Untotaled: Stepping 34 (March 19th, 1967) Water Buffalo … October 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2370)

(Transcript)

Jack Forrest was my friend.

He was one of those adolescent chums who I was sure would always be my next-door neighbor, as we borrowed lawn and garden tools from each other and swapped spares in the neighborhood bowling league.

We played football together until I quit early in the season–and sure enough, he also abandoned the sport in reverence and defiance. So I think he was a little confused when I returned to play basketball.

It was not an easy choice for me, either. I never wore shorts and because I was so large, the little tank-top jersey they provided was too tight and made my promising pecs appear to be burgeoning breasts.

But by the same token I was athletic. I was good enough to be a starter. So one afternoon, the Olentangy freshman basketball team came over to play us and Jack attended the game.

I was hoping to do well in this particular competition because I had secured the starting forward position, and I wanted to impress the coach. When I walked onto the court in all of my chubby glory, a young student from the Olentangy campus yelled out, “Hey, look! A water buffalo!”

There were some titters from the opposing faithful.

Even though I shouldn’t have, I looked around to see who was taunting me. There was this guy with a smirk on his face sitting right behind my buddy, Jack.

The coach whispered in my ear an exhortation to put it out of my mind and the game began.

But I didn’t put it out of my mind–especially when this fellow continued to call me a water buffalo and once even generated a “M-o-o-o-o!” in my direction. Honestly, the thing that crossed my mind was that I didn’t think the buffalo species “mooed.”

But being a kid, the insults affected me. I dribbled a ball off my foot, missed an easy lay-up and fouled the opposing team a couple of times in frustration. I found myself peering over at that screamer instead of paying attention to the game.

Jack just sat there quietly in front of him without moving a muscle.

All at once, when the fellow yelled out his most recent insult, Jack stood up, turned around and punched the kid in the nose. He didn’t knock him out, but the guy did bleed. Jack didn’t care. He just turned around, sat back down and watched the game.

It was amazing.

  • No one stopped the action.
  • No teacher jumped in and sent Jack off in hand-cuffs with the police.
  • And the fellow who had done all the yelling stopped his taunts, never filing a lawsuit.
  • Matter of fact, no one ever even talked to Jack about what he did, assuming it was a rite of passage between two young, emerging studs.

I finished the game free of interference and actually scored a couple of baskets.

After it was over, I thanked Jack for his assistance, but said it wasn’t necessary.

Jack replied, “I didn’t do it for you. His squawking made my ears hurt.”

I smiled–because I knew he did do it for me.

He was loyal. And even though loyalty can be misguided, it’s a pretty powerful thing to carry around … on your way to acquiring good sense.

 

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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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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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