Saturday, March 24, 2007

I wish I could say this is my work.....

For those of you who may follow the ABA, this is a parody on the league by Chuck Miller. Chuck is a regular poster(as am I) at and one of the country's leading experts on minor league basketball. With the exception of the Frost Heaves and some other organizations in the league, the ABA is a bit of a disaster. Here is Chuck's view on the league in a HYSTERICAL manner.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for professional basketball in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, wrote the thirteen rules that became professional basketball. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of underprivileged basketball players who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of working for the Globetrotters.

But one hundred years later, the basketball player still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the basketball player is still sadly crippled by the manacles of unethical and immoral leagues like the CBA and the Premiere Basketball League, and the chains of discrimination from the NBA D-League and the USBL. One hundred years later, the hoopster plays in front of a driveway hoop in the middle of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the hoopster is still honing his skills at Pop-A-Shot at the local mall, and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. Made out for $10,000, and made payable to ABA Properties, LLC. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent rules of basketball, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all owners, yes black men as well as white men, but most importantly black men, Hispanics, women, Hispanic women, etc., would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of fan-friendly basketball at affordable prices.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to Hammond, go back to Toledo, go back to Nashville, go back to Brooklyn, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day our league will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We are better than any professional basketball league in the world. All leagues are created equal - but the ABA is created more equal than anyone else."

I have a dream that one day on the Finger Lakes of New York, the immigrant owners of the Rochester Razorsharks will come back to me and say, "Mr. Newman, we are sorry for causing you such grief, please accept our humble apologies and this check for $100,000 for your trouble."

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, the Mississippi Miracles will be transformed into a championship squad as soon as they actually play a playoff contest.

I have a dream that my little children and grandchildren will one day live in a nation where they won't have to go on OSC and hear anybody say nasty horrible things about their father and grandfather, and that they will not be judged by the spelling of their surname but by the content of their wallets.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Arkansas, that the RimRockers will leave that demon-scum NBA-financed minor league, and come to me and say, "Mr. Newman, sir, we made a horrible mistake, we'll come back and work with that America's Next Top Model contestant and build a team that will outdraw anybody else in the state of Arkansas, and here's an extra $200,000 for our franchise fees that we didn't pay for the past two years."

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall have an ABA team, every hill and mountain shall support our red-white-and-blue message, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of me shall be revealed, and all hoopsters shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to Indianapolis with. With this we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope, and provide fan-friendly entertainment at affordable prices. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into such money-making ventures as Starz In Motion, DBands, a Red White and Blue concert, an ABA reality series, and a new line of ABA dried meats, available at your local Costco or Wal-Mart. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to donate all your money to me together, knowing that we will own the world of basketball one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My hoops league 'tis of thee, sweet land of subsidy, of thee I sing. Land where the Hardhats died, land where the Champions got fried, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the crappy springtime roads of Vermont. Let freedom ring from the godawful stench that is New York. Let freedom ring from the wherever the hell Beijing is playing these days!

Let freedom ring from the Molson-tainted rivers of Quebec!

Let freedom ring from the STD-infected populace of Maryland!

But not only that; let freedom ring from the home of the Anderson Champions!!

Let freedom ring from the wham bam thank you ma'am of Bellingham Slam!

And when this happens, When we allow freedom to ring, when we take the money from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to spend it all up that day when all you suckers, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Check has cashed! Check has cashed! thank God Almighty, the Check has cashed!"

Monday, March 19, 2007

A slight deviation from sports

I promise, this will be a small deviation. As the four year point of the war is here, I learned that an old aquaintance of mine has made it back to San Francisco alive and well. It has been what seems a lifetime ago since I saw Mike. Now that I think back, it has been 16 years since I have even seen any of the guys I grew up with in Lafayette, California. Regardless, I remember Mike and his family very fondly, and when my mother told me he was home safe, I was relieved.

