Fighting is the ugly side of athletic competition. In most cases, fighting happens when there are (rare) real or (usually) imagined threats to to someone's personal safety and/or sense of masculinity. In these situations, the person or persons involved feel the only sane reaction is to burst out in explosive "self-defense."

Of course, fighting doesn't always mean fighting. If you ask the average pickup basketball player, they will probably tell you they've almost been in a fight at least a few times if not many times. As someone who grew up in a neighborhood where fighting was the rule rather than the exception, let me tell you that fights don't "almost" happen. They either do or they don't. And when they do, they happen fast and end faster.

No, in pickup basketball, or pickup football, or even pickup hockey, people tend to threaten or even promise violence when the last thing they actually want or intend to do is actually fight. The important thing, it seems, is to appear willing to fight. This can serve the dual purpose of a) potentially intimidating someone who was accidentally or intentionally causing actual physical harm and/or b) restoring the perceived manhood that was lost.

Why do I bring all this up? Because I almost got into a fight this weekend.

But let me back up. My philosophy as a basketball player is to never go looking for trouble, but I also refuse to back down when trouble finds me. You can ask people like BadDave or Evil Ted about my various confrontations and near scuffles. Back in college, during an intramural game, somebody hooked me while I was boxing out on a free throw attempt. I swung him to the ground. He scrambled up and said, "After the game, you're dead, McHale!" (My last name was on the back of my jersey.) I told him, "Bring it. I'll be waiting right over there after the game," and I pointed toward the main exit. Oddly enough, he used another exit to leave the gym.

One time while playing ball at Lifetime Fitness, my defender kept grabbing my arm. Every play, he had a firm grip on my shooting arm...sometimes while I was shooting. Eventually, he did this while I was going up for a layup and I took a hard fall. On the other team's next possession, I let him drive past me then caught his arm and took him down. "That's what you've been doing to me every possession," I said standing over him. "Doesn't feel good does it?"

These are the things that happen during pickup basketball. They're ugly things that don't really have any place in the game. And yet, if you play often, they're almost impossible to escape.

My general approach has always been: If somebody screams at me, scream back at them even louder. If somebody gets rough with me, get rougher with them. Don't start problems, but never back down at any cost.

The problem with that philosophy is that you're flirting with danger every time you play.

To wit: Several years ago, I was again playing at Lifetime Fitness, I was engaged in a rather brutal series of pickup games. My team had won the previous game, and my offensive rebounding had been a big reason why. So as the next game was starting, this guy pointed at me and said, "I got this guy" in that pointed way that indicates he knows what I'm capable of and intends to shut me down.

He was an unusual sort of baller. On a very tall day, he might have been about 5'8". However, he was built like a power lifter. Although I'd never played against him, I'd seen this guy at Lifetime a few other times. He was always getting into "fights" -- by which I mean screaming matches -- with other players. Seriously, of the half dozen times I'd seen him around, there hadn't been a single time in which he hadn't gotten into a very heated dispute. And you know what they say about how "the only common element in all your bad experiences is you..."

Sure enough, this guy was all over me from the first check in. I tend to be in constant motion on the court. To slow me down, this guy kept grabbing my shorts and jersey. When I tried to box him out, he would give me a two-handed push in the back to dislodge me. When he'd box me out, his elbows would come flying back at me. Twice he caught me in the face. Once he got me in the throat. And these weren't casual elbows. These were Laimbeer-esque man-killers.

He was trying to hurt me.

Look, giving and receiving the occasional elbow is an unfortunate but unavoidable aspect of basketball. It has no place in the sport on any level, but it happens. My problem is when it happens repeatedly, intentionally, and without regard for other peoples' well-being. That's when the behavior becomes dangerous and irresponsible.

After his last elbow, I yelled at the guy, "What the fucking elbows!" He didn't respond. But a few possessions later, as I was finishing a fastbreak layup, he gave me another two-handed push while I was in the air. I managed to land without falling on my head or ass, but that was my snapping point. I swung my elbow with serious force into his chest to send the message that he needed to cut out the bullshit. Then I turned around and started sprinting downcourt because the action hadn't stopped and the other team was breaking the other way.

As I was approaching my top speed, two powerful hands grabbed me around the neck from behind. Because of the forward momentum, my feet slid out from under me. During the split second in which I had nothing underneath me, I was slammed hard to the ground by my neck.

What usually happens in cases like this is that adrenaline kicks in. Sure enough, I popped right back onto my feet, looking around and trying to figure out what in the hell had just happened. I saw my man glaring at me from about 10 feet away. I immediately realized he had jacked me from behind and sent me to the ground with the cheapest of cheap shots. I lunged at him but a small group of the other players had already surrounded me and held me back.

My attacker started screaming at me, "Come on! Come on! You know what you did! I will fucking kill you! I will kill you, man!"

I don't remember what I said in return, but I'm pretty sure that it was something similar. But five or six guys either holding me or standing between us. And, unbelievably, some of them were telling me I needed to calm down. "Hey, he attacked me," I yelled at somebody. Couldn't they see I was the wronged party here?

After the initial moment of rage had past, people started to wander back downcourt, and somebody said, "C'mon, let's finish the game."

"Are you fucking kidding me?" I said. "That fucker attacked me from behind. Fuck this shit." I pointed at my attacker. "This isn't over."

I stormed off the court and into the locker room to get my stuff. I was already forming a plan to wait for that guy in the parking lot when it hit me. The muscles in my neck tightened up so badly I had to sit down for a minute. The pain was suddenly so intense I felt light-headed and nauseous.

Obviously, I wasn't in any fit state to fight. Well, not fight and win at any rate.

But something about being hurt -- and realizing I might be seriously hurt -- turned my brain back on. The reality was, I'd been attacked from behind while trying to play basketball. And I'd been hurt. How badly I didn't know. I began to wonder whether I'd have to go to the doctor. Would insurance cover it? Would I miss work? Was the gym liable for anything that had happened?

This was important because at that time my health insurance was pretty shitty. The previous year, while playing pickup football, I had broken the ring finger on my left hand in two places and torn several ligaments, resulting in what is known as a Boutonniere deformity. This is "a deformed position of the finger, in which the joint nearest the knuckle (PIP) is permanently bent toward the palm while the furthest joint (DIP) is bent back away."

My finger was seriously effed up, and it took months of occupational therapy to make it look vaguely human again. And that therapy had been expensive. I didn't want to take another huge hit to my bank account...and so I wanted to find out if Lifetime was responsible for any injuries that happened on the premises.

