Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 17th, 1993 - Champions. The next morning. "Enjoy it while it lasts kid cause it never does." Lou - Wall St.

Last night, shit. It all made sense. I was never alone the entire time. That changes everything most importantly me. I love you mom and last night on the center courts heavenly surface we were both reminded of our blessings. Thank you Jesus, I was in fact given a sign, all of us were.

It was one of those mornings that no matter how hung over you were you woke up fresh. The fact you woke up, tomorrow, cemented the pinch, awake, alive. I sprung out of bed without the assistance of an alarm clock hidden benefit of ADHD #13 We were champions. The hung over incurred by a long session drinking, smoking with my team and our brain trust at our old elementary school went too fast. The best of the best, times, they always travel at warp speed.

“Om my god. You and your friends are something else kid. Champions, we'll have to tell your godfather, he's needs some good news. he's not doing so well these days." "I know the headaches. I haven't spoke to him in two years." My Uncle Clayt's stunning collapse from Wall St. his ilness and beloved wifes abandoment of him when he was sick, taking his daughter was something I couldn't handle. And I loved therapy. But that was too much. My only true hero. The guy that loved me the most. The western PA born, Brown, UVA, blue blood, he made it big, all my dreams, my godfather yet he too sufferred from our curse. My hedge and security net against all was not immune. Michael Milken's right hand man my Godfather went down like so many with the decade, never to comeback. I was sure of it. My godfather. I took a deep breath exhaling my cheeks, my old trick that always kick saved my waterfall of emotions. I have no one. ADD benefit XIV, change the record.

"Mama's baby boy. I know, I know. But Santo, wow, that shot, holy toledo.” I loved it, interviews all day starting with the shower and my mother over breakfast. Negative thoughts there would be none. I threw on a shirt and tie, note: Santo always wore a shirt and tie on championship Friday at the Big Guy’s summer camps. Odes were our thing. New traditions, loyalty and armbands all over our bodies. “I love you so fucking much, mwah!” A hug and kiss, and I peddled my old Mongoose through the neighborhood to Hayden.

It was an astonishing site to see 90% of the campers wearing black armbands on their calves. This caused a slight crash to the Big Guy’s system, “Jimmity Crickets, are these guys going to be like remembered? Their not even that good!” He pondered out loud to Coach Sullivan tapping his foot furiosly, letting us have our moment. When Goldy arrived the camp went crazy, he shared his most recent story of driving past the courts this morning en route to Hayden camp, seeing kids at the courts before 9AM now trying to mimic the miracle so many bore witness to just twelve hours ago. I was now convinced something was in the water here in Madison MA. Too many things, secrets and “situations.” My life was and had always been highly abnormal. My team of rug rats won another camp title that Friday my second that summer. The Big Guy loaded my teams and I swept bragging right’s, so many perks from the close bond we’d quickly form this past fall in the once unknown dungeon, wonderful world of the ACE program.

That afternoon I found some “beats” and (Portland trail) BLAZED and drank until I passed out, Hatty, Monster, Scully, Gold, Tick some beats it was wonderful. Monster like many an older past graduate delivered the insidious often mentioned insights that life went downhill with age and responsibility. I laughed questioning my instinct. That would suck. The Young Guns championship should not have been acme rather an warm up before our senior year. Another basketball title, college offers, parties and happiness. But it wouldn’t play out like that. Life never did. And I could never figure it out. And would have bet my life if you told me, that moment would in the short term prove to be with extreme prejudice, it, for us. I'd bet my life. No fucking way dumb ass.

But it was Madison our surroundings were sparkling and coated the cold reality of how vulnerable everyone around my family would always be. It took less than a week for the championship veeneer to wear off and tragedy to once again hit so close to home. To such a young man. My sisters ex-boyfriend. “Frankie! Oh my god! Brook, I’m so sorry.” I thunder bolted back into my kitchen, a Boston Garden of historic melt downs. I could only imagine. I knew that shriek. “Yo what the fuck happened to him?” I talked as quick as I was. Brook seemed not even there even though I was looking right at her beautiful face structured similarly to my own. The one thing we got, high cheek bones. “Holy fucking shit.” Frankie, the last brick house in our neighborhood before Hayden. One of three brothers manning the famed Zamboni at the ice rink of lower Hayden where my sister starred, Frankie, the good kid that loved my sister. The relationship we all loved torn apart by the drugs and dropouts from the guys of 1988. Brooke was culpable. And so was I. It was another one I blocked out. My sister. Frankie never got over that. They were suppossed to be his friends. It was only a few months ago their relationship had ended, before Santo i thought, Brook gone crazy, I'd tell Magic. I couldn't remember myself. Our own timeline of incidents now, even in the short run. The fact stood, it happened.

