Going into a statewide lockdown on Monday didn’t stop it from being a glorious spring weekend in Charlotte. Eighty-eight on Saturday was plenty hot, getting out to shoot for forty minutes or so brought back hoops memories from Tampa, those times mi amigo Ivan and I beat each other to death in Tampa, FL humidity and blazing heat.
This isn’t a eulogy, but yes, I’m thinking about him being vulnerable and, as far as I know, unless he’s at the Mayo Clinic again because he’s lived with prostate cancer a dozen years now, he’s right at Ground Zero. in Bronxville, NY. He’s like ninety-odd pills a day a medical marvel, but when you hear “underlying causes” with COVID-19, he’s definitely in that category.
We never even brought Power Ade with us back then, maybe a water bottle, then game to 100 – you could make up to three free throws after a basket. It would be 94+ degrees, we could have stroked out. Younger then of course, stupid but physically capable of recovery, maybe a little like those Spring Breakers…
I’ll mix sports and some piece of the tale about making Ivan Marquez, former commisioner of the EIVA (Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) and Concordia College Athletic Director-legend the coach-person he became, because he DIDN’T go back to Puerto Rico when we both had to retreat to New York from Tampa in 1983.
My claim to fame was disabusing him, by raining my good jump shot on him time after time, of the idea he could fit back into his old ways of league basketball in Santurce, PR, because he recognized, “If I can’t stop THIS guy from getting to the hole or shooting 3s, that’s not an option.”
My recently turned 86-year old Mom in a nearby senior living community in Charlotte – locked down two weeks ago, and no Sundays in packed churches in any near future – is definitely safe, my best bud from college and forever, I don’t know.
TV sports are all repeats now, so…
I watched the St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup, Christian Laettner still made “The Shot” in that classic 104-103 game against Kentucky, and I’m sure to see Flutie make that incredible throw again soon, but since there’s no new sports happening, I’ll offer a couple personal athletic considerations in place of TV.
Ivan and I went to the first pro beach volleyball tournament outside of the Southern Cal scene, held in Clearwater, FL. We got included in the judging for best bikini at one point, but there were a *bunch* of people sitting in on that. I’ve kept the typewritten original for ITS SPORTS! since 1982, think of it as a historical document, at least for that new sportswriter.
Yes, Karch Kiray was there, and won the Jose Cuervo-sponsored event.
Ivan’s analysis stuck with me: Unless there was a LOT of $$$ (which proved not a problem) going into beach volleyball, whether the stars of the California lifestyle would travel well was the question. He was also the guy who years later suggested scoring every point in volleyball to appropriate collegiate icons, because time-wise, long side-out games weren’t “TV friendly” like all the other NCAA championships.
Because of Ivan, I have the BEST hockey story, involving EJ McGuire – who became VP of NHL Souting, and died in 2011 of a cancer so rare, they don’t even have a slogan – but I knew as the cool as hell coach of the men’s team at Brockport State (NY). In the most generous of terms, that made us contemporaries, as I coached the Womens Hockey Club all of four games, before we ran out of bodies.
Those guys were tight, and I needed green jerseys for a game against Ithaca College – which we wound up whuppin’ 8-2, a week after they scored an empty net goal with :02 left to beat us 3-1 – so Ivan asked EJ after Friday practice, and he says, “Sure. Couple of you guys, give Glenn your jerseys for the girls.”
I chucked those jerseys in an equipment bag, and didn’t think about them again until we were in the locker room pre-game. As I started tossing them out, the girls were “Oh God, they’re cold, wet, stinking!” I said, put ’em on, we have to tape numbers on the back.”
Ithaca had 20 skaters in identical uniforms, skates, helmets with cages. The game was at Cornell’s Lynah Arena, my brother Steve brought my folks and aunt, uncle, cousin to my game before his JV basketball game. My feet didn’t touch the ice going over to shake the other coach’s hand after a HUGE victory. There’s more, trust me, but my only win as coach.
#1 for me and most, a championship
1981 Upstate Rugby Championship, beating arch rival Knicks in OT penalty kicks in semis. First time in 13 years!
We were the ‘B’ side entry, wound up having 6-7 guys from other teams play with us, what they call “rugby whores” (you give them a jersey, they do whatever you want). It was all about lights out defense – we didn’t give up any scores after first half game one (of three games on first day), then until last play of game against Knicks.
One of our guys punched somebody right in front of ref. They made a penalty kick, we made two in OT to win. That ‘B’ side only lost once all year. (That’s right Skip, we bad.)
Everybody needs someone to compete against (Brady-Manning, Yankees-Red Sox) and brother Dave was my toughest opponent, especially when he got lots bigger in college. Barely 6′ and could dunk.
Best 1-1 athletic moment, splitting tennis and late night hoops victories in a test of macho and his leg brace. I moved him all over the court to win, then he shot outrageously, *one parking lot light “over there” in the DARK, at a hoop he’d never seen before* to kill me in hoops. I’m laughing at how he had to suck it up around wife Donna, pretend his leg wasn’t in a world of hurt for a week.
Other biggie in sports – Best guy to make a competetive bet with – pays off. We “had a Wimbledon,” meaning if it takes five sets to have a winner, we go five sets, AND he said he’d take me in straight sets. Dave was kind of a beast to pass at net coming in behind a good bending serve, but I chipped-blocked a ton of those serves back on his feet coming in, and he didn’t put many away, so I took the first two sets.
He wants to go double or nothing, case of Mich Light and $20, “Do you want the bet or not?” Sure…and I took him out.
Case of beer and $$ was at bottom of attic stairs before I came down for breakfast.
Much as beer drinking is glorified, at a personal level, for me, it still counts to know you’re drinking what someone else paid for because you were “better.”
Oh, shooting on Saturday. I tore it up in two selfie games of 21, first time in a while I haven’t gone back to 15 like three or four times because I missed my “and one.”
Between some early afternoon raking and that, I believe I got a little sun. So that’s at least a *piece* of a pretty good day, right?
Cold beer with tortolini and some of best sauce and meatballs I’ve made in a while, its a regular Saturday… kind of. Whatever we can do to stay a little more relaxed, doing it by ourselves, that’s the deal in the here and now.
Just FYI – I consider myself informed and willing to do the obvious (wash hands, stay home), I have Skype interviews scheduled Monday and Tuesday, but no, I’m not going anywhere for a while especially “just because.”