Middle-Aged Mutant Dribbler Turtles

EL CAJON, CA — One of the most effective defensive strategies in Lunchsketball is the full-court press. When done properly, 10 point deficits can be erased and replaced by 10 point leads. A lot of the press success has to do with the apathy of teams with large leads. Up 20 points or so, Lunchsketball players tend to favor experiencing their lunch break as a leisurely stroll, from baseline to baseline. They are not interested in making aggressive cuts to get open for the ball. Point guards resultantly find themselves stranded, alone on the opponent’s end of the court, left to deal with ferocious, full-court defenders.

Turtle!

Turtle!

This does not work out well for point guards. It seems that in general, the typical lunch player is relatively more advanced as a one-on-one defender than as a dribbler or passer. The defender, more often than not, has a skill advantage. So the press is very effective, especially late in the game when the guys are winded. That is when a pressing team might send one of their quicker guys down court to take the ball away from an isolated AARP-eligible dribbler. When one player is left to face a defender on an open court, with no option to shoot the ball (because the basket is too far away), the player who is dribbling is a sitting duck.

Lately, those ducks have been transforming into turtles. A solution has emerged from the great tactical minds of the game; an innovative answer to the dreaded press. It is simple, and easy to remember: Turtle. In Lunchsketball, this simply means to stop dribbling, tuck one’s limbs around the basketball, press it to the bosoms and make a protective shell of the body. When a dribbling teammate is under assail, but you are too far away to help him, you yell “Turtle!” It is a simple command that pierces the clouds of panicked confusion. The dribbler then assumes Turtle position until help may arrive.

So that is your tip of the day. If you’re dribbling, and you’re alone, and you’re in trouble, remember the Turtle.

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Dream Team Hasn’t Felt Great All Year

EL CAJON, CA — They just haven’t looked like themselves. The Dream Team has clearly been missing that magical edge of theirs that once propelled them to the status of demigod legends. This year, they are off to a disastrous start, piling up three losses by the time 2015 was barely a week old.

Kerry, George, and Darin finally opened up this week, admitting that they have not felt 100% since 2014.

“I haven’t felt great all year. I’ve had spurts where one or two games I felt good, and after that, I was just pushing through it, just being the competitive guy I am and wanting to be out there for my teammates,” said LeBron James, according to Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick, and incidentally expressing the exact thoughts of Darin (aka, “Darrell”).

On Friday, George (aka Jorge, aka SwampThing, and, lately from Gary, aka “Whorge” for reasons unclear) opted to take the day off to rest.

“I just finally listened to my body, ultimately,” James said, articulating precisely what George would have liked to have said. “I was affecting my game. And once I see my game being affected by my stubbornness, I had to just look myself in the mirror and understand I had to do something that was best for me as well. It was one of the hardest, one of the smartest, decisions I’ve made.”

For the time being, the Dream Team will need to play carefully, and concentrate on getting back to full health.

“Until we get healthy, we won’t know what we’re capable of doing,” James said, basically reading Kerry’s mind. “I don’t think we will ever be fully healthy, as far as being 100 percent, it’s impossible. I can never get my motor back to 100. As close to 100 as possible for all of us.”

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Clash of Clans Christmas Special

Editor’s note: Clash of Clans is popular with some of the Lunchsketballers, just as it is with the 2014 American League Champion Kansas City Royals. This article is otherwise entirely unrelated to Lunchsketball. For those who play the video game, Merry Christmas. Everybody else, hang in there – this is not going to become a full-time Clash of Clans blog.

State of the Village Address to the People of GMcFly32:

santaPeace to you this Christmas, my villagers! How I love each one of you. The eager smiles on the faces of the builders brings me joy. How proud I am of those bands of courageous archers, who with ever a watchful eye pace their towers as they survey the horizon on our behalf. What happiness it brings me to watch my harem of innumerable identical buxom wenches spend their days scurrying about the village grounds, applauding the plants, rocks and structures that delight them so. How effortlessly they leap, light as a feather, over the walls we’ve raised to deter the fiercest predators!

What sorrow to think that I should ever have had lead you astray. How it terrifies me to imagine ever bringing an unnecessary pain upon the least of you, who have trusted me so innocently!

“Hey Chief, come back! Your warriors need a leader!”, comes the distressed message from my village. Time and again, I’ve rushed back in response, thinking that I was coming to your aid.

I have been wrong. This morning, as I gazed out upon the splendorous tide of our majestic beach, I began to think. My thoughts are sometimes clearest when I am close to nature. The sound of the crashing waves, this endless, foaming, cycle of beauty, lead the mind to think in greater terms. I let those words sink in… “your warriors need a leader!” I thought about what it really means to be a leader and LEAD. My warriors need a LEADER.