I remembered the last time I saw him, just last week. We remained cordial even though my sister played rip chord with his heart strings he said "what's up." I was on my way to Hayden. I felt bad, uncomfortable, unaware if I should apoligize on behalf of my sister, sure as hell she'd been in the same position countless times with her younger brother. And they weren't apologies rather plea's. The phrase "I don't give a fuck" was real, it protected me from all however unaware I was piling up an obscene case along with my sister of post traumatic syndrome. It got me through the days. It was my Zanex. A drug I took to be cool. My hyper activity could out leg it. I'd smoke weed and become hyper. I was beg to believe what the psychiatrist's said. What my mother begged with me to comprehend, science, neurons my own limitations and chemical imbalances. I was too naked in family. I was too angry at the white establishment and their willful blindness to the sad legacy of slavery. Unaware of their own limitation and fortuioity that I believed

Word was Frankie had tanked on his motorcycle with the son of the owner of our local Gas station up the street ironically where Brooke’s first relationship started years ago with a generational age divide for the ages.

Frankie was in an accident. And he was in a coma. And it was over. And to this day remains in a vegetated state. My sister would soon coin the phrase, “repression is underrated.” The track was fast, and it was possible, even easy to simply forget and drink. Drink away the pain. The Black Knight, I missed him, he’d been expelled, I’d only spoke to him once since. I re called his older brother, a vegetable in a wheel chair he used to talk to me about him. The star of his family through a straw and a technological break through was finally able to construct a digital sentence to his younger brother black for the first time since his “incident.” “Yo, push me out the fucken window.” And he never did. And Black was fifteen. And this was our life. The hood was crazy. And this town was fucking nuts. Frankie died for all intensive purposes. A part of the Hayden family and my sisters first boyfriend we all adored for all intensive purposes was gone forever. My mentor DES was shattered he loved Frankie, in a sense already lost a brother and had to feel bad about the fact that he was now the one alive, in love with my sister. It hurt us all. And my kitchen and back yard grill and wiffle ball field became a sad place in that last week of August before my senior year. My sister was off to UMASS Amherst in the fall.

I began to buy into the “pill” thing with a little conviction. The dark times you see were only just beginning.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Madsummer's Night Dream Part II. An August affair. Young Guns, "the shot" (Legendes, SOL Volume) I

I was tingling. I was so fucking hyper unable to hold a thought. “Deny, deny, deny, deny, deny, deny!” My credo was cranked beyond custom. Followed by, “Let’s do it for fucking Santo!” We’d seen enough of what I deemed the politics of sympathy. I’d lost Hank to rehab, Black to the ghetto and Santo to the even bigger guy up top. I’d knocked out a drug peddling nemesis and smashed car windshields with my hand, all for my family, the one I was looking for. Tonight adults that would decide how, why and where I time was spent in the aftermath of a true teenage tragedy were here to watch us play. On their time, “Young Guns!”

The starting five broke out in a flash of inspiration. Taking the first points of swagger off the board in teenage minx and black armbands around on our calves. It was the summer of 93. Magic, Spec, Wells and Stretch shake hands congenially with the opposition. I didn’t make eye contact with any of them. I was about to cry. All present lay silent as morning’s battlefield as the ball is thrown high in the air breathlessly. Stretch springs high into the air as the ball is tapped strategically to Magic he bumps it forward to Spec. Instantly I streak the left sideline and am fed a bullet pass from Spec. All alone on the three point stripe I loft a high arching shot up into the dry summer nights air. Turning around I trotted back down court as I heard a massive roar and knew my inclination to be correct. I felt the shit.

It’s on. All through the first half it seemed like we were living off luck. The Rebels come down and score easily in the post. Using their muscle and size to their utmost advantage. For us scoring was always a miracle, a highlight. A side winding hook in the lane or a far away three from twenty-five feet. It was a furious first half. Using our quickness we pressed them full court whistle to whistle. A deep bench had yielded a handful of easy baskets. This is what kept us in the game, as we have no answer for their size, strength and better judgment. “I’m amazed that we’re down just six.” I say tasting the salt of my sweat en route to the sideline for half. “Hey were still in this.” Magic rightfully points out.

