Tuesday, February 21, 2006

HumanityCritic's Sports Hall of Fame

Besides the 253 dreams that I have had where I relive witnessing my fathers passing, one specific thing sticks out about that fateful February day in 2001. That was a very strange conversation that me and my mother had as I embraced her in the waiting room after my fathers final moments on this earth. So many thoughts were racing through my mind as I clinched my mother tightly, sadness, regret over me and my fathers lack of relationship, selfish feelings like anger because of him "waiting for me to get there" to die, I actually got lightheaded because of how many thoughts had infiltrated my dreadlocked skull. But one thing that sticks out was my mother's stoic nature, her strength, and the brief "get the fuck off of me" look that she gave me. Right when I was about to leave the hospital thinking that my mother was absolutely the toughest woman to ever live, she grabbed my arm and said, "HumanityCritic, sit down for a minute!!" I obliged her, looked in her eyes and said, "What is it Ma??" Expressing a nervous look that I had only previously seen when I joked about "marrying a black republican", she quickly uttered, "Talk to me about something, anything, I just don't want to be alone with my own thoughts!"

"OK", I said, "Do you want to hear about some girl I plan on getting to know 'biblicaly?" I guessed by her shoving her finger down her throat was a sign that that was out of the question. Then, for a reason that I couldn't even imagine, me and my mother talked about our favorite athletes of all time. As my father lay cold no more that 100 feet from us, my mother knowing that after 30 years of marriage that her husband was gone and me knowing that the possibility to repair the relationship with my father was indeed over, we waxed poetically about the greatness of Michael Jordan. I always have thought that our diversionary conversation is probably the same tactic that a death row inmate spouts out during his last hour, trying anything to get his mind off of his fate.

I bring this up because since that day my mother and I hadn't spoke about that conversation, that is until recently. As we chatted about sports and who our favorite athletes were the other day, my mother gave a huge belly laugh when I said, "This sure is a lot easier without a dead guy in the next room!!" This post is dedicated to my lovely mother..

Michael Jordan: OK, let me address 2 things immediately. 1) I know that most of you are surprised that my favorite basketball player isn't Kobe Bryant by the way I blog about him like I have a schoolgirl crush. and 2) I know this is an obvious choice, it's as predictable as saying "My favorite book is the bible!"(See High Fidelity) but it's just how I feel. Looking back on all the Bulls games I witnessed, the guy was an absolute assassin. You hear every player who say that they "play every game like their last", but Michael Jordan was the only player who I feel followed that line of thinking 100%. Me and Mike have a few things in common, a winning smile, a gambling problem, and the fact that I beat up a teammate once.(Granted, it was at the YMCA. I bet he won't call me a ball hog again!) The image of Jordan that is burned in my memory is that 1997 game against the Jazz where he was ravaged by the flu and still scored 38 points. Remember how Scottie Pippen had to physically prop him up as they both headed for the sidelines?? The "warrior" tag is always loosely thrown around these days, but if you were to call him one I would be the first to agree with you.

Michael Jordan moment: It happened last year matter of fact, I was playing in a YMCA pick up game where I was shooting the lights out. Granted, the guy who was guarding me was 65 with an extremely bad knee but that isn't my fault. This one play, as I intercepted a pass and streaked down the court uncontested I hear someone say "Dunk it!" Never mind the fact that I am under 6 feet, have never dunked a basketball in my life, and have only been able to simply touch the rim, I stuck my tongue out like Jordan with my eyes on the prize. As I approached the basket, I elevated like I had never before, grabbing the ball with two hands preparing to jam it in front of a couple scantily clad girls watching from the sidelines. As I rose I thought a few things like, "I'm really going to dunk it", "damn I hate black republicans", and "I hope one day I have a 'i humped a girl simply because I dunked a basketball' story." Suffice it to say that my world came crashing down when the ball collided with the rim, forcing my body backwards, and the result was me landing on my back in the midst of a thousand giggles. Damn, I was just trying to "Be like Mike"

Barry Bonds: I know that this guy is brash, cocky, arrogant, and an absolute prick. But to be totally honest those are the reasons why I like him, I find those good qualities for a ball player. Maybe its because I like the villain, I do openly hope the villains in crime shows get away with it(outside of pedophiles), which must also explain why I am a Kobe Bryant fan. But his physical dominance at the plate is undeniable, putting the fear of god in opposing pitchers, only a few moments later giving some lucky bastard in McCovey Cove a souvenir to keep. I know the steroid rumors, I know that a black cloud follows him around like the dirt that follows the "Pigpen" character, I even know that he admitted to using a form of steroids before. But my ideology is this, if you don't have a positive steroid test you really don't have a valid argument against him not going into the Baseball Hall of Fame asterisk free. He could have friends who are known Steroid dealers, you could give me a diagram on how his body mass expanded "so quickly" over the years, you could even give me a picture of Barry Bonds juggling steroids in front of the Balco laboratories, but without a positive test there is nothing much to be said. Some of the arguments against Bonds is valid, I know, but I think that sports writers loathe him because the last thing they want to see him do is surpass Babe Ruth's mark.

