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Thursday, 07 October 2010

A Desperate Fan

By Mickey Rogers of This, That and the Other

Thanks to modern technology, we can land a spacecraft on Mars, send email to almost any part of the world and increase the average human lifespan but for the 2004-2005 season, many of us still couldn’t watch our local college’s first basketball game.

As a matter of fact, the first five games were not being televised, at least not on any channels that I could get, so desperately searching through the radio listings, I discovered that several stations were carrying the opening game. Hearing the game would certainly beat missing it altogether.

The contest was scheduled for 8PM, so at 8:05 I began scanning the networks. At about the third station I heard something like, “Jones brings the ball up court. He passes to Alberwitz in the corner. Alberwitz is double teamed but gets the ball to Rooterman.”

Unfortunately, my team had no players named “Jones,” “Alberwitz,” or “Rooterman,” but I stuck with the game hoping that these were the guys who were playing against my beloved players. Eventually I discovered that the opposing team had no familiar names either.

Through the crackling and humming, I next picked up a game being broadcast from New Orleans. Evidently it was Tulane basketball. “Great!” I thought to myself. “I can listen to a Tulane game in New Orleans but I can’t get a broadcast originating only about sixty miles from my favorite L-Z Boy.”

Richmond, Virginia came in extremely well that night but of course, that station wasn’t broadcasting “my“ game. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even covering a basketball game. The next network might or might not have been broadcasting a game; unfortunately, I speak little Spanish.

After switching to the FM side of the dial, I encountered mostly music. One station played nothing but rap songs. In a futile effort to ease my frustration, I began composing my own basketball rap:

Yo, my man has the ball
and he’s throwing up junk.

He passes to the big dude
who slams down a dunk.

Alexander can b-ball
and rock this joint.

He cans a free throw
for his very first point.

Through years of experimentation, I have learned that sometimes a network comes in more clearly if my hand is wrapped around the radio antenna. Using this technique, and with my ear firmly planted against the speaker, I was able to comprehend about every fifth word: “------ ------ ------ ------ dribbles Spectt! Zoorsh! Crackle!”

After listening for about fifteen minutes I concluded that the game originated from somewhere along the Atlantic seaboard. By this time my hand, arm and ear were numb so I decided upon another strategy.

Perhaps I would have better luck outside, away from disturbances caused by various electrical appliances. After donning my winter coat, gloves and toboggan and grabbing my battery-powered radio, I climbed to the highest point of land in my backyard.

All I wanted to do that evening was simply listen to my team’s basketball game; instead, I was standing on a hill, shivering, listening to some guy scream “Figueroa!” I dropped the radio when the neighbor’s dog sneaked up behind me and nuzzled his snout into the back of my right leg. The opera singer continued unabated.

Sometimes I’m able to pick up stations on the car radio that somehow defy reception at home, so I got into the van and cruised toward the nearest town. After setting the radio on “scan,” I heard a few words from one channel before the next one took over: “Remember, the food at our deli tastes just a little bit better than - Acme Dog Food!”

After wasting a couple gallons of gasoline and gathering several useless and unrelated snippets of information I headed home.

There was nothing left to do but wait for the eleven o’clock news, weather and sports. At least I could find out who won the game. I took off my shoes, turned on the TV and stretched out on the floor.

I awakened in the wee hours of the morning just in time to catch the ending of an old black-and-white movie. Temporarily defeated, I seriously considered becoming a Tulane fan.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Great story, Mickey. It's fun getting the male point of view. It's like talking to my ex-husband but you didn't manage to make me mad.

I know, I know....Sometimes when I can't sleep I listen to the radio in the middle of the night.

A really interesting show will come on and I will get all wrapped up in it. Then the static and breaking up starts. That's when I realize the show is originating in Toronto or Hudson Bay and it is futile to continue trying to listen. It's going to go away;it always does.

But, why is it that Preachers come in loud and clear from as far away as Latta, South Carolina and unless YOU turn them off they never go away?

I suppose that explains why I know very little about Canada and a whole lot about the Bible....

This is hilarious. The only thing you didn't do was drive the 60 miles to the station and listen to the game there which might have taken less time than all the other stuff.

Funny story. Your rap words are just great; maybe you can sell it to one of the rapsters.

SO well-written, Mickey. I have zip interest in ball games, on radio, TV, or in person, but your style was so gripping that I was right there, hoping for you to connect.

I'm a cock-eyed optimist, my rose colored glasses are as sharp as ever and your humorous post tickles me. Your ability to allow frustration to encourage pursuing other avenues, with so much humor is awewsome.
The world needs to laugh and your essays may just be the catalyst. Way to go, Mickey!

Sometimes nothing, nothing works! I've had those times. But I'm sure I never told the story as well as you did. Thanks for making me remember and laugh.

Estelle, it is so like you to be totally original. Mickey, you told your tale in a lucid and delightful way.

Micky, a great story, well written, and entertaining! Keep up the good work!

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