During halftime my sweaty face noticed an even larger crowd as I lightly pondered my fondness for white button down shirts. Once again we huddle closely before the second half tip. Chest to chest we remind each other that we’re the best. We say this simply because no one else ever does and we needed the affirmation. I’d secretly begun emotionally hedging preparing for the fact I wanted it too much and it never was going to happen. In paradox to the Big Guy’s top tier ethos, we did however my mothers voice, eking in pain, cold reality bled into my neurons. Giving such anemic thoughts a passage to the fortress on my island designed to prevent such intrusion. And as the second half tip floated high in the air I just wasn’t so sure. “Nothing ever works out for us.” I could hear it.

Stretch won the tap to Magic who darts and dribbles through the crowd leisurely, old school style in his blue Adidas. Cutting through the massive bodies he spots Stretch over his head in the thick of the trenches under the basket. He hit Stretch the only D1 prospect on the court that night without looking who buried a soft left hook finishing a smooth looking sequence. The crowd roars. As the second half continues we raise our level of play accordingly with our shit talk, the physicality of the game jumped as our trademark annoyance began to force mental errors, elbows and anger from our steady college captain laden opponents.

As the game gets more physical the terrain that we’re playing on had turned into a battlefield. Blood, sweat and tears have turned a simple game into a war. We have the ball and this represents the first time in the game that we could potentially take the lead. With six minutes left the crowd is on their tiptoes. As Magic man breaks, his defender charges the lane. In a mountain of monsters, my defender left me to take double Magic. Magic sensing the crowd slips a squeak to me all alone underneath the double rimmed steel cylinder. As I retrieved the ball quick defenders with man strength swarmed my small exterior. I smacked the pass in air (a one timer for the hockey fans) to Stretch who is all alone on the opposite side of the paint. Stretch catches the ball and goes straight towards the bucket for the dunk. As the large defenders try to keep up with pinball like passes exuding from this tight assembly Stretch was viciously jettisoned to the floor. The ball is already up (fortunately) and the whistle has blown citing a foul. The ball almost instructed to do so bounces way up and drops into the double rim cylinder for two. Stretch lies on the floor hurt by the massive elbow that just cold clocked him in the mug. This prompts me instinctively to go after the gay giant that has inflicted pain on my brother. As soon as I’m in eye’s reach of this punk I’m shoved hard on the ground, all hell breaks loose.

The game is suspended for a minute as tempers flare. The floor is flooded momentarily by a few of the more righteous supporters of ours that lacked any sense of boundaries they’d chose crossed backing their boy. Coach Sullivan along with local police on hold quickly got a hold of the spontaneous combustion. The insinuating riot brings the crowd to a whole new level of excitement. This was Young Guns basketball. And Santo’s untimely demise had however unintended placed the biggest spotlight on us to date. Tonight’s game was our prom.

The officials three for the finals including local legend Coach Sullivan creased after nearly inciting a riot began to really let us play, i.e. only the most flagrant of fouls would be whistled, fuck. This tilted the scale in favor of the more mature and stronger Rebels. Back and forth we played. We were hanging on but little by little as the game wore on they were pulling away. Within the last three minutes the best ten men were on outdoor tar. Sweating profusely in the hot August affair the game it appeared was going down to the wire. Another dizzying hundred and twenty seconds passed, finally! The whistle sounded off loudly. I waver towards the referee for we need a timeout. I needed a timeout. The sweat that pours off my jaw was indicative of a great many things. The sweat that pours off my jaw was indicative of a great many things.

The whistle sounded as my request was honored. I see that we’re down by a point with under a minute left to play in regulation. To be trailing by a point in a game that traditionally totals cumulatively hundreds well, this deficit was miniscule. Outplayed for what seemed like the entire contest I felt my shit talking, riling up of crowd emotions had cost us. The rough play put us on the defensive with our hourglass just about empty, closer to midnight I felt it all slipping away. Slipping away is an emotion that I’m vastly in touch with. I guess in many ways we’ve proved our point. Hey, I mean we made it to the finals C last year too, we were fifteen! There’s no way we win this game, not with our luck. In dedication to our lost family under a suffocating blanket entailing many unique metaphors we had succeeded in a great many ways. I guess, whatever, who cares, I don’t.

