Monday, July 19, 2004

Byron Scott

I've never been a gifted athlete. I wasn't blessed with the ability to run incredibly fast or throw harder than other people, but what I've I always enjoyed doing was to jump. Any type of jumping, it really doesn't matter. Whether it is a small hop, or a leap from a sidewalk to the street, jumping has always been great fun for me.

I lived on a farm when I was in the 10th grade. It wasn't like we were farmers or anything though; we were just renting out a relatively big farmhouse that allowed each member of my family to have their own bedroom. One of the best features of this farm though, was the large hay barn. It had long since abandoned this role, as most of the land in that area was for growing tobacco. So it was left, except for one thing. The 9-foot tall basketball hoop.

I lost entire days playing basketball in that barn. I learned each of the little corners and all of the places that you could put up trick shots from.

"Stand behind the pole, bounce it off the rafter, no rim."

I found all of the dead spots in the floor where I knew the ball would thud off of the ground, so I could swoop in for the steal when playing against someone.

But games of "one on one" were not what that barn was all about. Oh, no. When you put a rim up at that height you're only looking for one thing. White kid slam-dunk competitions.

That's right ladies and gents. If you would have been living in Cambridge, Wisconsin in 1990 you could have witness what became one of the greatest spectacles of modern times. You could have witnessed a group of eight 15 and 16 year olds exhibiting their miniscule vertical leaps. It would have been a standing room only audience. Basically because there was nowhere to sit in "the barn," but you get the point.

We did it up like it was a professional event. If your definition of professional involves 10 white kids in shorts in a barn, then it was professional in that sense.

We got a Pepsi banner from one of the "competitors" workplaces and tacked it up to the walls.

Ok, to be honest there were two reasons that we got the banner. The first one was so it looked like it was an actual sponsored competition. The other was so that it could cover one of the holes in the wall. It was February and it was Wisconsin, so anything that could cut down on the wind that would be whipping through the barn was a good thing.

We even got a camera crew together. I took my parents camcorder and a few of the shorter guys, who couldn't "throw down" like the rest of us, were put on filming duty. (Poor Greg and Mike.)

Then it was on to the competition. Each person took on their own basketball player persona that they would be emulating. Or in the case of Trevor, he took the guy who was able to do it all, Bo Jackson.

Once the names were picked and we went through the "pregame introductions" we started to show off. Each dunk was a chance for each of us to show off our 10 to 12 inch vertical leaps in all of their glory.

One-handed tomahawks, trick dunks off the backboard, reverse dunks and windmills too. We did them all. All the while, the "commentators" scored us and kept the competition lively. Eventually it ended in the last round ended with a battle of attrition. One player missed all of his dunks, while the other did a bland "one-handed stuffa." (If you can hear Jack Ramsey saying that in your head, it sounds much better.)

Sadly, I was the one who won. I have the whole event on tape and every few years I'll throw it in for a laugh. For some strange reason I've noticed a flaw in the contest. I only did three different dunks throughout the entire day, and yet my "scores" kept going up. I actually feel bad about winning the contest, isn't that odd?

15 years later and I don't really know any of those guys anymore. I've talked to a few of them in the past 5 years, but none of us are close. It's corny, but if there were ever something I could give to each of them, it would be a copy of that tape because I can't think of a better day that I had with that group of my friends.

I'd want them to remember that on one cold February afternoon, we all got together and had a great time.

That and the fact that I beat them all. They should remember that too.


Post a Comment

<< Home