I went to the manager to ask some questions. Of course, asking questions meant explaining everything that had happened, the escalation of physical play, the way I had responded by elbowing my attacker in the chest, and the way he had thrown me down from behind.

The first course of action was to find my attacker and question him. But by the time we went to the basketball court, he was long gone.

The manager claimed he believed me, but for legal reasons he had to investigate further. As it turns out, Lifetime has security cameras placed around the basketball court (and throughout the gym) to protect the organization from frivolous claims. He said the video wouldn't be available until the next day. He suggested that I see my doctor and then come back the next day so we could review the film.

I ended up missing the next day of work. I went to the doctor and found out I had suffered severely strained muscles and probably had a case of whiplash as well. He prescribed anti-inflammatories and rest.

The next day, I returned to the scene of the crim. The manager had isolated the game in question based on the times I'd given him. The attack looked as brutal as it had felt. Maybe more so. It looked like something you'd see in a staged WWE match, only it wasn't staged.

The manager told me that, first of all, the gym's insurance would cover any medical bills related to my injury. (I'm not sure that was actually gym policy or if the offer was made to avoid any potential lawsuits.) Second, he was (in his words) disturbed by what had happened. While watching the footage, he had seen the elbows my attacker had thrown as well as my retaliatory elbow.

None of those were a problem, he said. But the attack was another matter. After all, he pointed out, the video showed a few moments passing between the elbow and the time at which he attacked me. This suggested at least a short amount of premeditation. In other words, he had chosen to attack me.

"We can't let somebody who would do that remain a member of this gym," tha manager said.

He asked if I knew the man's name. I did not. "Then I need you to do something for me," he said. "The next time you see him here, you need to find me or one of the other manager's and report him. Don't confront him. Just come to one of us. We'll keep the footage on hand and deal with it accordingly."

The manager also suggested I file a police report, but I didn't do that. I probably should have, but that felt like too much.

A week or two later, I saw him. The funny thing is, I wasn't there to play basketball. I was there for a workout. However, you have to walk past the basketball courts to get to the locker room. I heard the familiar screaming...and, sure enough, it was him, getting in somebody's face.

The manager I had spoken to wasn't there, but the manager on duty had been appraised of the situation. He followed me to the basketball court, where I pointed out my attacker. The manager went in, pulled him out of the game, and led him to an office. My attacker saw me standing there and, based on the look on his face, realized what was happening.

I never saw him again, but the first manager I had spoken to called me the next day to tell me my attacker's membership at Lifetime had been permenantly revoked.

And that was that.

The funny thing is, somewhere inside, I felt bad about the outcome. I mean, I would have felt perfectly fine with kicking his ass out in the parking lot. But I felt some small measure of guilt that he was forever banned from the best gym in the area.

It was a very, very small measure, though.

At any rate, that experience changed the way I deal with conflicts that happen during basketball games. Rule number one? Escalation never solved the problem, it only makes things worse. Rule number two? Talk. Not scream or yell or cuss. Talk.

No, really.

So here's what happened this weekend. There's a pay-when-you-play pickup league near my house that plays on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. I've only ever gone once. It was a Wednesday night last fall. On that night, I got hit in the eye, my eye swelled up, and then I found out I had a tumor above the eye and had to have surgery. That's not why I never went back -- by the time I had recovered from surgery, my usual pickup league had started a new session -- but it didn't help.

Anyway, with my league out of session and my other basketball buddies unavailable, I decided to try the three-minutes-from-my-house league. I was the 10th guy -- and the only guy who wasn't a regular, by the way -- so we had five-on-five.

Here's the weird thing: Both teams played zone defense. Like, before the game, it was decided that both sides would play zone. I was, in fact, assigned my spot in the zone. I've played a little zone here and there, but zone defense is nearly nonexistent in pickup ball except in extreme circumstances (like if you're playing five-on-four or something).

Anyway, the opposing team had a fat guy at the base of their zone. They had him standing the the general area around the basket because (I presume) he wasn't very mobile.

Their zone was pretty soft and I was feeling pretty spry, so the first time I got the ball I drove hard to the rim. As I got there, the fat guy slid into me and I called the foul. Four or five possessions later, I drove once again, and the fat guy once again slid into me and committed the foul, only this time he screamed, "Goddamn it!" in irritation and kind of stomped around in a way that suggested he wasn't happy about the call.

Another half dozen or so possessions went by and I made another move to the cup. Only because I had been fouled on my previous two drives, I decided I should go a little stronger and try to finish through the contact I knew was going to come.

That fat guy and I collided pretty hard. He immediately yelled out "Foul!" by which he meant "offensive foul." He then adopted the age-old offensive-foul-calling strategy of stomping angrily in the other direction without pausing for debate.

Very calmly, I said, "Could you explain that call, please?"

Without turning around, he said, "Jesus Christ, you dropped the shoulder and rammed it right into my face!"

Again very calmly, I said, "You're my height. It would be impossible to drop my shoulder and hit your face."

Now he spun around, "Look, you put your shoulder into my face three times! This is a friendly pickup game and you're gonna hurt somebody! You know you did it, hell, you even called a foul on yourself last time!"

Still calm, I said, "No, I never called a foul on myself. I called it on you. That's why we retained possession."

"Fuck you," he said. "I'm telling you right now, you pull that shit again and I will fuck you up."

Now I walked right up to him. "Really?" I said. "You want to fight me?"

"Yeah, I fucking do," he yelled.

Very conversationally, I said, "Look, whatever you think happened, it happened by accident. I'm not a dirty player and I wasn't trying to hurt you. I think if you stop and think about it, you'll realize that. But you'd rather fight? You want to fight about it?"

"Yeah, I do," he said, "and I will fuck you up."

"Fine," I said, still in a conversational manner. "Then let's do that. I'm right here. I'm in perfect punching distance. If you want to fight, let's fight. You don't want to talk, so we won't talk. We'll fight."

The fat guy screamed, "You'd better get out of my face!"

"Why? You're the one threatening me. You're the one who wants to 'fuck me up.' You want to fight. Well, I'm giving you what you want. What are you going to do?"

Then he turned and walked away. Somebody else said, "C'mon guys, let's just play basketball."

On my team's next offensive possession, I lined up on the right side of the zone. The fat guy moved from the middle to my side. "I've got this side!" he screamed. I received the ball and drove right around him for an easy reverse layup (again, he was fat and slow). On the next possession, he gave me room and I drilled a three-pointer. I didn't score again, but my team went on to win the game. And winning goes a long way toward settling a lingering dispute.

