Monday, July 1, 2013

Rockin' At Midnight -- The Honeydrippers

I know I’m stretching it to call this a Blues related blog post.  The thing is, I’m running out of stories to tell.  So, help me out.  Give me some suggestions for stories.  Any old memories out there that you can share?  Just give me a reminder and I will craft up a story around it.

Now that the truth is out there, here’s today’s blog post.

When I was a young man, I was a pretty darn good basketball player.  I didn’t win any state championships, but I could score 10+ points a game with regularity.  

Anyway, when I moved on to college at the University of Minnesota, I continued playing basketball in the intramural league.  I also frequently played pick up games at Cooke Hall on the campus.  Back then, in the early 80’s, Cooke Hall was open to the public.  Therefore, all the street ballers from the local area would show up.  You might even say that it was frequently hijacked by the street ballers. Eventually, the University closed off the public access and only college students could get in.

There were three courts in the upper level of Cooke Hall.  It didn’t matter to me what court I played on or who I played with.  I just wanted to play.  One day I sidled up next this fellow watching the game on the middle court.  I asked, “Who has the next game?”  This dude, just looked at me and smugly said, “This court is reserved for the NBA.”

What the hell was the “NBA?”  Apparently, you had to prove yourself in order to get any playing time on the middle court where the NBA played.   What a bunch of bullshit.  I just walked away and played on one of the other courts.

Then, one day, I had my chance to put things right.  I showed up at Cooke Hall and there was barely anyone there.  There were exactly ten of us and we “failures at life” finally got our chance to play on the NBA court.  It so happened that of the ten players there, five were from the NBA.  I can’t remember exactly how it turned out this way, but, the five NBA guys ended up on the same team.  I ended up with a bunch of dorky white guys.  One of them had Pepsi Cola bottles for eye-glasses.  Another was so skinny and that a good gust of wind could have knocked him over.  I don’t remember the attributes of the other two white guys.

So the game got started.  Since I was the only experienced basketball player on the team, I took on the leadership role.  Let me tell ya people, something came over me that day.  It was probably the feeling of disrespect I felt being denied access to the NBA court or something like that, but I was like Bernard King.  I schooled those shitheads.  We played up to 15 by ones.  I easily had ten of the points.  I was shooting the lights out.  If I wasn’t nailing jumpers, I blew past ‘em the took it to the hole.  If I didn’t score, someone else did because I made the assist.  I controlled the boards and if some dipshit came in the lane, I sent their shot flying over to the peon courts.

We smoked those mofos.  It was a blowout.  

I just strolled off the court thinking to myself, “NBA.  Right.”  The sad part of the whole thing was even though I had just schooled the NBA single-handedly, these dudes still didn’t see me as worthy to join their ranks.

So what does any of this have to do with the Blues?  This story just happened to remind me that when I was in the intramural leagues at the U, my roommate and friend for life, Brent, would get ourselves revved up and play this old rocker, “Rockin’ at Midnight” by Robert Plant and the Honeydrippers.

So here it is.

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