May 24, 2005
During my three years of high school (I graduated during my junior year), I played basketball for the Pacifica (Bay Point, CA) Spartans. We should have changed our team name to "sparse ones", because for us, baskets were few and far between. We were such scrubs that our junior varsity squad pulled off the stupidest stunt in the history of Northern California athletics.
As usual, we were getting drubbed, this time to the tune of 67-26. In the five previous games we'd lost, we were outscored approximately 390-205. To that point, there were several of us who hadn't played, and we felt we had the right to contribute to forty point losses, too. We finally got our chance. Sort of.
At the end of the 67-26 game, coaches from both squads met at the scorer’s table. The opposing coach was seen shaking his head in an agitated fashion, and was overheard saying, "I've never in my life heard of anything this ridiculous. Is it even legal?" We scrubs certainly thought it was, and we talked our coach into pleading our case. So five minutes later the following announcement came over the P.A. system:
"Ladies and gentlemen…please remain seated. We are…heh-heh…damn, I don’t believe this…we are going to play a special ‘fifth quarter’ for those who didn’t get a chance to play during regulation."
After our "fans" finished guffawing, my friends KC Williams, Gary Lewis and I, accompanied two other goons and strutted onto the court. Here was our chance to showcase our lack of talent. After eight minutes, for lack of a better term, we "won" 12-7. (I scored four points, but blew two lay-ups after blowing past the defender each time.)
Yes, the next day, the varsity and the starters on the JV squad clowned us, but we didn't care. And the following game, after again being mugged in our own house, we hosted another "special fifth quarter". If you had seen our turnover ratio, you would have been convinced that we played for a school for the blind. But we didn’t care what people thought. We just wanted to play ball. But our team was so pathetic, we couldn’t have medaled in the Special Olympics.
After a third "fifth quarter special" the league wrote a letter to our coach and school principal, ordering an end to it. We were, "playing outside of the traditional parameters of the game" and "making a mockery of the rules of good sportsmanship."
Our coach never had been a ballplayer. He knew nothing of the fundamentals of the game. He only done what the Varsity coach told him to do. Subsequently, we finished 5-13. But the worst was yet to come during my Junior year.
Things hadn’t gotten much better. Playing JV for a second year, (and finally cracking the starting five), I figured we could win at least half of our games. But we started out getting routed by El Cerrito high, who beat us like we were runaway slaves.
But Campolindo High, would give new meaning to the term "beat down." The cougars, as they were called, played together year-round and worked with the St. Mary's college freshman b-ball team. Year-in, year-out, they beat both us and the varsity by forty points or more. But in 1976, the defeats they administered were downright ridiculous.
In the first game, their varsity beat ours 101-43. Their JV squad blitzkrieged us: 103-36. In fact, we failed to get the ball beyond mid-court the entire first quarter. If it wasn't for their tenacity and being overzealous, we wouldn't have got to shoot freethrows, which accounted for our six points; unfortunately, they had thirty-eight. Even our fans were laughing at us and rooting for the cougars to run up the score.
Our coach, Charles Bauman, a great guy--and believe it or not, good coach--said glumly, "Let's just try and make it respectable, okay fellas?" And this was with just two minutes gone in the first quarter! I realized then, that even John Wooden couldn’t have coached us to more than three wins.
Meanwhile, Campolindo wasn't having any of that "respectability" junk. They must have forced us into a national record for turnovers. I estimate we had at least fifty-eight. We played so horribly, KC, who was our starting center, fouled out with three minutes to play in the first quarter. Our back up center, Charles Holley came in and the first thing he did was shoot a sky hook--from twenty three feet out. It didn't even draw iron. I almost broke my fingers trying to rebound the carom. Worse yet, he too fouled out--right before halftime.
Now I was moved into the post. And though I was only 5'8", I had "spring". I could dunk a basketball. And their backup center, an immobile six-foot three-inch scrub couldn't stop me. But what was his motivation? They were already up by fifty. At games end I had scored sixteen points.
As a team, we shot 33% that year. And that was from the free-throw line. Shaq would've been cracking up at us. Our season was surreal. We would have breakaway lay-up opportunities only to have somel hog try going "coast-to-coast" and eventually dribble the ball off of his foot and out of bounds.
The only time we played well on defense was when we played the league's second-best team, Liberty High. We held them to eight points in the second half, on their floor. However, they had scored seventy-one points in the first half, and we lost 79-28. (I had eleven points and fifteen rebounds.)
In the rematch against Campolindo, on their floor, the varsity lost by "only" thirty-nine 98-59. We got mauled, losing 101-45. In that game we shot seventeen airballs in the first half, and at one point, five in a row.
For the record, this is a true story and will be continued in an upcoming column. Stay gooned…er, tuned.
About the author: Timothy Stelly is the 45-year old author of "Tempest In The Stone" and the upcoming, "The Malice of Cain". He resides in Pittsburg, California with his three youngest children Dante, Kimberly and Lawrence.
I have a new website: stellbread0.tripod.com
Tell a friend about this site!
All articles are EXCLUSIVE to Useless-Knowledge.com and are not allowed to be posted on other websites. ARTICLE THIEVES WILL BE PROSECUTED!