Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A New Legend (C-Rat) - Cabrini Dreaming - 4 BIG 3 in the Chi still standing J, G + P (outCry beraks ice))

And so it was on that fateful second Sunday in Chicago in the first dawn of this thing called the internet Lynx left me alone in the spoils of harbor point to attend Brett the rapists wedding on Cape Cod’s charmed coastline.

I knew that night upon Lynx’s return when he punched me in the face, I wasn’t inside Cabrini Green, the way he described it and the direction I walked. I headed South not north after passing that fabled CBOT gave me goose bumps I walked a couple blocks further “up” then headed South, there were no games I quickly surmised downtown, fuck that cop on the horse.

Downtown? Nothing, so I headed SOUTH because that’s where people I stopped on the street told me I’d assuredly find a game because no one it seemed had any clue as to where a basketball court was in downtown Chicago. In Grant park a cop on the horse told me they had them in the 80’s but they (yup u guessed it) attracted the wrong crowd assuring me I’d find something downtown, yeah right.

I always remember it as the Robert Taylor Homes because a sign on one of the bricks said Robert Taylor. I also remember sharing the true location with Mrs Scully when I was home in Lexington who hiccupped a hand and said, “OMG Cahl, I did my senior thesis on the Robert Taylor homes.” However after a little googling I was more confused – where I played a cool nine games in a row before the sun set (I embarked before 10AM) wasn’t a high rise anyway they were low bricks a village of them. So after technology has allowed me to reimagine / image my walk I discovered the Lawden Homes which is / was part of the Robert Taylor family of public projects.

I searched everything imaginable, Chicago projects, a history of public housing in Chicago, you tube, REDDIT, images, and it wasn’t until I searched images I saw where I was and then it was up to me based on a mere scant image from years ago to try and pin point exactly where the fuck I had been. When I saw I knew right away. After leaving that day I knew it was legendary. I couldn’t wait to tell Lynx. I wondered how many and who could find themselves in such a situation and the nickname and the fact I’d overcome easily without mitigation the fear that shackles our growth, starts wars and holds us back. I loved my afternoon as soon as it happened and catalogued to myself even after the miracle that was my high school graduation my best stories shockingly where yet to come. You a legend dawg

Seeing that one image out of an almost infinite tapestry I felt a happy sensation wash over me. I remembered the walk, no way was it CB where I played was a series of LOW bricks and there was no turning back, I was too good my wrist still worked and fuck I’d walked way too far not to cop a showcase. After all I’d walked for over 3 hours. It was indeed a “Ghandi” the kind of walk where time doesn’t exist, the kind of walk you take having never traveled before being couped up thirsty for this big bad city of Chicago still a teenager. It was a very long extremely determined walk basketball was my blood and I promised my new coach (still receiving a hefty grant) I’d get my rep’s in while pleading an almost suicidal cradle like case to allow me to go for those ten life (again) altering weeks in my own cities first cousin.

In any case I remember the angle I could see the Sears Tower looking back thinking over and over again this ain’t too bad the sears Tower is right there. But what I remember so clearly was crossing an interstate highway just saying fuck it, felt like frogger and it was pretty stupid. And from that moment the highway dividing purposefully incomes, it changed and every dribble the stark contrast of the forbidden landscape ran against the excitement I felt in my soul whenever someone inches closer to their shrine, my block out’s were on and I felt closer and closer to basketball, I was going to find a game after all.

And it was that pent up moment I saw a fire in a garbage can, fellas straight standing over it on a somewhat cold early may day made eye contact and I froze. I finally looked around, looked ever so briefly at the pressed khaki shorts my mother had ironed since my Chicago was so fresh I’d busted a fraction of the pressed gear my mother dutifully ironed and packed and thought, DOM, I’d made some very wrong moves. My sponsor Bobby “pink cuff links” was going to kill me Suddenly and well, being white of course being the greatest gift in this life when landed in this country, a cab pulled up without requisition on it’s own accord. – “hey kid, hope in, I’ll take you back to the gold coast, your lost, get in, this is a rough part of town. I’ll only charge you 5”

“Thanks, OK, your right.” After all harbor Point had an indoor court and I could go back to drilling the same solo routine I’d done for the last day and night, still reps, I guess.

And like heaven is a playground over that clear horizon I saw the back & forth SEAMLESS flow of a high action urban hoops game in a big time city, in a way it’s all I ever dreamed of as a kid. I was never hitch hiking to NYC as at fifteen for games in Harlem like former mayor of Boston ray Flynn did my father shared those stories and as a 12 year old I’d read Red Aurbach write the white kid from southie was the last cut from the Boston Celtics in what our cigar puffin patriarch described as the hardest basketball decision he ever had to make. Fuck it I told the cabbie, “nah, I’m cool.” And after double checking a good luck that was it.

The re furbished court displayed out of the few google images today afforded allows me to still imagine the old fence (cover Photo) and double mangled courts facing east and west, one for the shorties who did in fact poke me before saying “hi” before I directed / taught a game of “knockout” and after I told them I was from Brooklyn staying with my grandmother for the summer.

The poking was a memorable “trip” I laughed and of course older cats, the players adjacent is where I walked all of this way to be. The creative cat that named me c-rat who first attempted to “gank” my basketball wasn’t even that good but there were some others remembering of course this was the projects and water rises. And from there you know the rest.

The story of “c-rat” became such a legend that night, very next day and summer that I never said shit about the much further south and real location where it all went down. Why would I, traders were freaking out, I was lauded being happily well purchased relegated to simply telling my story by the corn pit that whole first wonderous summer. I was nineteen. In just one year out of high school torching the height’s of a world I dreamt about since I took my first bet on the Orange, Sugar and Cotton bowls on New Years day 1987. I was a part of the legendary “pits.” I was on top of the world.

I was so excited to tell Steve at milkshakes wedding this little known wrinkle or truth regarding one of our favorites “talks” but time went in a blink in the crowds magic. I swore 2 myself I’d tell him next time partake in class early alphabet of something, have some Vodka sharing the real minutes of my long Sunday walk, alone of my first weekend in Chicago couped up in Harbor point just days before I’d meet everyone. It was because of that story and it jumpstarted so many, many more.

Of course I’d never see Steve again – steve C – the general, my man fifty grand loved everything I ever said. I’d found not only an ally but a boss and mentor in the racist rich halls of the last bastion of Irish members only left in the highest cathedral of American capatilism.

I’d thought of my experience in Madison hills (Lexington), chase of callow “legendary” pursuits and the piles of salt to fill those holes would prepare me for anything. After all it was santo’s death along with one dinner with lynx sharing my bookmaking operation that landed me out here in the first place. However no experience no preface no lives or education rooted out from any vein could prepare a wild eyed 19 year old for 140 years of open outcry commodity trading in the fabled “pits” of Chicago at the high of volume before the dreaded death star of the internet destroyed it all.

What I knew is that Steve’s dad ran the company and Lynx’s dad knew him. I’d hear bits, pieces and in one ferocious summer would quickly hear the most insane stories I’d ever hear in any life everyone included. I’d found my way to a place that was infinnately more insane than the world of Madison Hills or mad Vegas I left behind. It would take everything I had. I was ready. It took seventeen years to acquire the confusing notion of “legend” it’s disjoining merits a word we couldn’t even spell said it all. I’d been in Chicago less than two weeks and had gone to jail for the very first time and was already a legend inside a place where something like that could pay off the rest of my life.

“Boy that Charlie Paradise runs with any opportunity that’s given him” Lynx’s mom “Toots” in July 0f 96 to ma duke. Below is the walk charted and photo’s of the newly re furbished basketball court.


No comments: