Labor Day Weekend Special!

EL CAJON, CA — Labor Day marks another summer in the books, and when El Cajon cools down, Lunchsketball heats up! The summer’s been a slow one, but that just means the crew is well-rested. Here’s a quick summary of notable occurrences from the nearly four-month span of undocumented basketball:

  • Another goodbye, this time to Matt (aka “Matty Ice”). Somebody dislocate a shoulder in tribute to a beloved member of the Lunchsketball community, as the Franciscan grad parted trails this summer.
  • Richie now has shoes that cover his toes and feet all the way around. His game has seen a material level of improvement.
  • Darin has taken defense to a new level of intensity, with his soon-to-be signature practice of clapping, menacingly, at opponents. This doesn’t seem, in writing, like all that much, but you’ve got to be there. The clapping defense is intimidating.
    • Note: Supposing that Erik were to take up the clapping defense, then he might be called “Erik Clapping-ton”.
  • The game ball is starting to get kind of gnarly. It isn’t quite fuzzy yet, but it has entered a phase of the outdoor-synthetic-leather-basketball aging process in which it takes on the texture of a kitchen sponge. Gary has just gotten used to this ball, and it will not be easy for him to let it go in favor of a new ball, so SpongeBall SquareBasket might be around for quite a while.
  • Darin took a trip to the Philippines this summer, where the natives informed him that he looks just like Kevin Love.
  • Kerry, not getting his needs met by Lunchsketball, has been sneaking off to play with some friends he met on the internet. It is a meetup group called “Basketball for NonBasketballers!!!“. He’s described them as having a couple of “Georges”, with the rest of the players being “like us”. Admittedly, there is some resemblance in punctuation style.

That’s the news. Happy Labor Day, everybody!

The Harvest is Plentiful

Help Wanted

EL CAJON, CA — It is the great Lunchsketball Crisis of 2014. There are fewer than 9 active players on the entire roster at the office. Adam, Darin, Erik, Gary, George, Jim, Kerry and Matt are available basically every day. Phil is only available on 5 days out of every 2 weeks, so that’s like half a player. While hope stays alive that Tim will one day return, 2.5 percent would be a generous estimate for his day-to-day availability. This brings you up to 8.525 players.

Add John’s contribution, which can be found more scientifically than Tim’s. Historically, John has participated in a rough average of 1 game in each of the past 2 years, and so you know to use 1 as the numerator in calculating the Versace factor.  To find the denominator, take 365 x 4 years, add 1 to account for leap years, and then divide back by 4 again.

V = 1 / 365.25 = .002373785

This brings the total to a measly 8.52773785 players on any given day. What happened to the times when Gary would be turning people away at the door?  And thanks John, for all those stupid decimal places.

The fact is, Lunchsketball has an opening for a new player. The ideal candidate is somebody who can guard Gary, since Gary tends to hang out in the corners by the baseline and shoot open jumpers. It’s not hard to stop him, but it takes focus and discipline. No experience is required for this position. Interested applicants should submit their resumes in the comments below.

Invitational

Since about 2 months ago, Lunchsketball games have been billed as various types of “Invitationals”. See graphic below. Which has been your favorite Invitational?

Invitationals

Tagged , ,

Uneventful Week in Lunchsketball

EL CAJON, CA — Four cancelled days of Lunchsketball meant losing the most reasonable chance for a coed game in a long while: Diana (aka “The Urbin Legend”) said “maybe tomorrow” one time too many, and was handed a harsh reminder that life is not lived on one’s own terms. She postponed her final game of Lunchsketball all the way until her last days in town, and then nature’s fury slammed the door before she could say goodbye. A Monday game of 3 vs 4 turned out to be her last chance to join the crew during this slow week for Lunchsketball.

Even Monday’s short-handed game had to be moved up to 11 o’clock in order to dodge the front of a heat wave which was to wipe out basketball the four days to follow. In a valiant gesture, Gary scrambled after the possibility of arranging a 7am game on Wednesday to accommodate Diana, but the damage of procrastination could not be undone.

Kerry, as per standard procedure, tried to weave his web of lies throughout the week, but to little effect. With temperatures rocketing, the possibility of basketball evaporated each morning faster than the sprinkler puddles on the searing pavement of the court. Kerry’s emailed plea to “cowboy up” one morning seemed half-hearted; almost as though the email itself was lethargic from the heat. It could just be that past wounds remain too fresh, but for this week, the players seemed to have learned to ignore their Pied Piper of heat stroke.

A player lost, but perhaps some lessons learned. Here’s to next week.

Tagged , ,

Lunchsketball: A Photographic Narrative

Preparing

a

 Warming Up

b

Beginning

cCatching

dStepping

eDribbling

fMeeting

gEmoting

ihShooting

j kThe End

l

Blog’s Not Dead

It’s alive! And it’s about time! There may be some weeds poking up through the comments, cobwebs hanging from the player profile links, and rodents nesting in the analytic stats, but the game goes on, and so must the blog.

Given the obscene amount of time that has passed since the last blog entry, there’s some catching up to do. For instance, you must know that Phil has started a reading discussion group that meets every other Thursday during lunch. This reduces his availability for Lunchsketball. The word is, the group is discussing magazine articles, although the time would have been well spent this week if they instead discussed the 52-26 schooling his team took Monday at the hands Kerry and associates. Proposed question to open the discussion: How much is 26 multiplied by 2?