And a leader is one who does first what he knows is best for his people. A leader makes decisions that can be painful. It can be the task of a leader to address his failings, to face his own weakness. A leader must do what is best for his people, and sometimes that means swallowing his pride. That means admitting a mistake.

I look upon my cherished land today, and lament a village that has grown weary. Wearied of fighting pointless battles for vengeance, elixir and gold. Wearied of mourning tombstones left scattered about the walls of distant cities. Tired of constructing defenses, ever insufficient to frustrate our enemies. Enemies of seemingly every race and creed, incomprehensible in number, and unrelenting in their cruelty, greed and blood-lust.

My people, I am tired of running. Tired of always looking to unlock a new warrior, build greater walls and larger coffers!

We offer them our gold and elixir, but no amount of treasures satisfies the enemy hoard; for that is the entire world beyond our bordering forests – a hoard of enemies, gleeful in our demise. They are fueled by pride, willing to burn down our Town Hall 6, civilians within it, for the mere sake of sport. It is our ruin they pursue.

Our defenses are upgraded to the max. A staggering fortune has been poured into these walls that surround us. Our resource collectors are a modern marvel. In just one day’s time, we mine 360,000 gold. Surely this is more than enough to sustain a dignified life for our people! And yet, from within our very walls, I hear this cry, that I am ever further convinced is a cry of a deranged and perverted people: “Let us go to war! Let us be a nation great in trophies! Let us amass wealth, to join the Champion league and cavort amongst the Leader Board!”

And there are those among us who promise that if we upgrade to Town Hall 7, we may there find a Hero King, and he shall be our salvation. I have heard this spoken of within our very own pink walls. Those who make their case for a Hero King do so with wile; they speak of his greatness, but neglect to reveal that he may only be summoned by Dark Elixir. What depravity, to meddle in the fell ways of Dark Elixir? What fruit can come from such witchcraft? I will tell you, for I have seen. I have seen him in foreign lands, as I have surveyed some accursed metropolis to measure the cost in blood for the spoils within, I have seen this “hero” king: He is a Barbarian.

In battles, I have seen him unmasked, standing idle and crossed-eyed whilst his village is trampled by invaders. A buffoon and a rascal is this Barbarian King. I have not spoken to you earlier of this, for at first I thought the hope he gave to your hearts a good thing, but the truth must be known. I have watched our allies, members of our clan, who have placed their trust in these wicked Heros. I question the judgement of these allies of ours. I worry for their souls, for I hear them speak flippantly of erecting an altar for this king of theirs to bask upon. This “hero” sleeps for hours on his “altar”, a fell thing purchased of Dark Elixir. These are not the ways of light. It has brought their villages no joy, and only darkness.

Well have I known many leaders of villages far greater than ours. They lament of how Town Hall 7 fails to satisfy them. They speak tirelessly of Town Hall 8. They tell me of adding this wizard tower, and upgrading that mortar, rabid greed ever in their eyes. I’ve seen such friends, once noble and sturdy men, transformed into pitiful creatures of envy and greed. What shame to see now that I have followed in their steps for so long. Far too long.

It ends today.

My people, there is not another upgrade that I can purchase for you at Level 6. We stand at a crossroads: purchase a Town Hall upgrade and continue to chase this elusive banner of worldly strength? Or set down our swords and our bows, and turn our minds to greater things. We have lived a baseless life and embraced foul ways for so long; but that does not mean it is too late to quit this path of folly.

No more shall we harvest nature’s splendor for the desperate hope of a handful of gems! Gems that buy us what? Destruction and death! Death in the name of trophies! Death to bring us esteem in the eyes of men? Death to climb the ranks of children with iPads and way too much time? What folly is this?

The sterile, manicured state of our yard repulses me. From now forward, let it be filled with stumps, bushes, mushrooms, and the splendor of mother nature unfettered!  How may the joy of resting in the shade of a giant 10,000 elixir tree ever be measured in gems?

The damage we caused by our violent ways is irreversible. How long shall we be scourged with invasions by exotic clans with hieroglyphic names? A steep debt of blood have we brought upon ourselves. For every Town Hall we have demolished, unprovoked, retribution seems exacted upon us ten-fold. Fierce is the justice of Supercell, and who am I to question it?

Nevertheless, I call you now to turn from this road of grief and suffering. May the consciences of our invaders be pricked by the witness of our peaceful village. May the contrast of our bursting gold mines to our humble Town Hall plant a seed of thought in those minds enslaved to violence. May our wild and un-manicured landscape be the gentle call of nature that reaches the hardened soul. May this village, our village, be transformed this Christmas, to a true symbol of peace and joy. Merry Christmas!

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WifeBeaters Will Continue Until Morale Improves

EL CAJON, CA — Another week of Lunchsketball, and another set of victories by an immodestly dressed Gary. He is putting together a sleeveless, form-fitting winning streak. On Wednesday, G’s team even notched a rare victory* over the formidable Dream Team (Kerry, George and Darin). During interviews before the game, Gary was clear in saying that he would stick with the new uniform as long as the wins keep coming.