Walking to the sideline I was tired. Tired of the stress, panic and emotion that had in just a few short months aged me in dog years. Peering towards the crammed hillside all was blurry. All was blurry except for the undeniably focused gaze of the Big Guy. Our opponents had outplayed us. They were older, stronger and at one point had been our mentors. Playing the roles of student we’ll always be at a great psychological disadvantage to the teacher. Head games especially in the sport of basketball go a long, long way. I was mind fucking myself. I’d lost focus. ADD to the rescue. Shit talking is such a delicate art. “Fellas, fellas bring it in! Right now bring it in yo!” I have something to say but the exhaustion that has fatigued my body and brain to such an extent is making speech impossible. “Yo, look, ah” I, for the first time in my life at the biggest moment in my existence had nothing to say. Magic a charmed veteran at only sixteen interceded where I trailed off. “Fellas, we’re just down by a basket and change, that’s it! Let’s go! How much times left?” No one had an answer to this question. It made me think we all had ADD! Scully jolted his head sideways and screamed violently towards the timekeeper “How much fucking times left dude!” Then under his breath I hear him release a softer “dumb ass.” The referee responds a bit more diplomatically “a minute ten guys! Keep it clean!” Refs in general should be diplomatic although it doesn’t matter cause they all suck. >

Once the time is noted, I forget the question. Magic continues his emotionally laced rapid-fire speech after a poignantly focused deep breath. It’s apparent he’s the leader. “Ok, ok, ok, look we know what we have to do. Let’s just go out there, take our best crack at it and see what happens. Dream you pressure the shit out of the ball on the back end. Make him jittery C! OK if they hold the rock under thirty seconds we have…” as Magic was issuing important instructions at a very critical point in my own story my own ADD takes me away as thoughts drift.

I don’t give a fuck. We’ve lost. I mean don’t get me wrong I know it’s close, I’m just saying that if we do happen to pull this thing off, it’ll be a miracle. Miracles you see don’t happen and that’s why you always have to depend on yourself. Yep it’s over sport, believe you me pal it’s over.

Teachers, tutors, cops, coaches, lawyers, landscapers, brokers, bankers, athletes, administrators, hot girls, fat girls, cute girls, moms, dads, inventors, authors, students and small time thugs have all come to “peep” this scene. This was Madison MA an insult of riches. I looked back over a sea of white faces, like all sporting contests in America, always paying professional ones. Why can’t they see? The thought of racial injustice lived forever next store and my chamber of streaming thoughts. So many were akin to modern day climate change deniers. The system was designed fundamentally against my black brothers because of the color they were born in the land of the free. I had to get a handle on my thoughts. Fuck, here comes the mind vomit, these fucks don’t know shit especially the wealthy adults. >

All’s you do know was that they were wrong about you and it is there in which motivation breeds. Tired and defeated I know that I must take the court for a final appearance. “Nothing ever works out for us.” It was my mother’s patented line and it was all I could hear in my head. Our wintertime captain, the Harvard bound John Wells had an epic mental lapse that just made things feel, “off.” The kid Coach Farias referred to as “the only one of you jokes with any credentials” repeated the never seen before error Chris Webber had famously incurred just a few months earlier, the night of National Champions Michigan vs. Duke. The night we lost Santo, forced a few days later to bury our brother, Wells had called a timeout when we had none left. A technical foul, two shots and the ball at a time we could ill afford. “Kid scored 1600 on his SAT’S how’d he not know we had no time outs left?” I asked Magic. It was a sign, a bad one at that. Yet we still clawed back with defensive pressure. Back and forth we went until the final ten seconds. The rebels held the ball and were holding the ball for the last shot, astonishingly in a tie game. 10, 9, 8, 7, the crowd began chanting, as one former high school captain darted to the lane, 5, 4 and dished to another, 3, as our now assistant coach at the varsity level dropped in a kiss off the glass, an inside move I’d seen him do a hundred times as a fan during his monstrous run in 1988. I collapsed as the ball was quickly inbounded under our bucket to Goldy he barely got off a fifty foot heave as the whistle sounded, time expired. I’m nothing.

As the miracle lived it’s last second post whistle in the general vicinity of the hardest double rimmed cylinders to shoot on in the county, I couldn’t live with myself. Mr. shit talker was in the end a fraud just like everyone always said. I watched fallen with incredulous eyes in the split of an atom swish right in as official’s arms go high in the air like a field goal signaling its good. 3 points. Young Guns win by one. What, it went in? We won? On my god, Santo!

Gold pointed right to the clouds as he was tackled from a stampede of fandom and friends. Cameras from our parents flashed as the court was swarmed. The incandescent crowd’s authentic acclamation is deafening. Through this entrapment of such Nirvana all of us were tingling or in tears touched by a moment we knew as interventionist. “Santo! You did it!”