Afterward, the fat guy was very quick to leave.

After he took off, I went up to the guys who were still there and said, "Hey, I hope everybody realizes I wasn't trying to hurt anybody."

"Yeah, yeah," one guy said, "we know that." Someone else spoke up and said, "I don't know what was wrong with [his name]. He's usually so chill."

Well, again, it all comes down to the perceived danger to self and sense of self. Not only was I challenging him physically, and challenging his masculinity, I was an outsider. Men are, by their nature, very territorial. This extends to pickup ball. Hey, when a new guy shows up to my regular league, I want to bust him. Not bust him up, but we like to give 'em their "rookie cookies," as my buddy Mister P says.

In the end, though, the fat guy didn't really want to fight me. I gave him every chance and he walked away. And that's how it usually goes, unless you run into a crazy psycho like the guy that attacked me at Lifetime Fitness (or unless you are that crazy psycho).

Is my somewhat revised method the "right" way to handle a conflict? I don't know. But it works for me, because it straddles the fine line between talking things out and not backing down when somebody tries to threaten you. It works for me.

Now, if the fat guy had punched me...

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74 Comments:
Blogger Leland said...
It's funny that you say most of the pick up ball you play is man to man defense.

In my area it's almost never man to man defense. everyone plays zone.

It's funny because I think the reason that they want to play zone verse man, is that they think they are "better" at zone defense, which they actually arent. They think that because they play zone they dont need to rotate, recover, and help and that they should stick to one small 4 foot diameter circle. and if the opponent scores from anywhere outside of the small circle it is never their fault. It frustrates me so much.

Zone defense is much harder to play effectively, and unless you haven't practiced it with a group and learned it, then it usually leads to a lot of easy buckets by the other team.

My biggest pet peeve of the 2-3 zone which everyone seems to insist on playing is the big man in the middle of the back row. Too many times has the big man on my team just sat under the basket. His responsibility is to control the paint, but he thinks that the restricted circle is his area. sadly the only times he touches the ball is when it falls through the net after the other team has scored.

i hate it

Blogger chris said...
Man, I wish the Matt McHale: Technical Writer Challenge existed, so that we could recreate The Baby Laimbeer At Lifetime Fitness Showdown!

Blogger BadDave said...
As a part of my job, I see college students that do things they shouldn't. Please don't slip on the drippings of irony that I'm now The Man that I once rebelled against.

At any rate, what people really need to know is that by participating in the fight, you instantly assume a great deal of civil and legal risk. Even if you didn't "start" it, a court may decide that you provoked the fight. If you cause a serious injury, it steps up the legal ramifications (states determine this, so consult your local laws). Simple assault is on your record, but would have limited repurcussions. Aggravated assault, assuming you're not actually in the NBA, leads to jail time.

In civil court, regardless of fault, you can get your pants sued off. I can't even begin to explain how that works well, but maybe our new resident lawyer AK Dave could chip in.

In short - go ahead and be tough. If you want a record, jail time, and a lawsuit, that is. Otherwise, just calm it down and punch the bag at home.

Blogger BadDave said...
Correction - law *student.* I don't want to misrepresent AK Dave in any way, nor get sued by him for 12 baby seals and a snowshovel.

Blogger Will said...
"I don't remember what I said in return"
Is this a personal first?

Anonymous Matt said...
He forgot his diary at home so he couldn't write everything down in the locker room.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
great post. Usually the guy looking for a fight is a dickhead anyway, why argue with him? I think sometimes we have to be the bigger man and walk away from the dickhead's retaliation.

Anonymous "Crazy" Psycho said...
I finally found you, you fucker! I will fuck you up for getting me kicked out of Lifetime!!!! I'll shove a 10 foot pole up your ass!!!

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
@Leland:

Pickup down here is mostly zone too. I don't know why since a good zone is actually much harder to play with 4 other complete strangers strangers than just covering your man as its success is entirely dependent on defensive help and rotations. Any team with a modicum of intelligence though can attack it very easily. I'm usually the big-man/tall guy and the first thing an opposing team usually does is place somebody in the high post to get me out of the paint, opening things up for cutters to get layups. The ball always moves faster than the defense too so if the team is willing to make more than 2 passes they will always get an open jumper. What I hate most though is that zone is a completely reactive type of defense. You are reacting to what the offense is doing, not forcing the offense to react to what you are doing.

I think the reason it's so popular has something to do with people not wanting to be embarrassed by somebody one on one and opting instead to spread the blame collectively for the potential loss.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"He forgot his diary at home so he couldn't write everything down in the locker room."

I'll admit I chuckled at this.

Blogger Dylan Murphy said...
I've never seen zone in pickup. Everyone who I play with wants to be the guy to shut the other team's best player down, or the guy who cannot be guarded one-on-one. Regardless, its a massive battle of egos, as all pickup is.

Anonymous JJ said...
I think people want to play zone because they don't want to get blamed or they feel lazy (most people think you don't have to run around as much in zone - you just stay in the "zone"). Funny thing is though, it seems like pick up players almost always play better 1v1 defense than zone, even if they're someone who wanted play zone. It's probably because they don't want to get singled out for bad defense. But, I think it's also because zone defense, as others have mentioned, is not easy to play with strangers (or even with not-so strangers). Any time you have to coordinate anything with others, it automatically becomes more difficult than when you just do it by yourself.

But, I think what really matters is this. In pick ups, defense (of any type) is just like rebounding. If everyone on your team thinks it's something they need to do, your team will usually win. If not, you probably won't win too many games.

Blogger Johnny said...
i love lifetime fitness, best gym around

Blogger Will said...
I have played zone in a pickup game on a few occasions. However, it was always with other people I knew and we played it in order to "practice" for an intramural league. We played this way because we are all unathletic. It did us no good, because we regularly got our asses handed to us in the league. And no, we wouldn't have done any better in man v man.

Blogger Drake said...
In the rare chances that I've gotten to play fullcourt ball (halfcourt 4-on-4 is what I usually play), I've played both zone and man-to-man. In a fullcourt game, man-to-man requires you to sprint back and cover your assignment, and it's a very specific task - you definitely blew it if your man gets an outlet pass and lays it in unopposed. Zone, on the other hand, means everybody sprints back to their assigned zones, and it's a lot easier to remember where you're supposed to go than it is to chase your man around the court.

So yes, pickup ball laziness has much to do with the prevalence of zone defenses.

