Friday, October 26, 2007

For a million years I’ve wanted to blog about Ariel and Kelly’s wedding…. And the ABC…. And now I want to blog about Jenny and Alvin’s wedding…..

I will capture what’s on the tip of the tongue of my mind.

Ariel and Kelly’s Wedding
The brothers. Eric, Ariel, and Alex. Huge and hulking. The manliest men of maledom. Brothers. There was just something about the dispensation of baseball bats and the best man speech and just seeing those 3 in the same room. It must have been the aura of years of challenges and struggles and memories I was experiencing when I watched them interact. Brothers. I always wanted brothers. Isaiah. Ethan. Owen. I might as well have been standing in the future. I hope Isaiah and Owen can be there for Ethan when he’s married. There was just something about the three brothers.
The trolley ride. Who rides around town in a motor driven trolley? Ridiculous. Awesome. That was so fun. I remember the sun warming the arms of the people sitting on the outside seats.
The spilt drink.
Chris Lum & The Tragedy. Oh dang.
Pre-Wedding Adoration. Awesome.


ABC
Training. On October 22nd, 2006 I started training for the ABC. Running and lifting. Becoming acquainted with pain. Learning more about suffering. Just like I dedicated miles and miles to my friends, their children, and their relationships, I dedicated miles and miles and miles specifically to the ABC. Why? Because it’s great to have something matter. You do pick your battles. And even if some people aren’t picking the same battles you are. It’s great to care about something. It’s great to pour yourself into something. And it’s great to know that no matter the outcome, for an extended period of time, you cared deeply. You loved intensely. I choose the Classics because they are microcosms of my own personal emotional and mental make-up. I love my friends dearly. My friends are at the Classics. I love competition. Competition is at the Classics. What’s not to love?
Bling it. “Were you serious about the bling?” Gary C asked me this a few days before the Classic. I was beside myself. I think I sent out an email every day to many people leading up to the ABC. Stressing how important bling was. It was awesome. People came through. G went all out. *If you’re ever not sure if you should go all out when it comes to dressing up silly and costumes. Just go all out. It’s always just better.

We had a bling making party/ Filipino-Chinese sweatshop ring the Wednesday before. There’s just great satisfaction that comes in blinging out every day items and cloth. I can see now why the celebrities do it. It’s fun.
The food. Always, always spread out responsibility for food. That’s what I’ve learned. Everyone wins. People feel they’ve contributed to the whole, and the whole gets to eat great food. Always need fresh cold fruit. Props to Lorie and Ryan.
Pimp cup. So there we were. September 22, 2007. It was an absolutely beautiful day. Perfect weather. Sun shining. If Alvin’s basketball rim could talk, it would tell long slow tales of incredible battles. It would speak as if it were a wise old man with wrinkles and a raspy drawl. I spent time in the morning trying to get the net to hang correctly from the rim. I used rubber bands. I stopped by Meijer’s to get the plastic attachment to the rim to hang the net from. Nothing worked. In the end, the attachments didn’t fit and the rubberbands broke. After fumbling with it for a while it occurred to me that in all my times playing on this rim, I can’t recall clearly once when the net hung correctly. This wouldn’t be Alvin’s court if the net was perfect. So it wasn’t perfect, but really it was.
When Alvin pulled his teammate out from the blinged ABC beanie, he was excited. And the rest of the field was worried. He pulled Oliver Galvez. Of everyone at the tournament, there was no-one I feared most. Unlike the rest of us, Oliver had been balling twice a week with high schoolers. Serious high schoolers too. There’s really no better preparation than participation. If you don’t participate in battle, then you won’t be prepared for it. Oliver was prepared. I was scared. Scared of Darkolicious. That’s what Alvin and Oliver named their team. The other teams played out like:

Darkolicious – Alvin & Oliver
Murder Inc. – Felipe & Paolo
Jedi Masters – Chris & Ariel
DJG – J & G
B & E Day Care – Brian & Eric

Fantasy Moment
Darkolicious
Pros: Chemistry, B-ball IQ, Homecourt advantage, OG quickness & strength
Cons: Legs, maybe.

