Darnarian McCants, a backup wide receiver who is also an artist (painter). He is also known for being humble; at least as of last season he drove a 1999 cherry red Volve S70. As opposed to his teammates who drive tricked-out SUVs or luxury cars. I remember watching some fluff piece on the Redskins and their cars. When they showed Darnarian's car, the other Redskins they asked about joned on him for several minutes. Darnarain is also notorius for having briefly dated Viveca A. Fox. She later dumped Darnarian for 50 Cent. I am sure that gave his teammates ample additional bases for joning on him some more.

Finally, there is former Redskin Dan Turk. One year, during training camp, he and his brother (Matt) set up a hot dog stand outside the camp. In a another fluff piece for the Redskins, a reporter did a piece on the hot dog stand. It wasn't doing great business until defensive tackle Dana Stubblfield ambled up and ordered a dozen hotdogs. For himself.

Dan Turk's career with the Redskins ended after he screwed up a critical play. Dan Turk was a long snapper. He basically made $300,000 to toss a ball between his legs to a punter or holder on place kicks. Aside from practice, his job entailed him coming into a game maybe 5 or 6 times a game to engage in rote physical activity. During a playoff game against Tampa Bay in 2000, he muffed the snap on a potential game winning kick. He was cut from the team almost immediately.

I don't think he ever played football again. He died of testicular cancer a couple of years after muffing that snap. I am sure that every time Dana Stubblefield chomps down a dozen hotdogs in one sitting -- no doubt a regular occurence -- he thinks of Dan Turk.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lest there is any doubt about Kwame Brown's sexuality, it was recently reported that he is the father of a little girl. Lest there be any question about his sense of self bear in mind what he named said daughter: Kwameeri.

4:13 PM  

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