But not only is zone-D good for lazy defenders who only want to think about playing in one spot, it's a good defense because nobody seems to know how to attack it. Hellshocked gives a good strategy of how to attack it - I admit I was a complete zone-D moron until I figure out that the high-post area (and the two areas between the center and the baseline defenders) will almost always be clear. But pickup ball being pickup ball, players will try to attack the zone via isolation one-on-one drives. And that never ends well.

On the other hand, just because a zone is inherently effective against the typical "iso" pickup ball offense doesn't mean that the defenders know what they're doing. Bad zone defenses begin and end with a lazy center who thinks his job is to be the last defense against drivers and to rebound the ball. This happens way too often. The center needs to be the eyes and mouth of the defense at all times, telling the rest of the defenders what's happening behind them. Actually, this goes for all defenders - to be truly effective, quick and effective communication between all defenders is a must.

The hardest part of zone-D, bar none, is rebounding. Since you're not assigned to anybody, you don't know who to box out. And what happens when you and another defender box out the same person, only for the rebound to go to an open player who casually lays it in? I don't really have an answer to the rebounding conundrum except to watch where the ball goes after it goes off the boards and grab it.

Blogger Leland said...
Yes, I agree that I think most people that I play with don't want to get embarrassed going one on one. However, it's stupid because as most pick up games are organized, the teams are divided up equally with talent. So the best players are going to have to match up.

Furthermore, when a team employs a zone defense that they have no idea how to correctly play, then they give the offense a huge advantage. Like you said, 2 or 3 quick passes and swinging the ball usually leads to an open jump shot, and most guys can knock 15 footers without a hand in their face. I'd rather make a guy work for his shot one on one than get beat by poor rotation and help from my shitty zone playing teammates.

It frustrates me to no end.

Also, i've played with guys, who when we faced a zone freakin everyone on my team stood behind the arc. I though mike brown was calling our plays for us. Of course this lead to hotly contested three point shots that were either short or long and let the other team enjoy multiple easy transition points. we lost that game badly.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Damn way to pwn that fatass. I enjoyed reading that whole thing

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
@Drake:

Rebounding in a zone can be a pain but theoretically it is no different from rebounding when playing man. A decent zone defense should be fluid, not just everyone standing in their spot. You should be near the player closest to your area at all times although not necessarily "on" him.

When a shot goes up you box out the guy nearest to you. Depending on how the offense was attacking your zone, this could sometimes be two guys. The key is to remember that your job isn't so much to secure the rebound as it is to make sure the other team doesn't get it. If everyone properly boxes out then the ball could even hit the floor and nobody on the opposing team should be able to get anywhere near it.

The problem you state is that, if you're a big man/tall guy (like me) you're used to coming down with most rebounds when you play man since the guy you are guarding is closest to the hoop. In a zone you won't always be closest so rebounding becomes less of an individual task and more of a team effort. It's quite likely that your job will be to box out the key rebounder/s from the other team so that your smaller guys can come up with it. We all know how well that tends to go over in pickup.

When playing with strangers I try to box my man out for a second just so he doesn't get in front of me and then do what you do: run after it and jump. Some games this works, other games it provides a ton of easy offensive rebounds.

@Laland:

A well played zone against a team that doesn't have a decent passer in the high post can be very effective because it leads to just that: a bunch of contested long-range jumpers. Zone makes it hard to drive off the dribble or to operate from the post, after all. In pickup though a decent passer in the high post consists of little more than a guy willing to face the hoop and give it to whoever runs toward it the quickest. It really doesn't take much skill. Then again, there's a reason most of us never played College ball, much less pro on any level.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
"In civil court, regardless of fault, you can get your pants sued off. I can't even begin to explain how that works well, but maybe our new resident lawyer AK Dave could chip in."

The difference is simple: in criminal court, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you assaulted a person. The definition of "beyond a reasonable doubt" is not very firm, but it means that the jurors must be somewhere between 95-100% sure that you are guilty, or else they are instructed to acquit. The burden of proof is very high for the State (prosecution) in criminal cases because, traditionally, the State has vast financial resources and and holds a lot of power over its citizens, and also because in criminal cases, a convicted person is labeled as a "criminal" or worse upon conviction (see: "felon", "rapist" or "murderer"), and faces jail time- a deprivation of freedom and a very harsh penalty.

In civil court, the stakes are "lower". That is, you can't be sent to jail, and you don't carry the stigma that a criminal conviction would stamp you with. In civil court, you are not "guilty", but rather, you are "liable". Therefore, the burden of proof is lower. Usually, a civil plaintiff (the person suing) must prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence that he was harmed by the defendant. That means that the jury must be at least 51% sure that the tort (crime/harm) was committed by the defendant. Much lower burden.

This is why O.J. got sued after he was acquitted in the criminal case: even though the criminal jury wasn't 99% sure that he killed his wife, another jury might be convinced 51% that he killed her, and therefore a verdict for the plaintiffs could be reached in a civil case even though the State could not meet its burden of proof in obtaining a criminal conviction.

That is the watered down version- I won't go on, and there are other things that other readers might bring up which vary or add to the explanation I lined out above, but essentially, criminal convictions carry harsher punishments and a higher burden of proof, civil liability carries mostly payment of money (damages) as punishment, and the burden of proof is lower.

In Matt's case, because there were multiple witnesses, video footage, etc., criminal assault/battery could have easily been tried and a conviction might have been reached. Even if provoked, the pause for consideration that Matt talks about prior to the attack from behind on a defenseless victim shows that the attacker recklessly or knowingly committed an act that would result in harm (and did).

If either party sued, it would probably end in a verdict for Matt and liability to the other party, but a jury might apply comparative negligence principles to show that, even though this guy hurt Matt, Matt instigated the attack by retaliating, and he knowingly engaged in an activity (pickup ball) that involves a high degree of risk of harm, so the damages (money) awarded to Matt would probably not be excessive.

This is where lawyers get their bad name, however, because Matt's attorney (if he's worth a crap) would try to show that he's been mentally scarred by the senseless attack which has left him traumatized and afraid, and resulted in nightmares, headaches, loss of sleep, anxiety, and fear of further attack. All of this has prevented Matt from playing basketball, a sport which he loves and to which he dedicates a significant part of his life playing and blogging about. The damage caused by Mini-Laimbeer is estimated in value at $15,456,890, not including attorneys fees and expenses... blah blah blah...