Barry Bonds Moment: It was a few months ago when I was at bat, playing in a local league. I walked up to the plate, gave the pitcher an intense look, and adjusted my forearm pads before stepping into the batting box. As I crowded the plate and got into my home run stance, the catcher looked up at me and said, "What is up with all the pads and crowding the plate, this is slow pitch softball you asshole!!"

Dan Marino: When I was a kid watching Dan Marino, I sure wanted to be a quarterback in the worst way. Seeing him perform last minute comebacks, throwing absolute missiles down the field so hard that it looked like he was purposely trying to throw his arm out of the socket, he was the greatest thing since internet porn in my opinion. I know, he didn't win a Superbowl so that tarnishes his career to many people, not to me, because if you know anything about those dolphin's teams you'd know that those defenses sucked worse a hooker with bad teeth. But sadly, as I watched Dan perform open heart surgey on defensive backs, I knew that I could never be like Mr. Marino. One, the whole him being white thing, and two, me throwing like a teenage girl in a blizzard.

Dan Marino moment: The one thing that has gotten better with time concerning yours truly is my arm strength. Not only that, at the ripe age of 32 I have finally mastered the art of throwing a perfect spiral. So last year, when I was playing a light game of pick up football with my ex-girlfriend, her friends and their boyfriends, I was designated all time quarterback. I must have completed my first 20 passes, I was on fire, to the point that I had a undeniable swagger about me. I don't know what came over me, but when Melissa(a girl on my team) was wide open, it was if I was locked in. As she giggled at the fun she was having, waiting for my pass on the side of the field, I planted my feet and let one go. The next thing I know I hear a *thud* as the ball ricocheted off of Melissa's chest, causing her arms to flail everywhere, and her ending up on the ground writhing in pain calling me "an asshole" repeatedly. I guess she wasn't invited to the "gun show"..

Walter Payton: I'm sorry, no disrespect to Emmit Smith, but Water Payton is still the greatest rusher of all time regardless of who holds the all time yards record. If Water had some of the same offensive lines that Emmit had, the record would be as unapproachable as Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak. As a kid, watching Walter steam roll defenders like nobodies business, the mere force of his running attack was pure poetry. I remember seeing a television segment on Payton's off season regiment of running steep hills to increase his conditioning. So, because I was an impressionable kid, I did the same during the summer months to get me in shape for the plethora of school sports that I played.(It didn't help my sports career, but I found it easier chasing down future throat-chop victims in a school hallways) I never admitted this to anyone, but I actually cried during the 85 Superbowl when Payton failed to get a touchdown.

Walter Payton moment: A Decade ago, at the height of my cannabis influenced years, I played football with some college friends of mine. I was the running back, and after a few yards I was hit so hard that it spun me around, but I shook it off and kept running. As I ran I stiff armed defenders, stepped on people, and made sure my legs kept driving as I punished anyone who dared tackle me.(I think I actually punched a few folks) The problem was, after I was hit it spun me in the wrong direction, and the people that I was "punishing" were my own teammates. Just proof that weed and playing a little pigskin don't mix.

19 comments:

Bklyn Diva said...

thanks for stopping by and visiting my humble abode.. I see you another sports fanatic.. I need to link to you so that I can read on a daily basis.. :)

Stephen Bess said...

I agree with your statment about Walter Payton or "sweetness" as they used to call him. He was one bad brother!
related story:
I was in Chicago a couple of years ago and the Chicago Tribune was handing out posters of Payton. I immediately grabbed one. I still have to get it framed.

Brando said...

HC, don't worry about the lack of originality in calling Jordan the best. It's like saying "You know what's awesome? Orgasms." Yeah, everyone will give the same answer, but who cares.

And while I love the ode to Sweetness, how could you put him in the same post with Marino? I'm still bothered by that Monday night game in 85, because I know that Bears team would be considered the best ever if it hadn't been for Dan the Man.

Ashley said...

thank you so much! i like your blog too. the "cannabis influenced years", very eloquent way of putting it :)

ill be sure to stop by daily.

