August 18th, 2005

Worst Ever Division Gets Worse

The San Francisco Giants are now 53-66 for the season for a .445 winning percentage. But a recent "surge" has them only six games back of the division-leading San Diego Padres, who have a losing record. It's painful to watch. Nevertheless, I will be watching, however much I want to pull a paper bag over my head.

Back In Action

Kim was kind enough to drop me off at the JCC today at 3:15pm and then pick me up 90 minutes later on the way to get Bean. That meant that I got to play basketball with some of my favorite gym rats for the first time in weeks, particularly the younger of the two "Gandhi guys," as Kim calls them, who is my favorite person to set screens for and my favorite person to pass the ball to as well. It's not like Stockton and Malone, but we do have a good sense for each other's next move. Today we played a few rounds with other regulars, then accepted a challenge from some new faces, a very smooth player with curly black locks and a Tucson summer league T-shirt and his 6'4" friend wearing a 2004 Catalina Foothills High School "Homecoming" T-shirt. The latter lumbered a bit, but showed excellent big-man instincts for the pick and roll. The first time the two of them smoked us 15-0 in a make it-take it game. Luckily, Gandhi Guy and I beat them pretty easily in the rematch. Make-it take-it games can be annoying if someone has a hot hand, but they frequently make it possible to get more games in during a session, which is definitely a good thing. I started out playing like shit. I missed most of my warm-up shots terribly. But then, as is often the case, I did what I needed to do during the games themselves. Had Gandhi Guy not gone ice cold, our first game would have been a lot closer.

Highlights on my end included an improbable catch and high-arcing shot under the basket after a beautiful feed, an almost Kareemish sky hook from the left side of the basket, a looping bank shot high off the glass from a difficult angle just in from the baseline to the right of the basket, and my de rigeur drive that I fear to repeat too often, even though it usually works, in which I start slanting in to the right from the top of the key, do a crossover dribble to put the ball in my left hand, dribble once more, and then glide to the left of the rim with pretty decent horizontal hang time and then, when it's almost too late, kiss the ball off the glass with my right hand, using a spin I learned from serving in table tennis while an exchange student in Germany. That last signature move reminds me of the things one does over and over in the bedroom, which sometimes feel too clichéd, but work well enough despite their familiarity. I may beat myself up about reverting to the same-old, same-old, but when you really need to score, aesthetics are consigned to the category of "afterthought." Time to go eat the remainder of my beef-and-lamb in Bulgarian red pepper-tomato sauce, served over coriander seed-strewn saffron rice and topped with a healthy dose of feta. Now that's a score!

And Speaking of Resorting to Clichés. . .

How about this for a fun update on one of the most threadbare metaphors in the English language: "He's not the brightest bonfire in the Black Forest." Picturing the scene makes me get hot for Heidegger. If only he had been a little less self-important and a little more Cosmopolitan. If only he hadn't been so turned on by the prospect of bonfires in the Black Forest. If only he hadn't succumbed to the same Germanic fantasies that keep me running as fast as I can from a fixed sense of my heritage. If only he had been me.