Sorry if this double-posts

Blogger Leland said...
I actually coach basketball and so it really frustrates me when my teammates don't rotate properly playing zone defense, and don't get in the correct spots on offense to move the ball quickly for easy buckets.

futhermore, i am definitely not the "coach" pick up player. I'm not out there telling guys we need to run a 1-3-1 offense against a 2-3 or 2-1-2 zone, but i do catch myself sometimes asking our big man to play the paint and move the ball, or go to the short corner.

also, does anyone else notice, that most pick up players try to play it "cool". Like the game doesn't matter to them too much, and they wanna make it look like they aren't trying and that they have a smooth style to their game. I hate these players. It's like they just signed a max deal and "they don't have to play hard because after all, it is just a game and we're all out here to work up a sweat and get a little workout in. No big deal if we lose, because i wasn't trying." I can't stand these guys because they are usually responsible for those game breaking momentum changes due to their lack off effort and hustle, whether it be not boxing out on a key rebound or carelessly throwing the ball away.

if they wanna work up a sweat and get a work out in, then go to the track and run around, or skip some jump rope. Don't come and play without any effort.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger Dan B. said...
AK Dave -- Don't worry about it, I think I cleaned up your double-post action. I can't really tell because my head is still spinning from trying to wrap my head around all of that legal stuff. I still can't believe I actually passed one class of business law back in college...

Blogger Will said...
AK Dave- THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON THE STATE! ON THE STATE!

Blogger Christopher Todd said...
Here in Hilo, Hawaii, it's almost exclusively zone - primarily because the level of competition means few people can knock down open jumpers. I also tend to play zone because three of the friends who play with me frequently are 6'3, 6'3, 6'6, which is extremely tall for Hawaii and makes it difficult to match up well.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Dan B: thanks man. Google was telling me the post was too long.

It was- sorry. That will teach you to ask something like that ever again, dude.

But BadDave's question is a good one, and it's the source of much confusion and ill-will towards our legal system.

I'm not saying it's good or bad, but in some ways, it makes sense to have it this way. (in other ways, it's flawed and encourages frivilous litigation)

Blogger Dan B. said...
"(in other ways, it's flawed and encourages frivilous litigation)"

It also encourages highly entertaining episodes of Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU which helped me get through many college afternoons. So that's a plus. However, it also inspired the dreadful, Scoopy-Doo-For-Grownups-style L&O: Criminal Intent, so we'll call it a push.

Blogger Will said...
"Scoopy-Doo-For-Grownups-style L&O: Criminal Intent"
I've seen an episode, but after this description, I kinda want to.

Blogger chris said...
However, it also inspired the dreadful, Scoopy-Doo-For-Grownups-style L&O: Criminal Intent, so we'll call it a push.

BUT BUT IT'S TARGETED FOR SOPHISTICATED ADULTS!

Sophisticated?

NBC thinks cheesy confrontation scenes at exactly 52 minutes in, preceded by the prosecutor whining to Goren and Eames that there's "not enough evidence" always at the 40 minute mark, is sophisticated?

Anonymous Matt said...
The best show for 'x happens at the 20 minute mark, y happens at the 35 minute mark, z happens at the 50 minute mark' was Love Boat.

Even when I was 10 years old, I figured that out.

Blogger BadDave said...
I actually kind of knew the civil deal, but I still don't know how a jury or court determines what constitutes liability. Heck, as a newcomer to the Commonwealth of PA, I learned that PA has partial responsibility - if a victim slips on MJ's mustache that fell off on the floor, a court may decide that MJ is only 40% responsible, and that Hanes is 40% responsible and the victim owns 20% responsibility.

Whatever.

The point is, nobody wins in a fight. PORKCHOP SANDWICH!

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Correction - law *student.* I don't want to misrepresent AK Dave in any way, nor get sued by him for 12 baby seals and a snowshovel.

Well, your culturally insensitive comments made in a public forum have caused me great embarrassment and emotional distress, leading to depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate at work, and bizarre rashes.

I estimate the value of my damages at $50 million, but I'm willing to settle out of court for nothing if you can all just agree to pretend that Sarah Palin doesn't exist.

Blogger Sorbo said...
Jesus Christ, Bawful, that choke move was ridiculous. There's a special place in hell for sucker puncers (or chokers, in your case). There's no man smaller than those that sucker punch or need to gang up on one guy. But I feel you, you can't help feel guilty for something that seems like suck a harsh punishment over something that really isn't that important (like a pick-up game). But at the same time, the guy is just sounds dangerous. Kicking his ass in the parking lot may have led to something worse from him. In my experience, once things get too out of control, having authorities come in and regulate is usually the best move. Let's everyone know that more than just pride is at stake, but jail time, legal action, etc.

The escalation thing in pick-up ball can be ridiculous. I remember once some guy pulling a gun after a game. A fucking gun! This was in Orange County, some guys were mixing it up on the court and this guy, I'll call him the Scorer, kept complaining about calls, then complaining about non-calls, then yelling at the other team, then looking to start a fight. At one point, he and someone from the other team got in each other's face, said the obilgatory "I'm going to kill you," before it was broken up and play continued. Then the Scorer lost the game and left in a cussing huff.

I was on the team that followed the Scorer's team on the same court. There's this 20-foot wide grass field between the parking lot and the courts. After about five minutes playing, I hear "Hey G--ks," (I was playing against men of Asian decent) "I've got your score right here." We turned to see the Scorer across the field, half out of his car holding a rifle (repeat: a fucking rifle!) over his head.

To make things worse, this is no small one-court park. There are nine full courts at this place, which are pretty much running 10 guys each from noon to sunset, and about 100 players and onlookers just started running. I mean running like wildmen to the nearest handball court, tennis court, car, whereever to hide.

The good thing is, he didn't shoot. He just got in his car and drove off. The best part though. After the car sped away, about 50 or more guys came back to play, as if gun pulling was just your typical Thursday night. One of my teammates left in fear, so we just picked up a fifth. The entire team that beat the Scorer just shrugged it off and kept playing. Awesome.

Anonymous Mc Ejnar said...
I just want to chip in, and say that i enjoy every one of your blogs entries very much, they are really well written and fun.

Props from Denmark - keep up the good job!

