Many of you will read this and think, “absolutely not, my squad was so much better than this ragtag group of chumps”.
Well, you’re wrong,
Bradley Hill John Searles Ajani Mason anonymous hater. Completely wrong.
This was 1999 version of Murderer’s Row. We had no flaws.
Teams would play us, the game would not be close, we would shake hands after the game, and the opposing team (and their parents and coaches) would thank us for giving them the opportunity to square off.
We were as much a humanitarian effort as we were a basketball team.
It wasn’t all fun and games, though.
At times, the amount of corruption that was coming our way was too much to handle.
You know, things like:
“Oh hey, Matt… I know you’re only 12 going on 13, but if you snatch 30 rebounds tonight, how’s a 1986 Volvo Stationwagon sound?”
“Ben, great game last week. The three pointer was on, my friend. If you come give my son shooting lessons once a week, how about I give you the answer key to the ITBS“
“Evan, I’m digging the way you accessorize with the sweat bands. Foot locker-brand is all well and good, but how would you feel if they were Gucci?”
“Hey, little Indian kid second from the left. How are you? Can you tell us the name, address, SSN, and immediate whereabouts of the black kid that’s taller than your Randy Quaid-esque coach? Thanks so much, little Indian kid second from the left.”
It was a lot for 12-13 year olds to handle.
Unfortunately, this team never reached it’s full potential, that being a high school national championship. For one, two of our best players decided to go elsewhere for high school. Others became more focused on other sports. And those of us that were left happened to peak athletically the moment this picture was taken.
Oh, and one other thing.
THE OTHER JUNIOR HIGH BASKETBALL TEAM
Yes, there was actually a 2nd team of chumps that were “equal” to us in the sense that they were also boys in the same grade who’s parents enrolled them in our school.
The leaders of that “equal” team:
Thugs, I tell you. Thugs.
Whereas I helped lead my team to victories with style and grace, these three operated on a platform of fear.
I’m on the free throw line, calm and collected, that is until I look over and see Bradley (center) brandishing a sword and a voodoo doll under his jersey.
Next play, I get a steal and have a fast break lay-up. As I go up, John (far left) clotheslines me to the ground. I’m pretty sure I have broken something. I open my eyes to see another figure, Ajani (far right). I think he’s coming to help me up. Instead, he screams “RACE WAR” and pours hot chili on my face.
Though their tactics were persuasive and ultimately drove me to 3+ years of therapy, we found a way to prevail and take home the championship.
Fastforwarding to 2011, even though the most athletic thing I do on a daily basis is reach for that bottom row back tooth when i floss, it’s still great to know that at one point in your life, you were a star.
(Side note: “everybody” is referring to my team, not the other team. This is their song:)
There’s nothing like bringing hatehatehate into its second decade.