Murder Inc.
Pros: Felipe large down low, Paolo’s outside shot, Felipe’s outside shot
Cons: Handles, legs

Jedi Masters
Pros: Strength, Power, Rebounding, Ariel’s Will, Chris’ Jumper, Defense
Cons: Handles, passing
DJG
Pros: J’s Hustle, G’s Will, G’s Lowpost
Cons: Legs, Height

B & E Day Care
Pros: IQ, Eric’s Jumper, Brian’s Baby Hook
Cons: Height, legs, maybe.

The first game was Jedi Masters vs. B & E Day Care.
I honestly don’t know how we won this game. The Jedi Masters were just absolute physical specimens. They were huge and fast. The only thing I can think of is that maybe we moved a little better without the ball and maybe my jumper was falling. I have no idea. We won 11-7 and looking at it now, I’m not sure how we did that. What I do remember is that Brian was having a very difficult time with Ariel down low. Ariel is so big and so coordinated down low. Brian used a lot of his energy on that first game and I remember us having to put together a fatigue communication system. We would hold up the amount of fingers to tell the other where we were at fatigue wise. One finger was “I’m okay, I’m good to go.” Four fingers was, “I’m about to keel over and die.” This tiny non-verbal communication method was incredibly useful later in the tournament. The management of fatigue and it’s ebb and flow based on intensity and emotion was such an interesting thing to be constantly aware of throughout the duration of a game. Basically, who ever was tired wouldn’t play down low. Especially if you’re playing Ariel. Boxing out and vying for low-post position. It’s not as difficult if you’re getting the ball where you want it. But, if you’ve finally established position and you don’t get the ball because the person passing the ball to you doesn’t have the confidence that their pass won’t be stolen, that is so much more draining. I mean, you’re fighting and fighting for position and you don’t get the ball because the guard passing you the ball is scared. That is very difficult to deal with physically and mentally. Many a power forward I’ve seen before me has hung their head in frustration because I couldn’t reward their hard work with a simple inlet pass. So I wasn’t surprised that Brian was tired. But in my defense, I had Chris on me. Chris’ physical build was designed to stop me from doing anything I want to do on the court. Like inlet pass. But we survived, Brian played less down low, when I saw 3 or 4 fingers I took over and ran around more, when I saw 1 or 2 fingers, I tried to get him the ball in places he liked. The Masters were relegated to the Losers bracket and we moved forward to play DJG. I still don’t know why they called themselves that.
Darkolicious played Murder Inc. next. The fear was confirmed about Oliver. His jumper was still sick. His quickness off the dribble was explosive. And he was finishing at the rim like we all knew he could. That stuff we knew. What was a little more disconcerting was Alvin. He was wearing his blinged glove, socks, beanie, glasses, rings, shirt. And he was starting to shine. It was just a passing thought when I was watching him play that first game. “Hmm… Alvin’s playing well today… home court advantage haha….”
But Murder Inc. put up a fight and ended up losing 11-8.
Since the bracket gods deemed B & E Day Care should not have a bye in the first round, we were up again. We were playing a fresh DJG team. When playing J & G, you know you’re gonna get a few things. You’re gonna get a lot of hustle and intensity. You’re gonna get a few layups by J that you swear shouldn’t fall. You’re gonna get G trying to abuse anyone in the post on him. G’s funny that way, basically his low post game is so polished and effective, he’s likely to have success against anybody defending him. But he’s got the build for a successful point guard so he usually has smaller guards playing him. Therefore he almost always draws a mismatch in the post. It’s actually kind of like Billups or any other point guard with a sweet low post game. They’re just anomalies. J boxes and hustles like a man possessed. These strengths along with this being their first game along with their will to win made DJG formidable. Here’s the thing though. If G goes to his low post game, J can’t be down there or it’s too easy to double team G. So if J floats the perimeter, his game really isn’t stop and pop. Also, if G kicks out to J, I’m gonna be flailing and waving my arms fronting G to dissuade J from making the difficult inlet pass. If he wants, he can try and lob it, but historically that’s a very difficult pass. The key was G’s low post game. Handle that and you’re halfway home. I remember playing for a long time and the score being like 1-0. I remember trying to take advantage of Brian’s size. There’s something that never quite works out when you’re trying to force a blatant advantage. You really don’t want to force anything. Stick with your strengths rather than force a mismatch. We ended up winning 11-8. But J and G’s willpower took a lot out of us.
Jedi Masters played Murder Inc. next in the Losers bracket. Win or go home. Flip’s smoking may have caught up with him. Paolo’s bling mask and shirt that reminded me of a Chippendale’s Zorro Luchador may have affected his skillz. He played in that mask and shirt and it’s possible Ariel and Chris willed themselves to a win based on the fact that they refused to lose to a chimney and a Chippendale’s Zorro Nacho. Jedi Masters won 11-4.
Next came the inevitable. Darkolicious vs. B & E Day Care. Somewhere in my mind, I was like, “What? Did you think the thing would be handed to you? This is what you trained for. Of course it’s gonna hurt. Go get it.”
Something was wrong though. Something was just off. The energy wasn’t right. I just remember not having answers. Oliver was too fast. We underestimated how on Alvin was. He was lights out. He was hitting all his jumpers and when he went to the basket his jewel encrusted lefty finger rolls were all falling. At one point he blew by me and I thought I pushed him too deep under the basket to make a play. He flicked up his lefty, the ball hit the bottom of the rim with so much English and spin that it crawled up, hit the backboard and dropped in. It was so frustrating for him to pick today to play out of his brains. Maybe we could handle Oliver’s strength, jumping ability, shooting ability, quickness, and overall basketball IQ. But that combined with Alvin hitting every kick out and driving and finishing, we couldn’t hang. We were tired and slow. They had chemistry and poise. We had nothing. We lost to Darkolicious (11-7). The score wasn’t even really that close. I think they won with Al hitting a jumper in front of me. All that work, all that training meant nothing in an instant. We had lost.