Blogger kingofkansascity said...
You forgot the most likely person to cause a fight. You also left them off your list of pickup ballers - the former state champion. This piece of work is the guy that was a decent player in high school (maybe he was even "the man" for his high school team). Sadly, he hasn't done jack in his life since that state title. Flunked out (or got kicked out) of college. A bunch of dead end jobs. But on the court, he still thinks he's "the MAN" and anyone who questions it (or can hold their own on the court with him) is just looking for a fight. I have crossed paths with this guy on several occassions. One gave me a black eye when he grabbed my face from behind after I picked his pocket and was headed in for a layup. These are the one and only players I hate playing with. Well, those and the "basketball retarded" - low basketball IQ.

Blogger HoopBlah said...
http://www.totalprosports.com/2010/07/26/9-of-the-worst-sports-stadiums-in-america/

Thought it might be interesting to have a "Most Bawful NBA Arenas" post

Anonymous Anonymous said...
hahahaha lifetime ball. i've played since i was a wee lad and have nicknames for all the douchey regulars. looks like it's the same everywhere

OpenID suckingfunglasses said...
first, i can't believe people are playing zone in pick-up games. i thought that was some sort of rumor about what really goes on in the suburbs. are your dads coaching these "pick-up" games too?

i did love the part about feeling like some loner, post-apocalyptic villain when you roll solo to a pick-up game. i've crashed a few games over the years (usually with a co-sign from someone loosely affiliated with the game) and it can get real interesting when the emotions run high.

i had the same isht happen with me this winter with some dude that thought guarding me was the perfect time to show his bruce bowen-like proclivity on the defensive end. bumping, pushing, and jostling are parts of the game; but dirty, old man, so-called "veteran" tricks are ONLY FOR OFFICIATED GAMES. those are moves you pull out when there's someone you are hiding them from (the ref). all you're making me do is one of two things: a) call fouls i have ZERO interest in calling, and/or b) lead me to get just as physical. i wanna play ball, not get sucked into this isht.

but when dude showed no interest in stopping after a few slaps to get him off me, i turned into an anthony mason-like beast. any chance i got i grabbed and held. if i went to the hole, i made contact first (i love jumping sideways into these fools). but like basketbawful pointed out, the best thing to do is bust j after j, grab each bound, and beat the other team. they usually shut the eff up at that point.

Blogger Jacob said...
For real, you sound like an idiot. Both of these stories kind of make you sound like a baby. He 'slid into you,' so you called a foul on two consecutive shots? Notice how they said 'he's usually so chill?' It's probably because you're an asshole who tattle-tales on people if they're mean to you.

Blogger abdullah said...
Where I play there Is always one fat guy playing zone and it leaves two people for me to defend. We prefer not to play zone but sometimes it just happens, especially against a faster, quicker team.

Anonymous ralphredimix said...
My stepdad tells me this story about his brother getting into a big argument with a brother on a court in Maryland and the dude goes to his car, comes back and knocks my step-uncle in the head with a MF'ing hammer in the middle of the next game!!!

Blogger illegaldefenses said...
Scrubs - those Backyard Bobs that have an elevated opinion of their skill - are at the center of 90% of pick-up basketball confrontations. Mixing testosterone and ego with a skewed sense of ability and ignorance of how to play the game is always an opportunity for trouble. Don't get me wrong, I am not a king of the court or amazing, but I have been well coached and played quality organized basketball. There are many others like this, (assuming they are not dicks), and know how to play physical, non-malicious, technical (according to ability) basketball. Most importantly, they know when they give and get basketball fouls, and when some jackass is escalating tension. This goes a long way in preventing conflict. (Those coached players who are dicks, though......)

Blogger B Treece said...
Dude, hilarious and so true. I don't want to start my own basketball blog, but I wonder if you'd consider receiving "pickup diaries" from another author? I've got some funny stories, too.

Britt
Raleigh, NC

Blogger B Treece said...
Sorry, my email is wbtreece@gmail.com.

Thanks!

Anonymous Tim said...
@ suckingfunglasses: no, it's no rumor. I played a lot of pickup ball, and I am from the suburbs, and it was almost always zone D. Was I unhappy about that? Not necessarily. I ran cross-country and track in high school, and I have never had a game where I was winded and someone else was still standing (with the exception of games with subs, obviously.) And I am hardly one to toot my horn over my level of (mediocre) skill. So take it for what it's worth.

Zone has it's upsides and downsides, but what was great for our little crew of regulars was that we DID know everyone's tendencies, so we knew how to attack them as well as play tight as a group when we had to. (Bear in mind, this came from literally YEARS of the same group of guys playing together.) For those of us who made our impact with our speed more than our skill set, we overcame our lack of ability with hustle and determination. It became a badge of honor for a few of us not only not to let any one particular guy score against us personally, but to put a lock on the entire opposing team. (Two guys swarming every opponent from outside the arc all the way in, and I mean EVERY single pass, and EVERY single rotation for an entire game, gets exhausting, but also creates havoc if the opponent isn't concentrating on HOW to defeat it.) So the guards (ususally myself and a certain friend of mine) would literally spend the game sprinting all over the place, leaving the rest of our teammates to mop up behind us. Usually there wasn't much, because a single slow or inaccurate pass would lead to the two of us blazing on a break the other way. (And as I mentioned, we could outrun almost anyone we played against.And if you add in that learned behavior of where your teammates will be on any given play, often to within 6 inches of where to find them, this becomes an advantage of often blowout proportions.)
The point about zone being tough to attack is well made, but any defense that is thrown at you that is organized and is played with effort is tough to attack, in my opinion. The key is finding the weak link on the other team, wheher it be zone or man D. If you exploit the weakest defender, it doesn't matter which style they throw at you.
We honestly had a LOT of fun when we would switch styles mid-game, just to eff around with the other guys. The looks were hilarious: if we went from man to zone, they got confused, because it bacame the equivalent (in their minds) of attacking a brick wall. If we went from zone to man, no fewer than two of the opponents would glaze over, basically cashing it in then, knowing they were now going to be afterthoughts for the game. A lot of teams (I've seen) switch D styles when they are getting killed early, thinking it will jump-start them on a comeback. Sometimes (hardly an "always" thing) it does, but switching it up when you have a lead just as often can have a completely devastating effect on the other team from a morale perspective, if you are effective at playing both styles. Like I said, it's a pride thing, and an obvious willingness to work. You can be bad at defense, but if you try hard enough, usually even if you are "bad" the results can be acceptable. (In other words, a "bad" defender may be a step behind, but if they are able to get a hand in somewhere, they may disrupt the play just enough. Think "deflected ball" instead of "steal in the passing lane" I guess.)
In the end, though, I don't think it matters what style of D you play, as long as you bring effort, hustle, hard work, and no fear. Get bloody? Fine. Get embarrassed, ankles broken, or dunked on? Fine. Next time down the court, just don't let it happen again. In the end, check the scoreboard. That's all that really matters anyway, right?