<3ashley.

glory said...

ahhhh, mj. i love that arrogant so-and-so if for no other reason than that his arrogance was never outstripped by the sheer excitement i got from watching him play. can't say the same for too many others...

Rose DesRochers said...

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog. I appreciate the visit. I'm not a sports fanatic but thought I post anyway. Sorry my comment doesn't add much of value but a smile. LOL

sw

Elizabeth said...

Aren't those conversations the weirdest? I swear I remember so many things from when my mother was alive, that I think "did we really talk about it that way? or am I just remembering it wrong?" No one to ask- but then I ask people who knew her about conversations that they have recited to me a thousand times over, so that I can confirm that we shared some sameness. Sometimes I wonder if my parents ever really existed- or if I just imagined all of it. I guess nothing really exists, unless we agree it does-

DP said...

Barry Bonds is unquestionably the most dominating offensive force to EVER play baseball.

In an era of specialization and dominating relievers...EVERYONE still pitches around him

he was out 150 games last year came back and hit 4-5 homers in his last 14 games...at forty whatever he is.


And steroids NEVER helped your hand eye coordination...or your batting eye.

rumors@holla.tv said...

Word up Humanity Critic...lets see I first discovered your blog like a week ago and I have been back everyday since then...even through truth be told..this is reeeaaalllly not in my time management plan. I'm currently running web site that list urban events across the nation (I didn't realize it would be so difficult to get people to submit events) and to give site visitors a little something else to look forward to when visiting the site (because I didn't realize it would be so difficult to get people to submit events) I post news and rumors. The rumors I try to write myself... Which is the reason for my comment... Since discovering your writing technique, I've been using it as 'inspiration' for my writing on the rumors pages... I stress, 'inspiration' because that's pretty much the extent of it... Anyway, I'd appreciate you taking a look at it and letting me know what you think... The website is www.holla.tv

Holla!

Free said...

Wow. I never got to the sports part. I was lost in the beautiful part about you & your mother.

spchrist said...

I'm cool with everyone except for the juicer with the intials B.B.

Belve said...

Out of your list I have to admit.. Barry Bonds is the one I agree with the most. I always laugh when people bring up his "allegded" steriod use.

Was he on 'riods @ the other ASU(Zona State) was he on on them in Pittsburgh , I feel that he is the ultimate competitor in baseball and his dislike of the baseball writers is so justified its mindboggling.

I stopped thinking to type great post for you a long time ago, HC. I figured it would be easier to try and point out a bad one. If that makes sense..

Anonymous said...

uh, my brutha. the greatest running back ever was jim brown.

GBall said...

I agree 100% with you on this post, however I think that one of your favorite players, Kobe Bryant, has even less remorse for losing opponents than my hometown hero Micheal Jordan. When the Bulls would put the game out of reach, Jordan wanted to ice his knees. Not Kobe(lmao). Kobe's the type to shoot a person three more times when its apparent that the person's dead. Many times over the years the Lakers would be up by 30 late in the third quarter Kobe would still be pouring in on dunking on ppl and the whole nine yards. Its not enough for him to humiliate you on national television or rip your heart out, he wants every opportunity to further humilate you (i'm thinking of the Spurs game from like 3 or 4 years ago when they destroyed David Robinson's bitch ass). That's enough of my rambling. Time to get back to online gambling.

Amadeo said...

I love Barry Bonds and I respect him after he said that he would like to break Babe Ruth's record, but not Hank Aarons, cause of what he went through. I also think it should be a rule that pitcher should have to pitch to him.

TTD said...

i think i can only relate to bball.. but i think allen iverson also plays every game like its his last..

Jerry MaDick said...

I cried when Payton ended his career under a gatorade stand on the Redskins bench during the playoffs.

Bonds. Like him or not, if this is his last year, you have to get out and see him play. Steroids may not help hand eye coordination, but they sure as shit can speed up a bat to make up for any loss in that department. Dude cheated, but it was fair at the time, so he and Big Mac are 1st ballot HOFers if you ask me.

BLESSD1 said...

I agree w/Amadeo. I gained that much more respect for Barry when he said he didn't really wanna break Hank Aaron's record due to all that he went through to attain it. For all the Bonds haters, THAT, my friends, is a monument to the kind of man Bonds truly is, and that maybe you should recast your decision to label him an arrogant prick

alboogie said...

great post - your jordan moment reminded me of that sprite commercial awhile back. bonds is no doubt the greatest to ever do it with all due respect to hank, jackie (who to be honest was more of a pioneer than a fantastic ball player), eff a babe. brotha, sweetness was nice but dont forget about the other barry - mr sanders did things with no line to speak of cats today just dream about. its a toss up for me between marino and montana.