When I lost in this double elimination tournament that I cared about, I was very mentally crushed. All these emotions went on inside of me. It’s the feeling of helplessness, like there was nothing I could do to alter the outcome. But there were still games to play. We weren’t out of it yet. But looking at the bracket, it’s not looking good. Doom and doubt were pushing me down. If the Jedi Masters beat DJG than Brian will have to face Ariel again. And even if we do get past Ariel, than Brian’s gonna be absolutely spent when we play Darkolicious after that. And we’d have to beat them twice. This is really not looking good.

(sigh)

Okay. Well. Jedi Master are playing DJG next. We gotta push on. After losing to Darkolicious I asked Brian, “What did we learn?” I learned a few things playing Oliver and Alvin. The most important was that I wasn’t tired enough. I wasn’t hurting enough at the end. Training taught me where I should be when I really exert effort. I wasn’t there. I was at this other place. This place of trying but not pouring my whole self into it. It’s a deceptive place because you’re sweating and moving and dancing the dance, but you’re not really all there. You’re only there enough to say you’re there. And the results reflected that for me. I learned that if I get the chance to play Darkolicious again. I’m going to be all there. That means that at the end, I’m going to be in a lot of pain and anguish. It’s gonna hurt a lot. But after the hurt goes away, no matter what happens, at least I’ll be proud that I pushed myself. In basketball terms, that means very high defensive intensity, rebounding, and constant movement on offense. Win or lose, I’m not leaving this court fresh and wishing I had exerted more effort. That’s the main lesson that I learned. That segued in to the next lesson I learned. If Darkolicious beats us again. It’s gonna be because Oliver scored all their points. Cuz I’m not letting Al touch the ball much less blow by me or get an open shot. Those were the lessons. Now we just need to get back to playing with them.

