Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just a few questions

After months of secrecy and deceit, the child is coming. It's exciting news for sure, but the American public has a lot of questions for the Schaible couple. Like, when bearing gifts for the new child, should we bring gold, frankincense or myrrh?

The biggest query I have is the name. Will the Schaibles go the celebrity route and choose a name like Baseball Prospectus Schaible or Coffee Coolatta Schaible? No one knows. There was less secrecy to the Osama bin Laden mission than with this baby's potential name. Here are a few guesses of mine ...

  1. They could do the right thing and name the child after me. I'd be honored if a baby boy was named Stephen Steve Schaible. In the case of a girl, Stephanie Steve Schaible would be acceptable.
  2. Another possibility would be to honor Jeff's best friends from college with Vishal French Schaible. A diverse name for sure. He'd easily make it to Harvard.
  3. For a girl, the Schaibles could get lazy. Hey, it's been a hectic few months. So Emily Emily Schaible has a nice ring to it.
  4. Since the parents really got to know each other at the Boston Globe sports department, honoring that wonderful dream maker would be appropriate. MIAA High School Roundup Schaible? Wintext Sport Joe Schaible? The possibilities ...

The smart Vegas money had to be on smooth, one-syllable name, especially for a boy. Dave. Bill. Tom. Joe. Something that would fit easily on the lists of Bristol, Connecticut's finest country clubs 50 years from now.

In the instance that the child is a girl, the field of names if wide open. I wouldn't know where to begin. It's not unlike the field of candidates for the Republican convention, except the fetus probably accepts evolution and climate change by now.

Now, there are other questions I've been hearing. Such as: Where is the birth certificate? The fact that the baby hasn't been born yet is not enough to deter certain conspiracy theorists on the web. Other issues ...

  1. When will the child have a Facebook account?
  2. By what age will the kid have a fastball that is better than mine? Five or six is the guess, boy or girl.
  3. Which baseball team will be the kid's favorite, Red Sox or Yankees? Or will the kid rebel against his/her parents and hate baseball and love other activities, like clapping at a movie theater to movies like "Tree of Life?" By the way, what is "Tree of Life?" A sequel to the "Lord of the Rings?" I'm really out of the loop on this one.
  4. Which website will the child use for his/her Fantasy games, because you can't beat the top notch product at!

At least a few of these questions should be answered very shortly.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The man with the scary tattoo

Last Friday my string of one-on-one basketball victories came to an end. And I knew it would the second I saw my challenger.

He was around 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3 with a very long wingspan. When you play enough times, you can just tell when guys are good. You develop a sixth sense for this stuff. This guy looked like he had played in high school.

But I'm never one to back down, so I accepted his challenge and we played a three games to 11 on a blustery, 94 degree afternoon. (I had already been shooting for almost an hour by the time he arrived, and the winds that day were cruel.)

The reason I blog about this particular game is not that I lost, which is certainly rare enough to warrant such a report. It's that the guy took off his shirt and displayed a tattoo I will never forget.

"Fuck Every Body" ran right across the top of his chest. You should have seen my face when I saw it. "Dear God, he's going to destroy me." He also had tattoos of woman's faces on his stomach. It was distracting. And sort of scary.

In the first game, I took a quick lead driving to the basket without abandon. But then I missed a shot wide right (remember, 15-20 mph gusts that day) and he decided, "Perhaps I should post up this 158-pound stick figure." From then on I was powerless to stop him.

My strategy was to play off him and pray that he would shoot jumpers. It worked here and there, but he built a 7-2 advantage. At one point, I blocked one of his jump shots, but the ball went right back to him and he attempted a hook shot. He missed that one, too, but rebounded over my back and laid it in. I screamed a profanity in frustration. You can't call "over the back" in pickup hoops, but I was still peeved. He told me to "calm down."

Yes, the guy with "Fuck Every Body" tattooed on his chest told ME to calm down.

This lit a fire in me and I hit five straight shots to tie the game, but he went on to win 11-9. Absolutely exhausted and my right shoulder killing me, I rested for ten minutes and then we faced off in a rematch. I entered Schaible mode and shot almost nothing but two's (shot from behind the arc). I couldn't drive on him. He was too tall. I couldn't do my patented drive, stop and shoot a fade-away because he had arms like the tentacles of a giant octopus.

He got out to another big lead, but I found my touch once again. It was 9-9 and I missed three two-point attempts in a row. Thankfully, he was taking jump shots and missing them. At last, I grabbed a rebound, raced to the top of the key and nailed a two-pointer. I ran forward in case there was a rebound, saw the ball touch nothing but net and raised my arms in sweet, sweet victory.

Whatever is beyond exhausted, that's what I was at that point. I also had to be at work, but a true man can never leave if a series is tied at 1. A tiebreaker must be staged.

He toyed with me down in the paint, at some points laughing to himself because he got about 90 percent of the rebounds. Again, this guy's wingspan was ridiculous. Up 7-1 at one point, he thought victory was assured. Little did he know that his spindly opponent is not called "Ironwill O'Houlihan" for nothing.

The gusts FINALLY died down and I started draining everything. I took the lead at 9-8 and had a chance to make it 10-8 but I short-armed a very makeable hook shot. Unfortunately for me, he did his thing in the paint and won the deciding game 11-9.

Yes, this story ended tragically. But perhaps I gained a modicum of respect from this fellow I shall forever know as "Fuck Every Body." He said, "Good shootin'" and we clasped hands before I stumbled deliriously to my car.

My streak of not having lost a one-on-one series, which lasted all of 2011, is over. But my pride shall never die.