This was to be our acme, our defining moment and zenith, it was a gift from Santo and it was solely ours. Just another game, a good run a mad summer nights dream. And to see all of us in a Young Gun uniform that night, it became our own resurrection and crystallized the belief that angels watched over us, watched after me, and watched over my mother through the fire. Family had nothing to do with blood.

We all knew who hit that shot instantaneously and there was never a shard of dissent. The purest thing in our lives rest assured signs like that are not found in casino’s. In the midst of a hundreds of witnesses kid’s wanted autographs and adults simply wanted a handshake. It was a celebration Young Guns created an ineffable moment of dignity, pride and life. People were calling me a legend and I finally realized what that term did in fact embody, finally I knew, I was one. Thanks to Santo, the only question now was what would I do with it. Angels were watching and on our side. It was now a movie again and you can’t write anything better than that. Hang in there kid, things can and do work out.

“If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.” Slogan – Washington Post. Editors Note: I jacked the MadSummer Night's Dream title from those funky ass Q brothers

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Mad Summer Night’s Dream, August 1st, 1993

#1 Song in the Country - Can’t Help Falling in Love

Time, it’s the funniest, forever fixed and only aspect of life we all must deal with. The game of life, I was learning more than I could emotionally handle. I'd taken the oft, never taken road of an education like I viewed my lawnmower accident, a blessing. My people skills were off the charts. I could relate to anyone, I was inclusive, protective, crazy and self-deprecating in front of adults. And that gift was comedy, heart and oh yeah ears. The ears are attached to your heart, you just can't see it. It's funny when and why someone truly decides to listen especially kids. I knew addiction was all's I had to worry about outside of the law and school administration. But I was starting to crack.

I don’t give a fuck can only see you through so, well, you know. The only benefit to all of this ironically was the mental institute up the street, way before Girl Interrupted we were all scared shit pants of Mclean’s Hospital. Just driving past en route to one of the few “packies” that we could buy beer at, I’d become, well, anxious. My #1 fear, the looney bin. I’d scream, “Scully go, go dude! Hit the gas get the fuck away from that thing.” as if it was the Death Star. And for Skeetah, Stanger and whatever other beats happened in the ride a fair amount of amusement was enjoyed from all of this. “Carl, what’s fucking wrong with you kid? Are you all there dude! You fucking kidding me kid?” A raucous laugh, Skeetah, whose decision making had recently, in my own medical opinion made him suicidal, asks again as the joint roared along in that special moment when the prefect jam magically ordained the radio, the last piece to the puzzle of a moment. "I don't know why sometimes I get frightened." Split Endz. The Song. “Dude!” Skeetah would interuppt, “Scully, gas!” I whined like a blue eyed two tear old in search of his baby whites the happiness continued, “This kids got problems dude" Said by the kid with the most or as many, "it must be his ADD or something.” Oh yes the ADD. My favorite subject. And as Skeetha held court of his own happiness which in Astori meant an escape from thoughts needing dire attention, we cried tears of humor. Youth was a huge chip we held along with the white and Madison chips we did OK. My friends could laugh at me anytime.

On the vinyl my panic attacks were everyone’s favorite episode. Most knew everyone had heard, my mother and I, the pills and delirum, it's where I'd learned my entire comedy act. The Big Guy helped refine it. My mother and I were always very public with our problems taking free therapy for lack of a better phrase wherever and whenever we could find it. It' s just us.<P>

Just last year I’d discovered along with my sister and a collection of classic characters from the legendary class of 88 that, panic attacks, had in fact become fashionable. I'd ride it for a decade so many years ahead of the curve. The key to Wall St and that of life, ahead of trends, powerful indeed.

It cracked me up. I played the role loved these pills unlike Ritalin I chose to take on my own. But this was different, Mclean’s hospital my sister and I had seen a few kids we knew well, poof, gone. Before basketball that was my check. The one fear that kept me from not acting completely retarded all the time. The pills to shut off your brain, I’d never escape. But tonight my focus was easing, my ADD was erased, I had something to live for. And in my corner of the world this was big. It was still our time. I was only sixteen. And tonight’s Young Gun’s championship reminded me of that, and my blue eyes, blonde hair, high cheekbones and vicious Michael Jackson Smooth Criminal dance impersonation cemented the unlimited upside on good days I knew I possessed. I thanked Jesus I was happy, honestly happy for the fuirst time since Santo had passed.

Time and it fucks with you as a kid until your appreciate it as an adult. It only goes faster so you should pray you don’t get in a rut. You’ll fall behind, life will pass you by. At least that’s what my father would say. And he was right. And maybe all of these bad things were happening to all us because my lack of respect was unholy to everyone around us. I’d ration it was all tongue and cheek humor and shrug it all off with my personal ace in the hole, their white, in Astori everyone will be fine. It was Spec and Black I worried about.