When Ariel and Chris muscle and rebound their way past J and G, we can only hope that Ariel’s so tired that when we play them he won’t have anything left. But….
Halfway through the game and G and J were holding their own. Brian and I were too busy talking strategy and resting to really notice what was transpiring. In the end, I can only believe that Gary’s low post game was dominant and when he kicked out, J hit some open shots. It’s even possible that he didn’t kick out and J crashed boards. DJG shocked me by eliminating the Jedi Masters from the ABC 11-7. Two things gave me a glimmer of hope that we still might have a chance. One was that Brian would not have to contend with Ariel anymore. Two was that when the game finished both teams looked absolutely spent. G and J are the most prolific sweaters you have ever seen. No matter how much their faces might be smiling and their bodies might look fresh, the size of the puddle of sweat they stand in afterwards tells a story of tiredness and fatigue. I mean the body can only sweat so much before shutting down. These two things gave me hope. Me and hope are friends. Me and hope get along. I know hope. It was good to see my friend again.

DJG had to play B&E Day Care immediately after their slugfest with Jedi Masters. It was like some twisted Diggstown re-enactment. Except basically Honey Roy Palmer just beat Tyson and had to fight the Klitschko brothers next. DJG would have to beat us and then beat Darkolicious twice to finish this tournament. We had just rested and were on a mission to get back to play Darkolicious. I felt that physically and mentally we had the upper hand.

What I haven’t really touched on so far is Brian. The B in B&E Day Care. A long time ago Brian told me, “You’re in a whole new fishbowl now.” That was after I had explained to him that in high school I was not one of the better basketball players. That is, in my fishbowl before college I perceived myself to be a certain type. But now that I’m in a new fishbowl, I could be any type. Anything could happen. I really took the “whole new fishbowl” statement to heart and all through college I felt I could reinvent myself depending on how hard I worked and where life led me. Brian won a lifetime achievement award in college. So did his wife, Tricia. When one person gets awarded a lifetime achievement award at the age of 22, that’s impressive. When two people like this get married, that’s called a kick ass couple. All of this comes into play when you’re talking about Brian and his basketball aura. Brian has a very high basketball IQ. More than that, he knows how to win. This along with above average Filipino height, above average shoulder width, an outside shot as well as a post up game, and you’re talking about a great partner to have in a 2 on 2 Filipino basketball tournament. But that doesn’t really capture Brian as a basketball player. The best statement that does was, “I’m not going home and telling Tricia that I lost this basketball tournament.”

In my head, I was like, “Brian, I don’t want you to go home and tell her that either.”

When the game with DJG started, I was basically a man possessed. They were tired and I knew it. We beat them the first game. No letting up now. Brian and I had a resolve that we needed to get back to play Darkolicious again. I turned in my best defensive effort against Gary and his wily low post game. No letting him get the ball in places he liked. No allowing him to dribble uncontested. Constantly poking the ball away from different angles. No getting comfortable. We didn’t have to force Brian’s low post game this time. It just came. The familiar post up, ball fake right, baby-hook. If you were taller than him and could jump much higher, maybe you could have a chance at stopping it. Really that mini-game is won once he has position. Because you’re not stopping the baby-hook. Defense was on all cylinders and offense was clicking. Mix in fatigue and DJG was looking more like JG because… haha.

B&E Day Care rolled to an 11-4 win. It was tiring, but we were still fresh. Ones and twos fatigue levels from me and Brian all game. We could make a run in the finals.

