Tuesday, September 27, 2005

About your hosts

Your hosts are Old School, Jeff, Cary, Juice and Mothy. Old School and Jeff can be found at the playgrounds and parks of Berkeley, CA--especially Ohlone and Live Oak. Cary also plays in the San Francisco bay area when he's not on his couch doing an uncanny Todd MacCulloch impression. Juice plays in Brooklyn and Manhattan, NYC. Mothy can usually be found hanging on 9-foot rims in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Old School, 38, is a 5-11 forward/two guard from Milwaukee, WI. He wears black Adidas Concords and a knee brace (ACL reconstruction). His shorts climb further up his thigh with each washing. Being white and having an affection for floaters, other players sometimes call him "Larry Bird" (much to his dismay--see influences below). His last organized ball was in eighth grade with the St. Margaret Mary Tigers. His last pseudo-organized ball was in ninth grade with the Spurs of Wichita's Salvation Army League. His influences include Earvin Johnson, Gregory Kelser, Arvydas Sabonis, Manu Ginobli and his dad (with the mean hookshot). His greatest moment was scoring a career-high eight points for the St. Thomas Tartans Sixth Grade Team and being selected for the Twinkie award by his teammates. His worst moment was getting called for a moving pick (something he'd never heard of before) during overtime of that season's playoffs. Some favorite courts include: Avenue M and 19th Street, Midwood, Brooklyn; Bergen Street, Downtown, Brooklyn; James Madison Park, Madison, WI; Lynwood Recreation Center, Wichita, KS; and Griffenstein School, Wichita, KS.

Jeff, 33, is a 5-8 point guard from Poughkeepsie, NY. Being Asian, he is often called “Yao” and was once nicknamed “Ichiro” by a bunch of Ecuadorian guys. He wears black Reeboks and industrial-strength McDavid ankle braces. Unselected in the 2000 NBA draft, he has nevertheless had a mediocre career on several intramural and community league teams in Boston and New York City. In 2004, his final year of graduate school, he captained a team called Yellow Fever to the round of eight in the NYU intramural playoffs, where they were cruelly eliminated by a bunch of white dudes who were probably in a fraternity or something. Over the years, his favorite places to play have included Temple Field (the park across the street from where he grew up), Northeastern University’s old Cabot Gym, NYU’s Coles Sports Center, Bergen Street in Brooklyn, and Houston St. @ 2nd Ave. in New York City.

Cary (aka DJ Cary aka the Kuma) grew up on the mean streets of St. Louis Park Minnesota, where he spent nights perfecting his behind the back pass, slow crossover dribble, and left-handed fade away jumpshot on the hallowed grounds of the Minneapolis JCC and his neighbor Barry Miller’s slightly bent garage door hoop. Rumor has it that his vertical exceeded 23 centimeters on occasion, and that he could school anyone in the ‘hood in Double Dribble. Taking his game to the streets of New York City, he quickly became a playground legend at storied courts like Bergen St. in Brooklyn, the low-ceilinged and high-flying Hamilton Madison House in Chinatown, Cardinal Spellman High School, and the 2nd Avenue courts on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where he dominated the B-court filled with hung-over hipsters wearing knee high tube socks and vintage T-shirts for years. In 2004, Mayor Michael Bloomberg officially renamed the bench on the east side of the 2nd Avenue courts the “DJ Cary Honorary Bench” to pay tribute to his many hours spent hacking playground greats like Jeff, Juice and Ben.

Juice began playing basketball regularly at the ripe old age of 18, on the hallowed concrete courts of the University of Wisconsin's southeast dorms. He became known as "Whiplash," thanks to the frequent snapping back of his neck as he watched his two-handed, from-the-chest jump shots get swatted into the next ZIP code. This indignity led him to develop a one-handed jump shot ranked between Shawn Marion's and Patrick Ewing's in Slam magazine's annual "100 Ugliest Jump Shots" poll. Juice now resides in Brooklyn, New York, where he silently watches teens on the local courts fly through the air with grace and skill while a lone tear descends his cheek, pauses at his chin, and plummets, like his hoops-playing dreams, to the ground below.

Mothy (aka Vanilla Blur aka Vanilla Blob) grew up a Hoosier by birth, but a Wildcat Fan by the Grace of God. Embarrassed by his self-perceived boney knees in early childhood, he tried to conceal them behind thigh-high tube socks kept up with flooring-installer knee-pads through his 21st birthday. His dry wit rubbed his high school coaches the wrong way, and his hoops handle did not flower until his matriculation at UCONN where his intramural claim-to-fame was hanging on the rim at any and every opportunity. Just prior to his marriage to a track jock(tress) in 1997, Mothy breakaway dunked twice in a game on a [springy] second-storey Methodist church court in Fort Worth, Texas. Post-marriage, he is 0-for-397 on breakaway dunks, but his wily game and deceptive, flat-footed defensive posture was a staple at the University of Texas and on Austin's Pease Park and Fire Station Courts through 2001, before he relocated his Church of the Hardwood to NC State University. After adding another $65K in education debt to his kitty in North Carolina, Mothy recently moved his Hoops Congregation to Manchester, New Hampshire, where the jury is still out on how well hoops can be played with parkas, moon boots, and lumbering meese (?).


Anonymous said...

I laughed when I saw this blog, and then laughed again when I saw your ages. You guys are in your 30s!

I'm in my 50s, and play with guys ranging from their teens to their 70s in San Francisco.

Where's the love for the real geezers?

Jeff said...

Remember Fred, it's not how old you ARE, it's how old you FEEL.

Anonymous said...

When I first ran into Old School, I wondered if he was a Baller or just after my Balls?

I threw his shot three or four times and scored on him at will. He's an all right guy. He didn't get mad or upset. He's even tempered and he tries his best.

He shares the ball and plays to the best of his ability.

Old School, keep up the good work and hang in there.