It kept me from being truly happy. Not anymore, in the shower I started interviewing myself and I knew we were back, and that was big. Not ashamed to interview yourself, huh, maybe we are back. But I couldn’t believe Santo was dead. It still slaughtered me thinking about the panic of my own lawnmower accident and what he must’ve went through down to the very last second. The situation Santo was in. How quickly shit flipped on him. And what his parents and sister are dealing with, forced to endure. It killed me in a way that now in August had surprised me. I was too close. It wasn’t fair. Santo was one of our lions. He bought in, the gang, the Young Guns, loyalty and emotionally challenged by the nature of our good looks and nationalistic mayham as it applied to our tighly guarded group. It felt like war. It was us against them. My family of friends vs. whoever. More than ever there were no limits to my loyalty.

And I’d lost a general. In some small way I’d have a thousand people to show what that’s like and who we really were tonight. I stared in the mirror for a half hour before Magic set to scoop. I still however could not block it out no matter how hard I tried. That night. April 3rd, Black ice, Nor Easter, Young Gun, final four. Upper classmen. #1 ranked in the Globe all day two years in a row. Love, time, glass, cars, pain, practice, time, help, Stretch, a bang, a cry, horror, intelligence, career, sister, parents, Young Guns, pussy, the rim, music, my dreams, why, fuck. It was fucking with me. I couldn’t think of it any other way. But it was fucking with everyone and I wasn’t special. Monster would often remind me, “strength in numbers.” He was right. This was about something much more than support.

Time was now and I couldn’t think of a better two hours than what was right in front of me. It was the summer of 93. It was before the Internet before Columbine before the turn of the century the kids of the 80’s high schooling (Lex Vegas) in the early 90’s had yet again opened it up. You can’t tell a rich kid nothen. And perhaps, what I loved the most was the hate they’d all be there tonight. Everyone that ever hated me would be attendance, and I do mean hate. The hate I attracted my Young Guns loved. The following I had adored. The character I decided that night I would now be playing full time, the hero and the villian.

The hate I attracted like honey and bees were all older tough guys and behind them various popular rich kids spanning generations. It made me a leader of our Young Guns. The first high school team we’d ever seen play in the esteemed Astori Summer League finals. I took on any and everyone. And these were my guys, my teammates, and best friends in the same grade since my first memory here back in the 2nd grade after leaving Wareham MA after my curious case of the riding lawnmower. And I was now cocky looking at the lights loving the fact I no longer shot in the dark. I did this. The Young Guns did this, our hard work and passion. Fuck everyone. I began driving myself irrational game time.

Magic and I wanted to play in the summer league just about as much as we wanted to be in the Jackson 5. And here we were now starring bigger than ever. The size of the crowd ballooned guilt unable to shake my early thoughts of eternal attention. But this game a devilish grin on the heaven tip. This was more than a summer league game. It was a Thursday in August. The day before championship Friday at the last Farias camp we’d ever coach. A beloved aspect to our story and childhoods, we’d once again honor snato's memory by wearing his trademark argyle + sock ties with khaki shorts tomorrow on championship Friday @ camp. A huge day to Magic, Scully, Goldy, Spec, Wells and myself. It was game time. The towns center courts and teenage girls were everywhere. As Magic would say, “hey C, we’re an event.” Shrugging it off confidently past the point in our own pages where we had to fake such a golden principal. And as the crowd settled and the opening “tap” loomed I strutted the sidelines kissing my lovers of people and thumbs downing rich, typically older white kids aka the status quo. The Young Guns loved this. It gave us all added swagger. It fueled our purpose and inclinations. I loved pushing unsustainably like this, basketball was different, no one could get hurt. Thank you Jesus our time, I smiled wryly.

After layup lines as custom in varsity game we shot 3’s, stretched and rebounded for each other. I jumped up off two feet for show and grabbed the rim with two hands for attention. I’d been doing it since January. It was a testament to strength shoes. Bobby Hurly SR. I hung up there like a badge of honor letting go and allowing the dunks from our big men to follow. After that, yeah I felt better, I’d never wanted anything more in my life. I looked back at the crammed hillside and saw a trio of slinky teenagers get up and off the Big Guy’s bench. It belonged to the Big Guy. He’d arrived. The only bench at the center courts, I knew you would never miss this.