It was B&E Day Care and Darkolicious in the Finals. By beating us earlier the groom made it again to his own finals. Historically, the groom always makes it to the finals and loses. As far as I was concerned it was gonna happen again. I’m sure that Alvin had different ideas. I sensed that I was in the midst of something very special to me. Win or lose, I wanted to cherish the feel, the day, the moment. To be honest, I put a lot of work into the whole day to make sure the bling was there, and the kids had stuff to play with, and I tried so hard to make sure that it would be fun. I even made Kelly supply me with encouraging words that this would be a fun day that Alvin would remember. I also trained for a very long time to ward off the effects of fatigue enough to get to this moment. So to have the honor of playing the groom in potentially the last game was not something I was shy about accepting. I was wholeheartedly appreciative of this moment and I truly feel like I earned it. There are so many times in my life where I don’t feel grateful or appreciative. There are so many times where no matter how much I’ve invested I feel like I still don’t deserve the abundance of blessings. So to have worked hard and to have felt an actual sense of pride in my work was just….

Deep breath in…. slow exhale…. Perfect.

Brain tingling euphoric perfect. Perfect pictures. Perfect sunshine, perfect children playing, perfect Michigan game starting soon, perfect people watching, perfect bling, perfect food.
Perfect fiancée. Perfect wife.

Perfect.

I sensed I was in the midst of a special moment and regardless of the outcome I was hoping Al was feeling it too. I sensed he was.

When I came back to earth I focused more on what I wasn’t sensing from Alvin or Oliver. I wasn’t sensing fear or nervousness. Why would they be nervous? They were in the same situation we were in one game before. ‘The other team was coming off a game. They would be tired and we would be rested. It was a team we’ve beaten before, so we know we could do it again.’ I can’t imagine they were doubting whether or not they could finish this thing. They smelled blood in the water the same way I smelled blood when I saw how hard J and G were sweating after their game with Ariel and Chris. The last thing I remember thinking before we started the game was that if we were gonna have any chance at this, it would have to be a track meet, not a basketball game. In the end, I needed Oliver’s smoking to catch up with him and my legs to outlast Al’s. Not only would the defense just be stifling, I would make Alvin work very very hard just to get the inbounds pass. The dimensions of the court were fairly small. I found that if I pivoted correctly, I could cover a large area in front and behind me with minimal amount of energy. But it would still require Al to run quite a bit especially from side to side to get a chance at a good inbounds pass. This worked early on in that I think it sent a message. The message was, “I’m going to be incredibly annoying. I’m going to do things that all guards hate. If you’re going to win, you’re going to win despite being extremely annoyed with me.”
But this type of defense has it’s risks. Inherently, if you’re overplaying the pass, you are far more susceptible to getting beat back door. This was happening. Al would fake ball, go back door, and Oliver would pinpoint a pass for an easy lay-up. I had to concede these points in that I had to know that even though this happened occasionally, Al was still using a lot of energy to set up and complete this maneuver. The finals was to fifteen win by two, I had to just hope that Al’s and Oliver’s legs would play a role at some point. Offensively, Brian on Alvin in the post was a blatant mismatch. Baby-hook did some damage.
With all these things going on in the games within the game, there was still one glaring truth. Al was still lights out. He was still finishing at the rim and he was still hitting his jumpers with me on him. The only difference was that he was scoring at a slower rate. Whenever he touched the ball he basically scored. I had to try and not let him touch the ball. Little by little, I think our annoying defense started to work. An occasional missed shot here, an ill advised shot there, and we had something going. My jumper was falling. When my jumper falls, people work harder to get in my face, and dribble drives open up. I take defensive attention and that opens up Brian’s game. Brian wanted it so bad. He was serious and focused. He hits his outside shot and works his post game and we are very difficult to beat. He did his job and I did mine and the game started to open up. At one point I think we were up by four or five in the game to fifteen. Talking in passing afterwards, Al mentioned that they thought they should save their strength for the last game. We slowly pulled away and won 15-8.

Almost there. One more game. Come on. You can do this. Finish strong. All the way to the end. Tough D.

Finish. Finish. Finish.

Deep breath… slow exhale… Perfect. The final game. I’m not gonna play NBA. I might never play organized ball again. For me, for my life, for right now, this is my game 7.