Anonymous Tim said...
@ suckingfunglasses: no, it's no rumor. I played a lot of pickup ball, and I am from the suburbs, and it was almost always zone D. Was I unhappy about that? Not necessarily. I ran cross-country and track in high school, and I have never had a game where I was winded and someone else was still standing (with the exception of games with subs, obviously.)

Zone has it's upsides and downsides, but what was great for our little crew of regulars was that we DID know everyone's tendencies, so we knew how to attack them as well as play tight as a group when we had to. (Bear in mind, this came from literally YEARS of the same group of guys playing together.) For those of us who made our living with our speed more than our skill set, we overcame our lack of ability with hustle and determination. It became a badge of honor for a few of us not only not to let any one particular guy score against us personally, but to put a lock on the entire opposing team. (Two guys swarming every opponent from outside the arc all the way in, and I mean EVERY single pass, and EVERY single rotation for an entire game, gets exhausting, but also creates havoc if the opponent isn't concentrating on HOW to defeat it.) So the guards (ususally myself and a certain friend of mine) would literally spend the game sprinting all over the place, leaving the rest of our teammates to mop up behind us. Usually there wasn't much, because a single slow or inaccurate pass would lead to the two of us blazing on a break the other way. (And as I mentioned, we could outrun almost anyone we played against.) The point about zone being tough to attack is well made, but any defense that is thrown at you that is organized and is played with effort is tough to attack, in my opinion. The key is finding the weak link on the other team, wheher it be zone or man D. If you exploit the weakest defender, it doesn't matter which style they throw at you.
We honestly had a LOT of fun when we would switch styles mid-game, just to eff around with the other guys. The looks were hilarious: if we went from man to zone, they got confused. If we went from zone to man, no fewer than two of the opponents would glaze over, basically cashing in then, knowing they were now going to be afterthoughts for the game. A lot of teams (I've seen) switch D styles when they are getting killed early, thinking it will jump-start them on a comeback. Sometimes it does, but switching it up when you have a lead just as often can have a completely devastating effect on the other team.
In the end, though, I don't think it matters what style you play, as long as you bring effort, hustle, hard work, and no fear. Get bloody? Fine. Get embarrassed and dunked on? Fine. Next time down the court, just don't let it happen again. In the end, check the scoreboard. That's all that really matters anyway.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You are an absolute chode you realize this right? Use your brains and stop getting in fights and proving your machismo.....have some fun, play hard, and show good sportmanship.
You and the other losers like you are the exact reason I have no interest in playing organized ball anymore.
3" cock I'm guessing?....no?? smaller??? Let me guess more...balding? slightly overweight? no girlfriend, or in an unhappy marriage?
Played on the football team in high school maybe but you were a bench warmer?...of course nobody gets cut from the team in hs.
You were also definitely in a frat. No question mark there....this I'm positive.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I got one more idea for you.
Instead of turning a bball game into a wrestling match try putting the rock in the freakin' hoop. Let your play speak for itself.
You want to give me a cheap shot?.....fine....corner 3...booyah....you want to check my wrist on a jump shot....next time...crossover and break their ankles..
You obviously have an overabundance of aggression..channel it into improving your skills.

Blogger Clifton said...
I know the conversation's drifted away from it a little, but going back to Law & Order, especially with Criminal Intent, don't forget the Mandatory Red Herring at about :29-:34 of each episode. You know, the guy all the evidence seems to be pointing at? Kinda skeevy, a little shifty-eyed? They have the little mini-confrontation, but you know it isn't him, because, hell, there's still like 20 minutes left in the episode.

The two older L&O's would, occasionally, fool you and have that guy wind up actually being THE guy, but Criminal Intent was never that intelligent. In fact, Mandatory Red Herring Guy almost always had a key piece of evidence or insight for the team.

Blogger chris said...
Clifton: I think of the "early arrest" action you see about 15 minutes in with the Mothership, where Green and Briscoe CLEARLY are violating Miranda rights, and you already know 9 times out of 10, That Is Not The Guy!

Somehow, that never was as formulaic as the hyper-predictable CI.

Anonymous j said...
i always had a hard time evaluating mr bawfuls game, but since every pick-up baller on this planet overestimates his own skills, i tend to believe that one who posts a pick-up diary ob his blog is no exception

Anonymous OneZero said...
the more I fought with one of my pick up buddies, the more we actually bond and know each other, so you know, just a thought

maybe similiar to Kobe-Barnes, but I dont think it happens that often

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@Sorbo
Was that mile square?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I hate playing zone in pickup or intramural games. The only time I've played it was a horrible experience. Our team decided that we would play zone to mitigate the other teams's height advantage, which was like 2 inches, barely. We were in the lower rung of our intramural level, not exactly a land of giants and lowpost beasts. But hey, our zone was going to confuse them and force them into bad shots. Where we went wrong was that we only guarded areas of areas. We put no pressure on anybody, not the ball handler, not the cutters, not the "big guys" inside wanting the ball. We made it very easy for them to lob it inside and shot point blank shots. It would have been harder to score against cardboard cutouts than against us. I still can't believe how stupid we were.

Anonymous griftertm said...
Yeah fights will sometimes erupt over a game. I used to play with my friends against other guys, and one of the rules we've adopted is "you rage, you lose". We keep our cool even if the other side's talking trash (extremely rare, but it has happened a couple of times); and win or lose, we keep our cool.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
And that was why I left basketball for running.

Anonymous SirGirthNasty said...
I haven't had a confrontation over a game actually lead to throwing punches in about 5 years. In between then, I've had probably 4-5 incidents where things got extremely heated but no one actually fought. I think as I've gotten older I've realized all the dick-showing that goes a long with hanging around a bunch of insecure men is kind of fucking lame. But that doesn't mean I can't get caught up in the tide of testosterone either. I like to think I'm pretty fair, and I can only think of one occasion where I went out of my way to try and piss someone off. I guess it does happen.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I agree with J, he talks about how in his teenage years he has no skill, no it moves on to being old and all of a sudden he sounds like he is Corliss Williamson :P

The power of crafting a story eh?

On the zone vs man debate, trust me, when you play games that count, you don't want your team playing man if two or 3 of the guys can't guard anyone. At least you can tell a zone to stay in front of their man, make them shoot jumpshots and everyone box out and rebound.