The Rebels: Our opponents, they were older, stronger and most importantly legends, ex-varsity captains, gods to us and the match up taught me right there that’s what the finals were all about. Now the Rebels with their smooth guard play and maroon and white mesh reversible tanks packed a cast consisting of now mostly college seniors.

I stroked the embers of their legend, their titles, their girls, their parties, their swagger and wild, wild high school nights. The only guys I ever looked up to besides the best of the best to ever come out of one of the best programs in the long history of our fair state of Massachusetts. We came from a town of privilege and for some paradoxical reason championship basketball teams. And finally it was here. Basketball, they came to see us, and God and Jesus, I’m back into both of you mutha fuckers. I say this as I grunt, pant, and continually hug my Young Gun teammates. So much was on the line. I know they laughed at our spirit. After all, this was a summer league game, what's wrong with me? The five hundred fans suggessted something else. Our opponents knew us all since we were little. And ever since we were freshmen deplored what they had perceived as an idiotic break from the social norm rooted in a continued color confusion on the part of the kid.

But you can’t front on a following and as our legions of friends overflowed the set, I saw my sister Brooke, her boyfriend Des, I nodded l;ocking eyes with my mentor and sister, our time is now. It was on. Our old gang drummed up the chants. Beautiful girls everywhere upped the ante. Goose bumps sponged my arms in glorious pop. Younger campers look upon us starry eyed as we brought it in, donning our now ubiquitous black armbands around our calves. I’d been doing it since freshmen year far ahead of its time as a nod to sport fashion. I had enough game to back something out of the box something questionable and cocky especially back then. And now we all wore them. And so did the campers. We’d all coached the second installment of the Big Guy’s summer camp starting on Monday. It was August. And every night we’d dance, advance our thetare. We'd win and coach the kids the next day. And now it was Thursday. It was the finals. And a hundred campers with their parents were present with self-made Young Gun jerseys and black armbands around their calves. We had half a dozen water boys. It’s our time.

Bursting with confidence night was upon us and as the courts big lights click themselves all officially “on” revealing swarms of mosquitoes, the only shining spot in the somewhat dark summer air was the first main court in the heartfelt center of Madison, MA, America jack. If they mean to have war let it begin here. I never went to classes. I didn’t get good grades. I didn’t say or write things grammatically correct but we were all spoon fed American history. The revolution started on our center green. The whistles blew. Coach Sullivan was one of three refs. He’d call it fair. He’d been a part of some of the greatest finals ever played on these summer courts. Games before we were born. People were jockeying for sight lines because the whistle meant no one was bulging for the next thirty minutes until halftime. And we brought it in one final time. We brought it fucking in. You could smell the weed smoke in the air. Juvenile delinquents were always our vehicles.

YG Huddle: “SANTO!” It’s so classic that we’re here.” “Let’s go” “Young Guns!” “Us Us Us Us!”

Santo, we felt his presence it was all for Santo, like Hank Gathers, Reggie Lewis we’d lost another hero but this time it wasn’t March Madness but it was, and it wasn’t on TV but it was, it wasn’t Hank Gathers it was Santo dude, our brother and teammate. The crowd rocked mockery and volume as the norm however became so exaggerated it seemed like a West Hollywood film set, Santo. I’d accepted Santo was not going to come back and with that conceded life was over, and now with the kids, campers fusing the spark, in the game we treasured the most, Summer league run and local bragging rights I was already thankful. “How you boys feel?” I asked screaming at the top of my lungs fueling excitement and a break.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Robbing memories by giving fond ones away to us all. Move The Tape. Mix Post. Fiesta Shows + Wussification

Growing up, as a kid some memories really are for every kid out there. A second treatise of government for kids, a birthright, in this country anyway. It brings to mind the traveling 4th of July carnival that came to Lexington every summer. Cherry dipped vanilla soft serve pressed high to the sky in a blonde sugary digestive cone. That was for everyone. The skydiver, tilt a whirl, bumper cars, super slide, bright lights and puppy farms that was awesome. And once a year it came to our town. And to this day it’s a great memory, the skydiver, fried dough and Vegas gleaning off the mountainous range of skill games for fun prizes cemented the carnivals endearing cycle.

Unfortunately like the traveling carnival some memories aren’t for everyone. It’s just not how it work’s despite the efforts of so many parents paradoxically in some of our most successful corners in our dearest Northeast of America. The older you get the tougher it is to have what Coach Farias used to call, fond memories. And no matter how socialist you think we’ve become we’re not. I can remember the summer of 1987. The carnival had become social. I was now in Junior High. There were girls. We had to be cool. There was almost always a fight that stole the night’s headlines. And drugs. But I was an athlete. My drug was red die #5 and it’s sidekick, Nestle Strawberry Milk. “Yo C, yo C Lloyds here, playing the basketball!”