We all wanted it so bad. It showed in our faces and our defense. It’s good that this was an outdoor game or I would been called reaching on Al or called for sticking a forearm in his back. I was harassing to the point that Al had to clarify that it was unfair to not give space to inbound to Oliver. He was right, that’s stupid grade school stuff, smothering the inbounder. But I forgot outdoor unspoken rule etiquette. I must have been really intense, I usually never forget that kind of stuff. But I did, and the tone was set all 4 of us were gonna do whatever it takes. I came to a crossroads early in that last game. Fighting for a rebound, I came down awkward on someone’s foot and my ankle turned. For a split second, I thought, “This is it. This is my out. My excuse. Everyone would know I turned my ankle and that’s why we lost, but otherwise we might have won. No one would think any less of me.”
I got so angry with myself for thinking that. I can’t believe thoughts like that even exist in me. But they do. Out of men’s hearts and minds come the worst things and the worst thoughts come from me. After a short respite that I think everyone was taking advantage of, my ankle sprain was only mild and I could still play. No matter what happens that won’t be my excuse. It was grind it out basketball. The score was very close. 1-1. 3-4. 6-5. At this point I started to notice the crowd. People say that when they’re in the middle of intense games, they shut out everything. They can’t hear the cheers or the boos. I’m hardly ever in intense game situations, but when I am, I love to listen to the crowd. Probably because I love being in the crowd and cheering. I’m an exceptional cheerer. If I know you, and you’re in the midst of battle, I can be incredibly encouraging. I can cheer and cheer and shout encouragement forever and ever. I just love it. So I listened to the crowd and I heard, “Go babe!” from Annalisa. Followed by a, “Go babe!” from Jenny. Haha. That was funny. Especially followed by a “Go babe!” from Ryan. Ryan’s the same way, he’s so good at cheering and encouraging. If he’s on your team, he’s SO on your team. I love that. I felt energized and confident. There are moments on the court when I feel especially unstoppable. Unconsciously it just happens. I’ll grab a defensive rebound and because of the situation I know my free throw line jumper is coming. I’m a step ahead because of the transition, but before I shoot this, I want to look straight in your eyes before I do. I wanna see the whites. So I hesitate that extra half second. I want to know that you know that there’s nothing you can do about what’s about to happen. Then it does. Whites. Elevate. Bottom of the net.

‘Don’t do it Eric. It never helps. If anything it just pisses off the other team if they see you do it. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Just keep playing. Stay focused. Don’t!’

But I did it. I smirked. I smirked outwardly and inwardly. Every once in a while it just gets the best of me. It’s so damaging to my game. Some people can handle it. Some people can’t compete without it. “It” is everything I don’t want to stand for. “It” is Lack of Humility. In that moment, that smirk meant I lost humility, and I can’t tell you how many games I’ve lost based on that fact alone.

I can handle it if you beat me because you’re better. I can’t handle it if I lose because I lost control of myself.

Internally the game shifted and was slipping away from me. Externally, that jumper made it 6-5 I think.

And on it went. Alvin was still burying shots. Oliver was still getting a step and elevating. I was trying to take advantage of my legs. Brian was trying to create mismatches and post.

I remember another milestone at 9-7. We had just gone up 2 on a shot Brian hit I think. At that point, neither team had had a two point lead. I thought, this is it. Just like last game, we’re gonna pull away. I let up mentally and blinked. In that blink, Al hit a jumper, we miss a shot, lose the rebound, and Oliver ties it. 9-9 in a blink.

Now it’s first to six win by 2. It was a dog fight. In my mind, Al had taken over this game. He was unstoppable. Every floating jumper, every long range shot, every drive to the basket was falling. We were scratching and clawing. I love to go up for a jumper, sneak and grab my own rebound for a bunny. Al was taking this away from me by boxing me out wherever I was. I hate that. This was the end of the third game in a row and Brian’s showing 3’s and 4’s fatigue levels.

