Monday, November 24, 2008

O.K. Gather round, quiet down, and listen up! I think our overall problem—what seems to get us in the most trouble—is that we’re not always focused. Now, as your coach I take a lot of the responsibility. It starts with me. But I can’t be out there on the court with you, holding your hand. Sometimes you’ve got to “own” your mistakes. I’m talking turnovers, guys.

First thing’s first. You wear green uniforms. The Harlem Globetrotters always wear red, white, and blue. So when a guy in a red, white, and blue asks you to pass the ball to him, don’t. Jones, I know you’re colorblind; you’ve got a good excuse. So listen up, team. If Jones is inbounding the ball, we need some sort of signal to show him that it’s O.K. to pass it to you. I don’t care if it’s a hand signal or a codeword or some sort of cough; you guys can come up with that on your own. Jones, if you’re ever in doubt, look to see if the guy’s jersey says generals across the front. That’s a good indicator that it’s safe to dish him the rock.

What’s that? Good idea. Jones should never inbound the ball.

Another big problem we’ve been having out there is our traveling violations. If you feel leather on your back, that’s the ball. So don’t run. Let me repeat that: Do. Not. Run. If you do, the ref will call you for a walk every time. The Globetrotters are known for sticking the ball up the back of opposing teams’ jerseys. And the best way to combat this trick isn’t to take a 20-second timeout. We simply don’t get enough timeouts to take one every time they stick a ball up the back of one of our shirts.

No, the best thing to do is to keep one foot firmly planted on the court and then spin and spin until a teammate can come rescue the ball from under your shirt. Don’t move that pivot foot. Fellas, you see one of your teammates spinning around and around, that’s a signal to run over and grab the ball from out of his jersey. Get there fast, ’cause he will get dizzy.

We simply don’t get enough timeouts to take one every time they stick a ball up the back of one of our jerseys.

Huh? Good tip, Williams. Everyone hear that? Williams says if you feel your jersey tighten around your stomach as if you were wearing spandex, that’s another good indication the Globetrotters stuck the ball up the back of your uniform.

Defensively, we’ve got to ramp up the intensity. Defense wins championships. Now, I know we don’t have a championship in this league. (It’s a league, right?) But we still need to make an effort. I’m talking full-court press for the entire game. I know, I know, it’s gonna be tiring. But we’ll train harder, build up endurance. Until then we’ll substitute a lot. We have to guard them constantly, even at mid-court. We’ve been burned too many times by that over-the-head, back-to-the-basket shot from the half-court line.

Now, you might think I’m being hard on you fellas. So I want you to hear this: What happens out there is not always our fault. It seems like every time we take the court against the Globetrotters the odds are stacked against us. How they get away with that “kick shot” is beyond me. And when they sit on the basket after a dunk, well, that should get someone ejected—or at least hit with a technical. Same thing with the trampoline. That’s just not fair. And when the Globetrotters bring a kid out from the crowd to make a basket, how on earth does the scorekeeper justify counting those points?

I know the crowd is against us. I’d be lying if I told you they root for us just as much as they root for the Globetrotters. But don’t take it personally. And more importantly don’t get angry about it. The people in the crowd are the ones who have water and confetti thrown on them every game. They look the fool, not us. Well, that is if we stop falling for that trick-ball-on-an-elastic-string gag. I’m even guilty of hitting the deck when that ball comes whipping at me, then pulls back at the last minute.

But no one likes a complainer. The refs, the crowd, the situation is what it is. We’ve got to respond with actions, not whining.

I’ve got a request into the commissioner to see if we can stop the Globetrotters from wiring their star player with a microphone. It’s distracting to hear him talk the whole game through the P.A. system. Especially when he’s cracking jokes, making those farting noises, and screaming while one of our guys is at the free-throw line.

Lastly—and I know this is on all your minds—the gambling allegations. By now you’ve probably heard that there’s an investigation into the activities of a certain coach. It seems that some are asserting that I bet on the Globetrotters every game. They point to the discrepancy between my pittance of a salary and my four homes in as many countries. To that I say … nothing. Seriously. I really can’t talk about the investigation.

Now let’s go win one for a change! Anyone know tonight’s spread?

Frank Ferri is a copywriter who thinks he’s funny. Visit him at ffcopy.com.

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