Wednesday, June 27, 2007
" Alphabet Soup"
In the early '60's my father put up a backboard and hoop on the garage. We played constantly. The fireplace chimney was on the left facing the basket so long shots were straight out or to the right. We measured and painted a foul line.
For hours and hours, we played "bull shit," our version of "horse". There was room for 2 on 2 but more than that and you had to rotate people in. I played alot by myself and used to bounce the ball off the chimney, like a pass. When we played 1 on 1 we had a rule that whoever had the ball could use the chimney to pass off of.
Over time this became a problem because my father slept during the day and worked nights. I used to peek in the bedroom and if he was snoring we could play. 99% of the time this worked but when we woke him up he would come out in his boxers and yell," Jesus Christ Glenn cut it out! Grow up, God dammit and let me sleep!"
He'd leave and we'd crack up.
Dad used to call Polish people, Pollocks to him, alphabet soup because they had so many letters in their names. The kid across the street, David Klyzsmdt, used to come over once in a while. His mother used to stand in the window and watch. She always ended up calling him home. Once when we were really little and were playing cowboys and Indians, we had tied David to a tree in the backyard and left him there. Ever since she watched like a hawk.
There were six of us that day, divided into 3 teams, me and Nick, Cary and Bill DeSorbo, David and Gary Bailie. All of us but Gary went to Bishop Gibbons together. The games started innocently and got progressively tougher. During a game that Nick and I sat out, Bill crushed David into the chimney. He looked like Wile E. Coyote hitting a wall. When we rotated back in we used the move alot on David. He went home sore and in tears. He was never allowed over again.
A couple of years later, we lost the backboard forever. I was lobbing passes to Nick, who was on the garage roof behind the backboard, dunking the ball. He must have leaned on the brace too hard and the whole thing fell to the driveway. Once again we heard the litany of our youth,
"Jesus Christ you two - grow up!"