In other news, Diana, aka “The Urbin Legend”, will be leaving the Lunchsketball neighborhood, but has announced that she intends to play in two (2) Lunchsketball games before resigning in May. Please offer encouragement to help her remember and hold this commitment.

IMG_6522

Photo by T-Ry, aka Benjamin Button. Not actually part of the documentary series

The public eagerly awaits the result of work that has been taking place for the last week, after Lunchsketball was selected as the subject of a cutting-edge,  documentary photo series. The final project is expected to be much like HBO’s Hard Knocks reality sports documentary series, except that there will be no video or audio, just photos. Otherwise, this is an all-access program that will put fans in the game, with pictures taken from everywhere on the court, and even off the court, like over by the picnic table. There are even a couple good shots inside the bathroom. The series will debut Monday in classroom 101 of building D at Mesa Community College.

And finally, saving the most exciting news for last, the March Madness championship game was played earlier this week, which of course means that the inaugural season of Saint Katherine College men’s basketball has drawn to a close. At last communication between Lunchsketball and Coach Mitchell, the Firebirds were set for a showdown in El Cajon, following the conclusion of their season. It seems appropriate to give the ‘birds a week or two so that they can rest up from the tournament; after Easter, though, it is time to start talking about this game again.

Tagged , , , ,

George Dazzles During Thrilling Victory

IMG_1494EL CAJON — Majestic. Monday afternoon, George reminded everybody why he is simply the most electrifying player in Lunchsketball, registering yet another virtuoso performance . Whenever he wasn’t playing shut-down defense, George was at the other end of the court, torching the trio of Phil, Erik and Adam, from everywhere.

“I’m biased – I grew up on the same blacktop playgrounds in rural Ohio where George started out – he’s always been this good, but I really can’t say there’s ever been a finer game of basketball put together, bar none, by anyone, anywhere”, said George, referring to himself in 3rd person during a bizarre self-interview. “He just made so many beautiful shots, and did some things on the basketball court that were just… wow.”

“Well, if I make it look easy I guess that’s just my game,” added George, suddenly shifting to 1st person during the same weird self-interview. “One thing that’s hard for me is the reality that no matter how good I get, I’ll never get to watch me play; but that’s just one of those things, you know? That’s life. I just play my game and don’t worry about it.”

The discussion of George’s career in recent weeks had shifted to injury problems, as he has been visibly hampered by an ailing right knee, and at other times missed games. On Monday, the George that fans know and love was, by all appearances, back and as much of a human highlight reel as ever.

“People in the press, they just want a story about me, like ‘Oh, George is gonna have to retire now with this knee thing,'” continued George, now beginning to alternate wildly between person-views. “Obviously, tonight I showed them they don’t know me. They don’t know George. That simple. Don’t know him one bit.”

In light of such a magical display of basketball talent, there will inevitably be a slew of comparisons to the other greats – names of legends from a bygone era like Franklin, Evan and Savik, or even contemporary stars like Gary and Kerry.

“I have a great deal of respect for all of those players,” I said. “I think everybody just has to stop thinking about who’s like who, and just enjoy it all.”

New Player Profile: Mark

Photograph (5)ABOUT MARK: You know that it is a special kind of good day when you get the email from Mark, announcing to “all” that he is coming. Kerry probably emails Mark 100 times a year to ask if he’ll come, and Mark can only make it about 3 times. Mark used to play Lunchsketball a lot more, but his company moved their offices  away from the court, which made it difficult for him to get enough time to play. Kerry keeps asking Mark nonetheless; all that rejection is worth it for those happy few emails.

Mark suffered an ankle injury (to phrase it lightly) in 2010. He emailed the group, “I am out 6 to 8 weeks. Broke my ankle.” What actually happened was that he had an accident playing basketball, and as a result his foot had become almost completely separated from the rest of his body. Kerry had a  picture of the injured ankle, and emailed it around (who wouldn’t want to see a photo of something like that?).  Mark was using crutches for about one year afterward. A few weeks following the injury, Mark vowed off basketball for life. It was a sad day.

He made his return to the court in 2012, and appears as good as new. Of all the players, Mark is by far the most dedicated to stretching. Even before the ankle disaster, Mark was careful about getting a lot of stretches in beforehand. Budget about 10 minutes of stretching from the time Mark arrives at the court before he looks at a basketball.

His signature move is one that he uses after an opponent scores on a really imprudent and aesthetically displeasing attempt (for some examples of ugly shots, please see the video, “Lunchsketball“). He will pick up the ball after it drops through the net, and then instead of in-bounding it to resume the game, he will just stand there, holding the ball in one hand, with the other arm akimbo, and make a face of disapproval and thorough disgust. And then he just keeps standing there, as long as he feels it takes for the gravity of what just happened to sink in. Before the game can continue, everyone must be brought to realize that the basket was shameful and wrong. Usually the offending player will be running back for defense, notice that everybody has stopped playing, and turn around to find himself being stared down by a frowning Mark.  Sometimes Mark says, to nobody in particular, or maybe to the basketball gods, “Really? REALLY?”, before shaking his head and starting the game again.

Mark takes long shots on the regular. Even before there was a three point line, Mark shot from what would be NBA range almost as often as from any other distance. The shot has been named after him, in fact. Today, if anybody shoots from that Mark range, Gary may say “Oh, that’s a Mark shot!” (exception: Erik calls those “big-kid threes”).

Mark is one of the game’s most tenured participants. His Lunchsketball career began well before the blog ever arrived. Here’s hoping that there will be many more Lunchsketball stories to tell about Mark.

Tagged , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.