Untotaled: Stepping 31 (December 18th, 1966) One Last Time … September 13, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2351)

(Transcript)

My home was just two blocks from school, so when the bell rang, dismissing classes for the holidays, I hung around. I was in no hurry to make the trek to my house.

It was my birthday and I was vexed by a bit of melancholy.

Maybe it was the reality of turning fifteen and still not loved by any girl, and kind of shoveled to the side by a family that had more pressing concerns.

I borrowed a basketball from the boys locker room and shot some hoops. I was temporarily invigorated by the fact that I set a new personal record for free throws–eight in a row.

When the janitor came into the gymnasium, he frowned. I realized he was going to ask me to leave, so I redeposited the ball back into the slot where it belonged, grabbed my books and headed towards my abode.

Darkness was already beginning to fall on the little central Ohio community. Clouds were clumped in the sky like folded dirty towels, haphazardly stacked on the shelf, precariously threatening to tumble on the floor in the linen closet.

It was gonna snow.

It didn’t take me long to get home, although I shuffled my feet most of the way. I had never seen that little stretch of road so vacant. Everyone had settled inside, lit their fires and were preparing to endure the forecasted six inches of the white stuff.

Strangely enough, when I got home there was no one there. The house was warm, dark and certainly well-suited to my threatening depression. I left the lights off and turned on our old television set.

There was Clara Jo’s Toy Shop. I never watched it–too “baby,” too silly, too girly, too stupid. But today I was in no mood to rise from my chair, turn the dial and find something else.

All at once, she introduced Santa Claus, to come out and talk to the kids. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head, and I realized, “Oh, yeah. It’s Christmas time.”

I cried.

I don’t know exactly why–but as I watched the man on TV pretending to be the saint from the North Pole, I suddenly wanted to believe again.

After all these years of growing up, knowing that the tales spoken of the northern elf were probably not true, I desired him in my life.

I was so lonely. I tried to play the piano, but each song just made me weep. Then I fell silent–so still that I could hear the howling wind foretelling the coming storm. The window panes in the dining room were already fogging over, promising frost.

With some tears in my eyes, I spoke out loud to the television set. “Santa Claus, all I want for Christmas is to still believe in Santa Claus.”

I cried again.

For a minute, it looked like I was going to be inconsolable. Then suddenly, it just stopped. I sniffed and peered at the television set.

I thought to myself that the family would soon be here. I was frightened that they had all forgotten it was my birthday. I didn’t think I had the heart to endure it.

Suddenly Clara Jo began to sing, in her off-key alto pitch, “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus…”

I allowed my mind to wander to Christmases years before. It was December 18th, 1966 and I was fifteen.

And as a chill went down my spine, I thought to myself, “There goes Santa Claus.”

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Untotaled: Stepping 11 (January 20, 1965) The Cardington Rule … April 26, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2214)

(Transcript)

Jimmy did all the scoring.

Matter of fact, when our seventh grade basketball team lost the previous week to Mt. Gilead, 32-26, Jimmy scored 24 of our points. The other two additional contributions were provided by our guard, Tom, who miraculously sunk two free throws.

So when Cardington arrived at our school on January 20th, they were fully aware that the only person they really needed to guard was Jimmy.

I was the starting forward but had not scored. I believe the coach had me in there for rebounding. It was not that I jumped really high to retrieve the ball, but rather that my circumference prevented other players from getting anywhere near the rim and the ball kind of just fell into my hands.

So in the first possession of the game, when Jimmy was being triple-teamed by Cardington and they knocked the ball away and it dribbled over to me in my left corner position, and I picked it up, I was nervous to the point of vomiting–and of course, very surprised.

But I looked up and there was my favorite shot. I always used the shot from the left corner baseline when I played Horse, to put somebody away. It was my preferred weapon.

I had lots of time. No one realized where the ball had gone. So I looked up, arched the ball in the air, and nearly wet my pants when it swished through.

The players looked over in shock–and those were my teammates.

I ran down the court to guard for the next series and before I knew it we were back in possession of the ball and I was in my left corner, unguarded again, but this time Jimmy threw it to me and I sank another basket.

Yes. I did three baskets in a row, plus got three foul shots. (For after all, they did eventually decide to send somebody over to distract me.) We weren’t even a minute and a half into the first quarter of the game and I had scored nine points.

The coach called a time out, more or less to allow me the opportunity to catch my breath from excitement, and everybody pounded me on the shoulders as we headed for the bench. I’ll never forget what he said.

“Cring’s hot. Get the ball to him.”

Glory be to God, I was hot.

So my team did try to get the ball to me. I missed a lay-up, fumbled a pass, was double-teamed, and therefore never scored another point.

But it did give Jimmy a chance to get free–and he scored thirty.

We won the game, 39-18.

After that I did not become our leading scorer. But I wasn’t afraid anymore. I put some points up in every game.

I know it sounds silly, but that day I experienced The Cardington Rule:

If you’re going to play the game, you’d better be prepared to make points.

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The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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