California Dreamin': Fan Favorites Dominate Again

Tensions are rising on G-Money’s team in the wake of an ugly loss on Friday. Gary, Gary, Adam and Michael saw a 26-17 halftime lead disintegrate, falling 50-42, the latest victim of the Dream Team with its fan-friendly, action-packed style and chemistry.

In just the latest instance of social media creeping into the sports headlines, Gary sounded off on facebook, throwing teammates Adam and Michael publicly under the proverbial bus. He chose to voice his frustrations in the comments of a week-old photo posted on Jorge’s facebook profile. Apparently still mulling over the defeat at 9:30pm on Friday, G-Money wrote “my guys could not stop him in the second half……(Adam, Michael)”.

While the Dream Team brought their now-expected razzle-dazzle, including one of Darin’s signature “spin-cycle” plays, Big G brought some style of his own to the blacktop, throwing ridiculous “off-the-heezay” passes to teammates. Another bright spot was Adam’s long-awaited return to the court, after finally clearing physician restrictions.

In the victory, Kerry (aka “Special K”) struggled shooting the ball. His first made 3-pointer came in the second half. It had a perfect trajectory and made the most satisfying crisp “swish” sound as it slapped through the net. However, he was supposed to be in-bounding the ball, and so there was no way that shot counted. As it turned out, he was trying to pass the ball to Darin, who seemed to be open under the basket.

Kerry’s defense was superb, though. Any good aggressive defender will occasionally have the unfortunate mistake of making an inadvertent below-the-belt hit, and such was the case for Kerry on one particular play. It is important to just apologize and move on, but interestingly, Kerry argued brief-ly (pun intended) that he did not initiate the contact, and that, rather, his hand was slapped by the organ in question. That argument did not “fly”, so to speak.

Finally, in the midst of California’s historic drought, the El Cajon court is plagued with puddles. This is in violation of water restrictions. Expect the City of El Cajon to mandate that Jorge play less basketball during the water shortage.

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Wawful Fries – Gary Has Worst Game Yet

EL CAJON, CA — Kerry put his team on his back and very nearly led them to glory, but in the end, proving that no man is an island, his team fell ever so slightly short.

Game-play has started to pick up with the arrival of autumn. The “seasons” of San Diego, CA are a sore topic for that eccentric breed of out-of-state transplant who finds the perpetually optimal weather here something about which to complain (somehow, the lack of cold, damp, gray, generally suicide-inducing weather makes some people around here homesick and upset). Nevertheless, there is evidence of the seasons to be found if you know where to look. For instance, if you play Lunchsketball, then you can definitely tell that summer is over, because the change in temperature might be subtle, but a drop from 88 to 78 degrees sticks out quite a bit to anybody that routinely runs sprints on a plot of exposed asphalt for an hour in the middle of the day.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that there’s been much more Lunchsketball being played of late. It was perhaps the worst summer on record for Lunchsketball, but it looks like the game is back to being a regular thing.

Friday provided a nice conclusion to the week of ball, with a super-rare 3-on-3 to 60 game. Kerry announced an expected attendance of 7 players, but that estimate included Scooter. Scooter hasn’t gotten a lot of mention on the blog, but one thing you should know about Scooter is that he bears no scruple about going back on his word to Kerry. In fact, if one were to begin to track the data on Kerry/Scooter email correspondence, it should continuously prove that Scooter is less likely to play on those days which he commits to play than on those days in which he does not. For example, in October, he has played in 1 of maybe 5 games in which he did not commit to play, and he has played in 0 of 1 games in which he said that he would play. He is thus 20% more likely to play on days when he does not promise to show up. Were it possible to expand this analysis to cover the last 4 years, one may presumably see consistent results during the vast majority of months.

Nevertheless, Kerry is always happy to announce that Scooter will be playing, as if it were a very likely thing to look forward to. Gary, for his part, then engineers teams based on the assumption that Scooter is coming. Finally, the game is delayed for a little while everyone waits for Scooter to arrive. It is a very Charlie Brown/Lucy/football variety of comedy.

All of this is an aside though from the main point of this article, which is that a game was played on Friday (Scooter or no Scooter), and Gary the Elder turned in a shamefully ugly performance. George, Gary and Son-of-Gary faced off against Kaptain Kerry Hook, Jim, and Micheal. Many an open look did Gary (aka “Big” Gary) have, and so few times did he score. The vast majority of his shots were off-target. His release looked terrible – it was clearly a miss from each moment the ball left his hand.

In a mid-game interview, Gary disclosed that he had enjoyed a heavy Chick-fil-A lunch a mere 20 minutes prior to game time. This is not something that Gary would normally do on a game day, and it seriously hampered him. Gary is a precision athlete, and he simply cannot afford the additional ballast of a fast-food combo meal, particularly Chick-fil-A’s famous signature waffle fries. He knows this better than anyone else, and his lack of confidence on the court this day was grounded in reality, and more and more evident as his shots chipped paint off of the rim.

With his team losing 58-59, saving his old man from a weekend of wretched infamy, Gary Jr. sunk a very clutch basket to seal a precarious win. Crisis averted, and a lesson learned: Eat less chikin, Gary.

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

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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.

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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.

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