Nissan Stanza

Lunchsketball gets a Stanza this year

In other news, as the annual company Christmas party approaches, buzz has been building over the soon-to-be-released, Christmas 2014 edition “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” parody poem from Kerry (aka “Animal Kracker”). On Wednesday, it was leaked that there will be one complete “stanza” devoted to Lunchsketball. While details remain vague, it has been revealed that that word “Lunchsketball” will be in the poem itself, as long as Kerry can remember how to spell “Lunchsketball”.

As a final point of news, there was some controversy during Wednesday’s game, when Kerry made a particularly exhilarating and acrobatic play that resulted in a scored basket. Members of Gary’s team protested that Special K had taken an extra step, and had traveled in the process. After some discussion, the refs got it right and allowed the play to stand because, while technically Kerry may have “traveled”, the rules should obviously be loosened in a case like this for the sake of making the game more beautiful and better for the fans, and especially when the play in question involves a marque star. This decision was validated later in the week by NBA officials who allowed a similar play to stand, as shown below.

Asterisk on the win because Darin and George are each limited by soreness in a shoulder (Darin – left shoulder, George – right shoulder). The Dream Team is down one full set of shoulders, and played remarkably well, considering.

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Domestic Disturbing

EL CAJON, CA — It has never been an athletic apparel fashion show out here, by any standard. In fact, a new shirt or pair of shorts will usually get mentioned and discussed the first time it makes an appearance, just because variety is so rare. A man generally doesn’t buy a lot of clothing, and purchases even less for exercising in. Erik has been wearing only a handful of favorite shirts for years; he’s got the Blue Bear one, and the General Motors shirt with a Hummer and Corvette on it. Everybody knows that. Phil almost exclusively wears a blue T-shirt with a white jumpman on it. Some don’t even own shorts, and will use Gary’s cast-offs, this pair of blue shorts in the warehouse that have been worn by at least 3 different guys.

With the bar having been set so very low for style, you wouldn’t think there’d be such thing as a faux pax (with of course the exception of Franklin’s “Faux Paw” shirt) in Lunchsketball. They actually do happen, but it takes something outstandingly bad. The most notable one from the past was Kerry’s pair of shorts. He had one pair of shorts, that seem to have been acquired sometime before 1992, when men’s shorts were shorts. It was basically the only pair of shorts that he owned, for quite some time. There were some holes. And then there were more holes. And more. Finally, a company policy was instated at Kerry’s office, dictating that the men were not to be seen in the office in their gym clothes. A lot of mystery enshrouds  the appearance of that policy, but Kerry’s Swiss-cheese Stockton shorts are probably what got that process rolling (the Swamp Thing phenomenon has also been implicated).

Kerry got newer shorts, and that’s been that, until recently, when Gary (aka G-Money) decided that it would be acceptable to show up wearing a wife-beater. Is he just too warm? Has he been watching Die Hard? Is he joining LeBron and others in protest of sleeves? He is a shooting specialist after all. Maybe the sleeves where interfering with his percentage.

Whatever his reasons, G is sticking with the new look. It’s a bold statement now, but baggy shorts were too, once upon a time. Maybe in a couple years, we’ll all be wearing wife beaters. Probably not in the office though.

A sKerry Halloween Week

EL CAJON, CA — This week was all about Kerry. In not one, but two spooky games this week, Kerry made SIX 3-pointers each game. That was the high point. He also went to quite a low with another below-the-belt incident. But there’s no need to bring that up.

Despite his six 3’s on Wednesday, Kerry’s team lost in a nail-biter, victims of perhaps the craziest game-winning shot in Lunchsketball history. Gary’s nephew Michael spun into the lane, trying to drive to the basket for a game winner. Kerry stepped into his path, and in trying to spin away from him, Michael began to fall off balance. Whether it was desperation or planned, falling over with his back to the basket near the free throw line, Michael tossed a high-arching shot that fell through the rim to end the game.

 

Wow. Very circus. Such Dwyane.

With all of these tedious basketball highlights covered for the week, it is time to move on to more important news. As everyone knows, most of the Lunchsketball players share a single restroom. This is where everybody changes and gets ready to play. Unfortunately, an important part of everybody’s pre-game routine is to “get down to playing weight” by unloading breakfast (see last week’s article in which Gary missed this part of the routine and was completely useless on the court). To help with the situation, Jimbo has been kind enough to leave a can of Febreeze in the handicapped stall, but sometimes, particularly with certain people to remain anonymous (call them out in the comments), Febreeze spray just isn’t enough. With that said, consider the exciting new product “Poo Pourri. The Lunchsketball blog is considering starting a “Go Fund Me” in order to sponsor a test bottle. Commercial below will explain:

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