Freudian Slips: How the Ball Bounces

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

June 04, 2006

How the Ball Bounces

-Joe Tornatore in over the calf matching tube socks.
The 1979 Washington Township Intramural basketball All-Star team had already been announced and I wasn’t selected. I dreamed of making the All-Star squad but I understood the numbers game. Clearly the best team in the league, we went on to win the championship without really being tested. Two of my teammates could have played high school basketball in a smaller town. We averaged 70 points a game and with 22 Wins and only 2 Losses we were nearly unstoppable. I was only the fourth best player on my team and our top three players had been named to the All-Star squad. A hard working forward with a few skills, I was still the odd man out of the coronation.
We were playing our last regular season game, a meaningless contest before our team geared up for the playoffs. One of our guards had been battling the other team’s top guard all game. They had been jawing at one another and trading points on both ends of the hardcourt. A couple of hard fouls were called during the game. It seemed like an innocent private competition until things turned ugly.
With only a few minutes left in the game, the two players simply had no interest in the bouncing ball between them. They started slinging fists at one another like two boys fighting over the same girl on Valentine’s Day. People left the stands. Some stormed the court to help and some had other intentions. Family members too spilled onto the court shouting instructions to their sons. Coaches tried to seperate the engaged players.
Other hyped up basketball players, including myself, moved closer to the scrum. They say in a bench clearing brawl to pick out a person on the other team to tangle with. If they make a move, it is your responsibility to stop them from piling on. I kept my eye on an opposing player, who looked eager to join the fracas. With the exception of some minor pushing to let my presence be known, I was not directly involved in the fighting. After a few tense minutes, the coaches and referees restored order. The referees saw fit to call the rest of the game off. They blew their whistles and ordered everyone to go home.
I remember walking off the court amidst the disorder. Out of breath, my coach rushed up to me.
“Joe, are you doing anything Saturday afternoon?” he asked.
“No. Why?”
“You are now. Billy just received an automatic one game suspension for fighting. Joe, you just made the All-Star team. You were first alternate. Congratulations.”
Making any All-Star team takes hard work. Sometimes it even constitutes the blood, sweat, and tears of others.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Zelda Parker said...

An athlete and a scholar, who knew?

8:54 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

zelda,
Defaulting into things is a matter of habit for me.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though my eyes are not as keen as they used to be,I think I see a wee mustache peeking back at me. I remember that you banned me from attending your games. Guess who this is!

8:53 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Anonymous,
Gee mom give me three guesses.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Merci said...

When were any of us ever that young???

Anything was possible back then, anything!

12:45 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

merci,
i look like the ball boy for an ABA basketball team.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous t said...

Joe,

All Star games aren't what they used to be.

9:21 PM  
Blogger E said...

Joe, I love that you are fearless! What a great photo!

10:28 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

t,
a foot taller and I might have made the high school team.

e,
I was scared to death I was going to get sucker punched in that skirmish. lol

11:15 PM  
Anonymous t said...

Joe,

If it was not for the two on one games with you and John, I may not have made the HS Teams. Thanks.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

T,
We let you win to build and hone your confidence, my young apprentice.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

You know, I don't usually read sports-related posts because I'm dumber than a box of nails when it comes to that particular topic. However, I've had such a blast catching up (a little) with your writings that I just had to give this one a look-see.

Great set of circumstances back then!

(you don't wear those socks anymore, right? RIGHT?)

1:35 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Hag,
Gosh no. I passed them down to my son. lol

6:24 PM  

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