12-12. Gotta dig deep. Everyone’s bearing down. The crowd is much more interested. I think Al took off his bling beanie, glasses, ring, and glove by now. Not sure. But we’re all in pain and working hard.

By now, offensively and defensively, the four of us are almost in a tired choreographed dance. Brian holds the ball up top, Al let’s me get the ball on left side, I dribble to the right and use Brian almost as a double pick on Al and Oliver. If I get an opening I elevate, if Oliver overplays I drive. If we score or not, Alvin then inbounds to Oliver, Oliver drives and draws both of us. Alvin hits a jumper from somewhere. I say somewhere cuz it could’ve been anywhere. The corners, the baseline, the street, the neighbors yard. It didn’t matter. I knew that I was gonna be there a half second late and he knew he was gonna drill a clutch jumper.

14-14. The pain was so apparent now. Everyone was gased. Everyone hurting. Same dance, inbounds pass from Brian on left side, pick Al, jumper. 15-14 us. Please just play good D and we’ll finish this next possession. Al hits a jumper. 15-15. Inbound from Brian on left, pick Al, awkward elevation because of something Oliver does, clang, and they get the rebound. Crap. Their part of the dance holds true and Al hits again.
16-15 then. It’s slipping away. We’ve got to tie this up. Our offensive dance holds up.
Left side, pick, drive. 16-16.

Come on. Pick it up. One stop. One stop.

Awkward play for them, long shot, long rebound. Brian up top. Inbounds from Brian on left, pick Al, jumper. 17-16 us.

Here we go. One stop. One stop. Finish this.

We did stop them on that possession. I don’t remember how. But I do know that defensive intensity was high.

Brian up top. Only Alvin and I really know what happened next. Words here won’t capture that moment.

I rounded on the left side and Alvin’s defense was strong, I had to keep him further away with the left side of my body and call for the ball with my right hand just as I had done the previous six possessions. But this time when the ball hit my right hand, instead of dribbling strong at Brian to pick off Al, I did a small fake towards Brian, pivoted on my left foot, drop stepped with my right towards the sideline.

One dribble and I didn’t feel Al next to me.

Two dribbles, elevate, and I think Oliver is going to foul me hard.

The foul never came.
Little kiss off glass.

18-16.

All the pain left my pores. The blur of adrenaline. All the sweat. All the training. All the eating right. All the fighting. Finished. One of the funnest basketball experiences of my life was finished.

Man I love basketball.

I’m sure Brian and I were glowing and even though Alvin and Oliver must have been bummed at the outcome, I know they appreciated the fun of competing in that way.

In the end, I desperately wanted Alvin to have a fun day that was his and that he could remember forever and be proud of. I honestly think he will remember that day and remember the game, the people, the bling, the children, the food. I was so happy knowing he was happy.

But I was tired. When my muscles cooled, they couldn’t warm up again.
I was just sore. I honestly gave it all I had to give.

That was okay.

“B&E Day Care. $40 a day. Taking Care of YOU!”

Too funny.

The Cup Is Ours.
In the end I think we had 18 people for Football. It really was an awesome sight to see so many people line up to play football at the ABC.

We recognized Connie and Chrissy for being the first girls to participate in a Classic. Wouldn’t it be funny if a girl won a Pimp Cup? Yes it would be.

There were four teams.
The only one you really want to know about is: The Cup Is Ours.
I don’t know the order, but I think this uber team was created in the order of Paolo, Babbs, Ariel, Oliver, and…. Chrissy. Talking to Chrissy afterwards, she said she really wanted to be on that team.

So basically we got:
Chrissy – The best pass rusher on the field other than Chris or J. She’s also got great receiving hands and overall athleticism.
Oliver – The fastest runner on the field. I think he was some kind of running hero in high school.
Ariel – The biggest, strongest body on the field. Very high football intensity, focus, and IQ.
Babbs – Um yeah. Babbs walked on to the Michigan football team. He practiced backpedaling on his driveway for a whole summer to be a shutdown corner. He’s pretty much dominant at football.
Paolo – Very high football IQ. On this team he was the perfect role player. Reception here, swat away there. Think Ron Harper. Whatever it takes to win.