On the other side of things, there are so many who are in Iraq fighting a war which seems to have no purpose. We are in a position where even President Bush's former supporters are now speaking out against our policies in the Middle East. This is not meant as an anti-war rant, it is meant as a simple statement to end the war now. I want all of the soldiers who are in Iraq to coin an old phrase to "Be Like Mike". In this case it isn't to be like Michael Jordan; it is to be like Dr. Mike Deboisblanc and come home from this pointless war in one piece.

More from the Sports Desk tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My first podcast

I have moved into the 21st century. This is for the Vermont Guardian on the Rice/Burlington title game on Monday night. Hopefully there will be more of these, and maybe one on the debacle known as the ABA. (No offense to the Frost Heaves, they are the class of the league.)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

What a Saturday it was

To steal a line from one of the greatest broadcasters of all-time Jack Buck, "I cannot believe what I just saw." Well, on what turned out to be an amazing Saturday of high school basketball in Vermont, I ended up thinking that phrase roughly 429 times in the span of two games.

I am still trying to digest what happened on Saturday. I started in Brandon for the boys Division II quarterfinal game between Otter Valley and Montpelier. At one point Otter Valley was up ten, but that was not the story as the Solons came back to bounce Otter Valley 87-85 in FOUR overtimes. Yes, four overtimes and this one could have very well gone five. Shayne Morrissey hit a running one hander with seven tenths of a second to go in the fourth overtime to win it in a game that still defies description. But, Otter Valley's coach called time as Montpelier rushed onto the court, so the Otters still had a chance to win it but a 60 footer went wide and Montpelier could continue a well deserved celebration. Coach David Moore was so overcome with his kids' performance that he was in tears after the game. Montpelier kids were in tears, and Otter Valley's kids were in tears. When the game went to a third overtime, both coaches were standing together at half court and shook hands with smiles on their faces. Yes, this was one for the ages with 24 lead changes, an Otter Valley kid who didn't play much hitting for 13 with a few clutch threes, and 24 kids who just refused to give up. When I talked with Shayne Morrissey after the game, the smile on his face was as wide as the arena. One for the ages this one was.

The second game of my doubleheader was in Barre for the Division II girls final between Lamoille and Mount Abe. On paper, this thing was going to be a blowout as Lamoille had beaten their tournament opponents by an average of 43 points going into the final. Mount Abe was a low scoring team who had beaten top seeded Vergennes to earn their trip to the title game. We all had Lamoille winning by 40 or more....Wrong answer, this is the post-season tournament.

Mount Abe came out tough, and when I say tough, I mean tough. Mount Abe played tenacious defense and actually lead Lamoille by one at the break. The crowd was as loud as I had ever heard as I was saying on air that we could have an upset in the making. Mount Abe finally fell apart a bit at the end and ended up losing 41-32, but that was not the full story. Mount Abe played their hearts out and just refused to give up. Jade Dingler, a late season call up from JV hit for 11 points, and those kids were playing the game of their lives but came up a tad bit short. But, even that was not the full story.

With about 30 seconds to go in the game, Lamoille coach Tim Messier pointed to the bench to make a few substitutions, and going to the scorers table was Mackenzie Pratt. Mackenzie has missed about half of this season after her second recurrence of cancer. Pratt has been the emotional leader of this team with the team playing this season for her. If this was a typical player and a typical kid, this would be a nice gesture. For Mac, it meant something.

Mackenzie has a spirit about her that makes grown adults admire her. She has an amazing attitude about her disease, and in the times I have spoken with her, she has been smiling, positive, and knows she will beat this horriffic disease. She could be seen before the semi-final game smiling, laughing, and clowing around with her teammates. Before the title game, she was the ring leader in keeping her team loose. Well, when Coach Messier put her in the game, there was not a dry eye in the house. She hugged her teammates when she was at the scorers table, and bounded onto the court to a standing ovation from both teams. She even got a chance to score and I remember Mac getting the ball underneath and saying, "Man, I hope she hits this!!!" She missed the shot, but got the rebound so at least she got a board. After the game, she was happy to be a part of the game, and told me that she just wanted to feel like she was part of the team. Well Mac, you did much more than that. Yes folks, this is what the post season is all about.