Anonymous BigBadCarter said...
My Kingdom for a copy of that tape bro!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
This thread is a hilarious mix of zone defence talk, law talk, and scrubs insulting BasketBawful. If I had known it would have turned out like this, I would have commented yesterday to follow all the action!

Anonymous Barry said...
This certainly seems to bring out some right twats, probably from the Ball Don't Lie comment section.

Fortunately there's also a lot of people with some great stories and anecdotes in here.

Blogger matt said...
guys, i just found a hilarious articled titled "timberwolves' david kahn deserves some credit (except for milicic)" and it's actually a serious praise article for kahn. unbelievable.

http://www.twincities.com/ci_15605050?source=most_viewed&nclick_check=1

that definitely has to be one of the most bawful things i've ever read.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
hmm...

5'8", built like a power lifter, always screaming, starting physical confrontations and injuring other players for no reason...

sounds like roid rage to me!

Blogger KNEE JERK NBA said...
Zone D in pickup ball? Unheard of. Calling lots of fouls, too.

Blogger Sorbo said...
@Anonymous - It was Mile Square. I lived about a block away from the place.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
This post reminded me of this one experience I had, where I regretted I didn't manage to at least threaten a fight.

During a game at our gym, my teammate was driving the baseline for a layup, and I was standing about 3-4 feet away from the baseline so that he had a clear path to the hoop (basically providing a screen preventing any help defenders from trying to intercept his drive). The guy on the other team who was guarding me, though, suddenly shoved me with both hands just as my friend was dribbling behind me so that I stumbled back and collided with him.

At first I didn't really grasp what happened, it was so unexpected. I've received hard fouls underneath the basket, on fast breaks, and so on, and I can see them coming, but prior to then I had never seen or experienced somebody actually shoving another player to interfere with a drive. I checked to see that my teammate wasn't hurt, then I turned back toward this little punk who had pushed me when he suddenly yelled, "that's not a screen, if somebody pushes you and you can't stand still, that's not a screen".

Now it totally threw me that he was actually acting all self-righteous, and it didn't help that I was kind of a beginner at basketball, so instead of calling his bullshit straight away I paused for just a moment, confused about whether what he had just said was true or not. That moment was enough for all the other players, none of whom had really seen what happened, to just start playing again, along with the guy who had shoved me.

By the time I realized what a d*** move he had pulled, the game was already back under way and I had such a bad taste in my mouth I left the game because I didn't trust myself not to injure this guy if given half a chance.

I guess the reason I'm still so pissed thinking about this is not just that this guy pushed me, it's that he had the audacity (and to be fair, the quick thinking) to throw me off by taking the verbal initiative after his foul, and on the flip side, that I allowed myself to be sucked into his frame, if only for a moment.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
if someone can grab your arm while you're shooting, it's called good D. you're not supposed to shoot with someone that close to you.

if you're getting elbowed in the face, it means you're too close to someone. back off or get your hands up.

if you're getting shoved in the back, you're not boxing out right. if you're getting shoved on screens, you're not setting screens right.

if you jump sideways to initiate contact while driving, you're the dirty player and a danger to everyone playing. if you have to jump over someone or run them over to make a lay up, you're not supposed to be taking that lay up. if you get run over by someone taking a lay up, you're in the wrong place.

between you and the fat guy, who's doing it wrong? you both are. you're not supposed to hit him and he's not supposed to get hit. between the guy getting shoved on the screen and the guy shoving him, who's doing it wrong? both of you. you're not supposed to let yourself get shoved, and he's not supposed to take advantage of you for not being ready.

get your hands up. watch your back. protect yourself. otherwise someone is going to take advantage of you. you have to take responsibility for your own safety. some people are just assholes, some people don't know how to play. it's on you to not get hurt.

to the guy who hates players that play it cool and have a smooth style, you're supposed to have a smooth style. if you're doing it right, it's supposed to look easy. when you take a jumpshot, does it look like you're throwing the ball as hard as you can? no it's supposed to look like you're not trying. that's how you play the game. if you're playing violently and as hard as you can all the time, you'll probably win more games. you'll probably get hurt too and you'll probably hurt someone else along the way. but if you come across someone who knows how to play better, he'll move out of the way when you make some crazy move to initiate contact and you'll probably get hurt. if you come across someone stronger who plays more violently, you'll slam into each other and you're going to get hurt. and then when you're old and pissed off and have trouble walking, then you can look back and say it was all worth it to win those games that got you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

it's no big deal if you lose, you just play another game. it's no big deal if you win, you play another game. it's a big deal if you get hurt, because then you can't play anymore. it's an easy game, have fun with it.

Blogger Promoman said...
I don't agree with fighting but you do have to be prepared to let it be known that you're not going to take shit to the point of having to defend yourself. I've played in games where guys get completely out of bounds (punching, 2 handed pushes, Ric Flair chops, etc.) in addition to the normal stupidity that occurs in pickup game, and need a boot in the ass.

Blogger Cortez said...
@Anonymous: 7/27/2010 9:32 PM

I'm truly amazed.

That was either one of the most absolutely dumbest or smartest comments I've ever read on this site.

Anonymous griftertm said...
@cortez:

I vote dumbest. He wouldn't know a good basketball play if it came at him with a chainsaw.

Anonymous Gabe said...
Lol the way you handle that second confrontation was masterful. 1st off, if the fat guy punches you while you're being completely calm about it, everyone will think he's a total douche and will shun him. And 2nd off, talking to him calm makes you look like a total badass, almost like a stone-cold killer. The yelling just shows fear and machismo, and guys don't back down while yelled at cuz it turns on their aggression. But the way you talked to him, there's no upside to punching you now. He'd look like a total douche, and also he's probably more afraid of you now that you're not yelling, cuz you could be one of those controlled, stone-cold killer types. Very well done. If I get in that situation I would try to handle it the same way.

Anonymous Patrick said...
"As someone who grew up in a neighborhood where fighting was the rule rather than the exception, let me tell you that fights don't "almost" happen. They either do or they don't."

One paragraph later:

"Why do I bring all this up? Because I almost got into a fight this weekend."

Hehe.

Anonymous Patrick said...
By the way, I meant that last comment good-naturedly. I really enjoy this blog.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm with Leland, I hate playing with guys who think it's uncool to make any kind of effort. It just makes for a bad game. I wish these people would just go play volleyball or use the treadmill. Then they usually have the nerve to complain that YOU are trying too hard, it's just pickup ball...

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