The Great Plotnik

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Old Fat Guys Versus the Young Skinny Guys

This morning was the latest reunion of the Old Fat Guy Basketball Game, only this morning it was The Old Fat Guys versus the Young Skinny Guys and the old guys didn't stand a chance.

Plotnik played b-ball at the local middle school every weekend it wasn't raining for many years -- well, since the first weekend the Plots lived at World Headquarters. Then the game broke up, as most of you know, but every once in a while LaBan has a Saturday off. LaBan is the day man in the red Beefeater suit who helps people in and out of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel downtown, and he is also the guy with the rolodex and everybody's phone number. When he's free on Saturday he calls everybody up and down to the school we all go.

Each time everyone is a little older. But hoo boy, now people are putting on weight -- and not just weight but WEIGHT.

What it means is that the guys who used to be able to carry that weight and still be quick, can't do it anymore. The moves that work at 200 pounds and 30 don't work so well at 300 pounds and 40. You fall down. You trip. You bounce the ball off your knee. You bounce your knee on the pavement. You slam the ball onto the pavement in frustration.

Plot hasn't put on any weight but he is at least twenty years older than any of these guys. He used to be able to make up for it by stealth and conditioning. Now none of that works anymore, and neither do his joints. He favors his right (shooting) shoulder and left (driving) knee. But he's not alone. Orlando (knee), LaBan (knee), Chiyuka (shoulder), Skip (back) and probably everybody else on the court older than 35 is favoring something.

Two of the guys, Bobby (neck) and Rodney (ankle) were talking about their dental problems. "Man, I hate going to the dentist," Bob said, "but when your teeth sting when you try to brush them..." "Tell me about it," Rodney started, but Plotnik, who was sitting on the bench next to them, said: "No, don't tell him about it. And I don't want to hear about your digestive issues either." And he didn't say 'digestive issues.'

Maurice, who for years used to bring to the game his little fat son, at whom Maurice yelled constantly, conditioning the boy to be tougher than everyone else while making the boy and all of us extremely uncomfortable, drove up in a big black SUV with four others. They were all kids, and one of them, Maurice's son Kokkari, has morphed into a very large, very fit young man with fabulous basketball skills. Reese brought Kokkari to the game with three of Kokkari's friends, all young, all sleek, all without joint, back, knee or ego problems. They were nice kids.

The little bastards KILLED us. They SMOKED us. They MURDERED us. One team after another of old fat guys went up against the young guys. It was like Pickett's Last Charge and they were the Union army with the guns.

So naturally, the old fat guys did what old fat guys do: they fouled the hell out of Kokkari every time he touched the ball. Kokkari never said a word. He took it like a man as his father beamed.

Well OK, one time only he had enough of Sherlock hitting him in the knee and Orlando pounding him in the face and Rodney shoving him from the front and Adili pushing him from the back. He rose up and heaved the ball to the opposite end of the playground.

Everyone on both teams came down on him for that, especially his dad. They insisted he go chase the ball and bring it back. But Kokkari wasn't going to chase any damned ball, and there wasn't a soul on the court who could make him.

Someone else ran and fetched the ball. Looks to me like Kokkari hasn't grown up completely yet. He's 19 now and Reese seems to have done things right. This boy knows the difference between good and bad. Now it's up to him to decide to live the right way or not.

Ai, yai, yai, these young punks. What do they know?

What they don't know they'll learn fast enough. Plotnik wishes he didn't know it either. Advil, where's the Advil?


At 5:52 PM, Blogger notthatlucas said...

Love this post! And I feel your pain. But it's great that you went out and did this - very impressive. And I hope you found the Advil.

At 1:50 PM, Anonymous John The King said...

Um...this was supposed to be fun recreation!?!?

Also, for us history geeks it was "Pickett's Charge" and "Custer's Last Stand"... :-)


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