Different Types of Pickup Basketball Stereos

There were no games played this week. Phil has been on vacation. Darin got a nose job and has been out all week. Erik had a baby¹ and it is anyone’s guess when he’ll be back. Take three regulars out of the picture, add some hot, humid weather, and you are left with no Lunchsketball action to report.

Not to worry, because this allows time to reflect on some big news in the world of pickup basketball. In recent weeks, a video by Dude Perfect has been showing up on blogs, news websites, and social media. It is a montage of the different types of players that one may encounter in a pickup basketball game.

If you are wondering where the Lunchsketball gang fits in, please review the following list:

  • Mr. Excuses: Adam (aka the Whirling Dervish) hurt his knee snowboarding this weekend, which wouldn’t be so bad except that he tweaked his shoulder lifting and either hasn’t eaten yet or shouldn’t have eaten that whole sandwich and is now too full.
  • Football Player: Cris could be filed under “Mr. Shoulda Made the League”. Gary’s protégé, the one-time CIF Player of the Week, really shoulda made the National Football “League” rather than the National Basketball “Association.”
  • My Bad: There can only be one: The Rylander loudly takes credit for missed layups, lost passes, the rising price of gasoline, Original Sin, etc.
  • Mr. Accessory: Chris L. The +Kid has been known to appear with some ornamental festooning.
  • The Looks Can Be Deceiving Guy: No comment here…
  • The Dad + Kid: How can it be anybody other than Gary?
  • The Player Coach: John. A fellow by the name of Savik will go to the Hall of Fame at this position, but he has retired.
  • The Rage Monster: Jorge (aka “Hurricane Mode“).
  • The Old Guy: It would take a really old guy to stand out as “The Old Guy” here in El Cajon.
  • The Imaginary Dunker: Nathan. Honorable mention to retired great Phil F. (aka “White Chocolate”), and Darin.
  • Foul Guy: Not going to go there.
  • The Lose-Lose Situation: If the Urbin Legend can make a few more appearances, then she will take the title. Not clear whether that is an incentive for her.
  • The Tall Guys That Only Shoots 3’s: Phil.
  • The Pants Guy: Scooter.
  • Mr. Freeze: ?
  • Mr. Shoulda Made the League: This goes best to Dude Perfect for being posers, as far as creativity goes. This type of thing has been done before, in this video. In fact, Josh Sneed, who published the first video, can be found in his comments, lamenting the fact that he was shamelessly ripped off and given no credit.
  • The Misses All Game But Banks In a 3 For the Win Guy: There are many suspects, but the evidence points most strongly toward Kerry. Let’s go home!

¹ Erik did not physically give birth to the child. Congratulations just the same!

Bank Fraud By the Accountant: Jorge Goes Glass to Steal Game

Jim and Kerry (aka “Jim Kerry”), plus George hammered out what should be considered the most grotesque victory of 2013 on Wednesday.  The three team was an out-numbered, out-sized, underdog against Adam, Tim (aka “T-Ry”), Richie, and Phil. With mis-matched teams playing on a humid day in the low-lying, stuffy heat-trap that is El Cajon, CA, this game was on track to be darn un-pretty.

An ugly game was delivered, and Jorge led the ugly-charge. The aspiring CPA “netted” some “gross profits” by rattling in a trio of three-point, unintentional bank-shots that were very gross indeed. Kerry (aka “Animal Kracker”) followed George’s lead and made a three-point dent of his own in the backboard. Shortly after half-time, the three amigos had surged to an unlikely 42-28 lead.

Phil, Adam, and company could, and perhaps should, have waved the white flag at this point. Before a check-ball, George suggested calling the game and playing a “new game to 10”. These terms of surrender were rejected, and did nothing but fuel the resolve of the trailing team, who chose to stay and fight to the bitter end.

The well ran dry for George and his bank-shots, and momentum took a clear shift. Adam and Richie dialed their defense to “11”, and for the rest of the game, their team did the majority of the scoring. In fact, a clutch three-pointer from the Rylander brought the game to a tense 48-48 tie.

This is when things went from gross, to disturbing.  A Jimbo baseline jumper rolled off the rim, and George rose above Richie and Adam to pull in the offensive rebound under the basket. Surrounded by defenders, knowing that a shot would take the game, George braced for contact, squatting for the leverage to break the inevitable foul to come, and smothering the ball with his is slimy arms and sweat-saturated jersey. The Swamp Thing was going up for the basket come hell or high water; it would take more than a mere slap on the arm to keep George down and the game alive. Adam, now a wily veteran, had already conceded the loss, merely shrugging and slipping out of the fray. He wanted nothing to do with George’s infamous perspiration on this very-most-swampy of swampy August days.

Young, inexperienced, and naive, Richie, aka Jr. tried to be the hero. With commitment and determination to match George, Richie delivered a desperate, cling-for-dear-life, bear-hug of a foul. It was enough to keep George and the ball on the ground; but at what cost?  Jr. immediately realized that though he may have kept the game going, he had, in the grand scheme of things, already suffered a horrible defeat.

Deflated, traumatized, and 25% soaked, the four team was finished. The ensuing series of possessions to arrive at a complete game was a mere formality. Jim swished in a jumper from the elbow to put an end the suffering, and allow the healing to begin.


HankABOUT FRANKLIN (2005-10): A true center is a rarity: he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so fantastic as a pure center, and no scales can measure his excellence. Russell. Shaq. Kareem. Franklin.  Pure centers. True big men. The mighty giants of basketball have a way of growing even larger as legends when their playing days are long past.