I couldn’t believe it. The latest star and our idol Lloyd Mumford was at the carnival just like he told us he’d be, and he was at the basketball game. You know the 12 foot diametrically challenged rim you chuck at with a ball the shape of Rocky Dennison’s head. “No more no more!” The saber toothed road ruffian declared. He was taking a loss. And there was Lloyd if it wasn’t for the crowd around him and pearly white teeth you couldn’t see him. He’d hit ten in a row. And after he was being pushed away, an admirer reached into the net behind the toll keepers cracked Edison’s and tossed it to Lloyd he hit another one fading away as he disappeared into the night.

That’s my memory. It married basketball and the carnival, who wouldn’t want to see their childhood idol play the carnival game in line with his / her craft. In reflection it reminded me of Copland, the pro cops being banned from the gun games. I had been crushed at basketball earlier in the week when he told me he couldn’t possibly attend due to conflicts of a dozen different girls. No one ever in my life will ever be as cool. Jim Morrison of the DOORS used to call it, a child’s fragile eggshell mind. But see that’s what wasn’t for everyone, the legend, the moment and the crowd ten in a row with the Rocky Dennison ball, dom. My childhood idols are all in their forty’s and some find my stroking props well, a lil crazy. But it’s not, and it’s like that for everyone just like it’s like that to those guys when it comes to the guys they idolized locally as kids mastering a craft that gave their life purpose 2. You’ll never remember things like you do as a kid. And some memories many memories are for everyone. But hard work, luck dedication and only the fiercest of competition has marked the upward ascent of American ingenuity and athletic excellence since the tap over here.

Sports is the essence of life. And it’s truly the only platform for a child to learn life lessons, both good and bad. Disney sets the example of what’s acceptable, they are the model for so much in my eyes, Walt Disney, America, dreams, memories, hard work. AND DISNEY UNDRSTOOD THE GOOD AND THE BAD, IF THEY DIDN’T WHY WOULD CLAW PLAY MOOFASIS LIKE THAT? I was seventeen in high school when I saw that movie in the theatre and it still fucked me. This better have a happy ending, I can’t handle this. De emphasizing competitive sports as my own Lexington has done over the past few years sets us back. A microcosm into a greater failure of leadership. Property taxes buys lobbying power. it upsets the natural order of things and, in my mind will have dire consequences. Look individual sports do not foster life skills. My sister was a championship solo figure skating and we're all still in therapy over that! Same for swimming, gymnastics if of course you dare to be the best, the best. And everyone can’t play. Happy, happy, happy is some unrealistic shit. You can’t just shy away from disappointment. It tricks the brain, stunts the development in what I think we all can agree is a pretty vital organ here on earth for us humans. Locals in the old grain pits of Chicago’s fabled Board of Trade would oft tell me, a teenage clerk at the time, the best lessons they learned about trading for profit came out of their losses.

Nothing’s unique about everyone. And nothing stifles our evolution as much as these not even new principles that have permeated the wealthy communities of American kids and their fragile egg shell minds this century. And tonight the traveling carnival came to my home in Arlington VA. My wife was not feeling well. But I saw the flyer in the elevator of our building and was compelled to walk down myself. I needed a vanilla soft serve cherry dip, it instantly became an almost crack like need. And I saw the light’s, the smiling children, the rides and games. And happily downing the cone and the dangerous #5 red die that used to make me nuts, I couldn’t help but see Lloyd. So many years ago, I couldn’t help think about fond memories, their importance what they are, how you get them and why they are so essential.

I couldn’t help think about the Lion King, I saw it with Coach Farias in early 1994, my senior year of high school. The ACE program, god bless it, we took a field trip, as a team, a program. Thanks. Fond memories do not and will never come easy nor be available to every junior high or high school kid. We love pushing back growing up these days. It sucks. Let go. I just feel like this next generation whatever we call it might be an army of Bob Wiley’s, hypochondriac, the trophy generation. By giving away memories to all of our children far past the stage it’s productive we take away the fondest memories reserved for the captains and the legions that admire their success and skill. Hard work. Captains like CEO’s and Congressmen, not something not everyone can be. Sorry

And hey if everyone must play. let's make sure we do the same in the drama, math and debate clubs :)*

Rappin with 1986/87 Lexington High Basketball Team