I remember a few things.
The first 2 touchdowns were from Ariel to Oliver. Might as well have been Peyton to Harrison. It was awesome to see.
Oliver putting the shake and bake on Gary and Brian. So great to watch. I think Gary did the splits trying to stop him.
Joel playing out of his brains. I think it was his first time playing football. Oh man that was awesome.
Flip had good fantasy yards.
J’s unstoppable on his curls.
I think Chrissy sacked Flip like 8 times. But the end box score only showed like 3.
Babbs broke the porch and everyone thought it was his bone. That was craziness.
Flood lights.

The Cup Is Ours was completely dominant, no one really stood a chance. Joel stood up to them, but in the end they were just overwhelmingly good. Chrissy was forcing quarterbacks into bad decisions, Ariel and Oliver were offensive juggernauts, Babbs and Paolo filled all the holes. That along with a good substitution scheme to keep everyone fresh and The Cup Is Ours ruled.

At the end of the day, Al passed out the remaining Pimp Cups to Annalisa, Eric Galvez, and Jenny.

I never passed up an opportunity to drink out of my cup that day. Especially in front of Alvin. I wouldn’t be a friend if I didn’t. It was great.

I keep my cup by my desk at work. I truly cherish the memories more, but sometimes it’s nice to see the cup. Babbs asked me what it tasted like to drink out of my cup…. I said, “Glory.” Haha.

Alvin and Jenny's Wedding
Alvin and Jenny’s wedding was the most beautiful most expensive wedding I’ve ever seen. St. John’s is such an awesome venue.
Isaiah was a rock as a coin bearer. Lucia is just a very very special little girl. The Matthews, Guevaras, and Gary’s parents stayed at our house that weekend. That means there were 8 adults and six children in our home. It was just so wonderful. We took great pictures in the park and generally had a wonderful time.

I think I might have cried when Alvin and Jenny got married. Man it was a long road for them. I honestly believe that Christ is hard at work in their marriage and the fruits of that work are going to be wonderful.

Sang with G and Flip. We sang Love. I think that always was Alvin’s favorite. I love singing with those guys. It’s a very special feeling. The food was lobster and prime rib with this potato wedgey thingy that was fantastic. I never finish food at weddings, but I licked that plate clean.


There were these huge rose things hanging from the ceiling. Embedded in the rose things were candles. If you read this whole blog, put boogie boo in my comments.
I imagined the candles setting the roses on fire and the fire crawling up to the ceiling and setting the building on fire.

Galvez’s and Tricia’s speeches were wonderful. Galvez said he knew Alvin since he was Isaiah’s age. I cried again.

I smoked my first cigar that night at the club after the reception. The next Wednesday I was sick.

I couldn’t stay at home or the boys would find me so I went to the library. There I learned about the whole Sterling Heights Library system. More importantly, I learned about their digitial system and perused their audio book section.

People, it’s all about the audio book.

7 comments:

Steve Kang said...

Boogie Boo my friend. Man i miss chillin and hooping with you guys. Hope to see you soon!

munfung said...

boogie boo

munfung said...

dangit. steve beat me. i'm the one who told him to read it!!

pogiboy said...

boogie boo.

epic blog. thanks for everything.

Brian said...

boogie boo

You really won the tournament; I was just there for the ride. You were killing everyone with your jumper and your D was outstanding. You were the MVP! My strategy: get out of Eric's way and let him take over. Thanks for pushing me and not letting me get tired. The soreness I felt for next week was totally worth it.

Anonymous said...

boogieboo. doubledown. always.

jonyangorg said...

amazing blog. your memory is as fearsome as your jump shot, which to me is the most feared weapon on the planet.

boogie boo.