The world of pickup basketball is full of gunners and ballhogs; finding a real center who lives to play in the paint is a breath of fresh air. Franklin, aka “Hank”, aka “Blanklin”, aka “Wahlrus”, was as true of a center as ever may be found on an asphalt court. He was a mountain of a man, who played for blocks, rebounds and glory. “Hanklin” joined Lunchsketball in 2005, a raw player, built like a draught horse, and with God-given basketball talents that were a match for a draught horse as well. Finesse was never a priority for the Wahlrus, but over the course of his five year career with Lunchsketball, Franklin experienced a metamorphosis into a high-impact player. When he was in the game, the court seemed to actually decrease in size; there was less room to shoot on the baseline, and less space to dribble in the lane.

NAME: Franklin, aka “Blanklin”, aka “Tina”, aka “The Wall”, aka “Meathead”, aka “Optimus Prime”, aka “Franklinstein”, aka “Hank”, aka “Hanklin”, aka “Wahlrus”
BALL HANDLING: Not a dribbler. Thought the term “Ball Handling” was funny
MUSIC: 90’s grunge rock and Beatles
BEST SHIRTS FOR LUNCHSKETBALL: “Faux Paw” shirt, with image of wooden legged dog, or dinosaur shirt with words “Never Forget”

He was not shy about committing a foul. If you came into the lane, Franklin would take a swing at you, no questions asked. He didn’t aim for the grandeur of a clean, high-flying shot-rejection; no, he was just trying to hit the guy running past him, and he made no apologies. There is a certain noble sincerity in that; even if you got clothes-lined, you at least had the satisfaction afterward of knowing it was meant to be a clothesline all along. It is nice to know where you stand with somebody.

There hasn’t been a player like Franklin since. Lunchsketball will never forget.


Madden AmbulanceInjuries are beating up Lunchsketball. Gary’s Achilles condition lingers, although he has begun to play through the pain. Kerry reports that Adam, aka “The Whirling Dervish”, sustained whiplash injuries in a collision with Matt, aka “Mr. T”. To top things off, your Lunchsketball editor-in-chief is not able to report any further on these injuries because Jorge himself has been on the injured list most of the week, fighting what the Pacific Beach CVS Minute Clinic NP has determined to be an un-treatable case of “the flu”.

It is all a reminder of what a fragile thing a pickup basketball game may be. It is a special privilege to have a group of guys agree to meet on a regular basis somewhere to play a game, and not something to be taken for granted. And this is also a reminder that bloggers get emotional when they are home alone all day, with just old episodes of “Walker: Texas Ranger” to keep them company.

And so, in light of the situation described above, why not once again punt to the blogosphere for entertainment today? Here, via The Basketball Jones, is a video montage of Larry Bird tossing crazy dishes, all set to a delightful, groovy, 80’s, electronic-trance musical score. Here’s to next week!

This Summer in Lunchsketball

Main Story:

It has been an eventful summer in Lunchsketball, despite the uneventful blog. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. For starters, consider the introduction of a new Lunchsketballer, Diana, aka “The Urbin Legend” who made history in June as the first basketball-player-who-is-a-girl to come join the game in quite a while. Diana contributed fierce defense, while also bringing an air of class to the game. Said Gary, aka G-Money, “She wasn’t dirty, and she didn’t call anybody any names. And she smelled nice.”
  2. The duration of the games has once again been adjusted. The final score was reduced to 50 points, after basketball games began reaching 1 hour from start to finish, causing players to use vacation hours to cover extended lunch hours. Gary, who has accrued a surplus of vacation hours because he has been with his employer for 45 years, remains open to longer games.
  3. Time to say good bye to the Under Armour 295 Spongetech basketball. It was a ball ahead of its time, spurned by the world only because it was different. A common complaint was that it was too bouncy, and so to alleviate the situation, air was drained. Too much air was drained though, and the Spongetech now collects dust, flat and un-usable.

New Years Resolution Update:

Earlier in the year, a  set of challenging, yet reasonable New Year’s goals were announced for a handful of players. One of them, John, aka Vercace, was challenged to play in ten (10) games of basketball during the year 2013. Throughout the year, this blog excitedly followed John’s progress, offering encouragement all along the way. John appeared to be well along the path to achieving this goal, having already been credited with playing in one (1) game, with nearly half of the year remaining.

Now, unfortunately, there is a serious problem. A scandal. Yes, in this current news environment that is so weary with stories of affairs, mistresses and harassment, there is no choice at this point but to face yet another instance of embarrassing infidelity: John has been cheating on Lunchsketball with Ping-Pong.

Each day, on their way to play basketball, players like Jorge and Darin would pass by John’s office. He seemed so hard at work, too busy at his desk to spare the time to join the guys. Was he too busy? The truth is that John would later slink back to the warehouse, via a rarely-used back door, and meet up for a quick game of ping-pong.  Sometimes 5 days a week he would rendezvous with ping-pong in that dirty, desperate warehouse, for a cheap thrill where nobody was watching.

Now he is very brazen about it all. He’ll tell you that he is happier with ping-pong, as though what he had with Lunchsketball is something that can be shrugged off at a whim.

Will he come to his senses? Will he seek redemption? Will he see that 5 months is still plenty of time to play in 9 games? Time will tell.

Injury Report

Tim, aka Benjamin Button, suffered a really gross finger injury in June. In his own words, “The blood on my finger nail was blood from the broken bone that was just oozing up and out the finger nail.”

It has been a tough year for Tim, and yet, injury after injury, as doctors tell him that his playing career is over, he keeps coming back to the court. He is a Lunchsketball immortal: Call him “The Rylander”.

In other injury news from June and July, Gary has a sore achilles, Matt has not dislocated his shoulder, Phil left the court in an ambulance but he’s fine now, and Darin is getting a non-cosmetic nose procedure, and is currently in the market for one of those NBA face masks.

Quote of the Summer:

“Dude, look at your forehead!”

– Adam (to Erik, not particularly near any mirrors)