Friday, 20 September 2013

One-on-One with The Box

Whenever I hear “Closer Together” by The Box, I think of one of the stupidest bets I ever made.

It was early summer of 1987 and I was just finished high school. I had become friends with this Grade 11 basketball phenom named Mike, who played all the time. I shot a lot too, but had other commitments other than shooting every day.

One day we were shooting around the outdoor court at the old R.I. Baker school in Coaldale. It was just a rim, no mesh or even a string hanging off it.

We played a bit of one on one and he beat me pretty easily, but I did hang around for awhile.

Out of the blue, he offers this up.

“You want to see who can dunk. I’ll bet you a slush?”

Now Mike is still one of the best players I’ve ever faced, and I’ve been playing ball 35 years. I don’t know what I was thinking when I meekly said: “Okay.” A man of many words and much confidence I know.

He took ball and dunked it with one hand.

To be completely honest, I had been messing around at the Lethbridge YMCA all winter and managed to dunk a series of increasingly larger balls from soft ball to small jelly ball, bigger jelly ball, girls’ basketball, and finally flat men’s basketball. The key was in being able to palm the ball – and of course to jump high enough.

I did neither of those things on that day. The rim stuffed me, and suddenly I was rummaging through my pockets and the car for change.

Mike must have been thirsty.

Still wondering why I took the bet, chalking it up to pride and being stubborn, “Closer Together” played all the way to Mac’s. I was humming that song when I walked into Mac’s, where Mike was standing at the counter holding up his extra large Coke slush and pointing to me.

“He’s getting this.”

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