The whole basketball thing got me thinking: I had a really bad temper when I was a kid. Like, really, really bad. Before we launch into this, allow me to offer my deepest apologies to those I offended, wronged and injured along the way.
Let's start with that same sport. There was this one specific game that, close to halftime, showcased me in all my b-ball glory. A career argued by some to be headed straight for the pros. There was even talk - murmurs in the bleachers, rather - of me forgoing college to enter straight into the NBA draft. And all of this at 16! It was a lot for a 5-foot-8-inch nerdy white kid to handle, what with my ability to dribble skillfully with my right hand, and poorly with my left. (It was fine, I just stuck to right side of the court and, voila: problem solved!) Who wouldn't have wanted to scoop up such hot, budding talent?
Before the half, I guess I fouled another player "egregiously." I think I elbowed him. But then a weird thing happened. In the way Bruce Banner busts through his clothes to become the one, the only Incredible Hulk, a rage wave overcame me. The ref called for the basketball, and instead of obeying him I turned in the opposite direction, lifted up the smooth, orange ball, dropped it and punted it down the court. It hit the gymnasium's ceiling, all eyes following its ascent, closely watching it ricochet like a pinball among the rafters until it finally landed in the upper rows of the opposing team's stands.
That poor ref. Those poor people. Everyone! Aww. What in the hell was I thinking?! The gall! The ref didn't even know what to do. Guy probably had a steady day job, refereed on the side because he loved the game that much and had now spent several years supervising uncoordinated suburbanites as they launched three pointers and drew nothing but backboard. And now this little punk has done drop kicked the ball the entire length of the gym? You've got to be kidding...
Amid incessant boos from the entire gym - opponents, opponents' parents, teammates, teammates' parents and, obviously, my own parents - both refs decided, rightfully, to eject me from the game. This was a town/city/district first (hence the confusion regarding the punishment). I couldn't play in the next handful of games, and they were a bit reticent to let me play again at all, the first reinstatement game of which we had the exact same ref.
I was humiliated.
Many years before the famous b-ball-punting crisis, my parents tried to get me to take up golf. People who know the current version of me are probably already laughing at this. I know I am! Well, early one summer morning I attended my first golf match. The grass was still freshly dewed as us pre-teens lugged our heavy bags around the links. Before hole nine I decided I greatly disliked a certain player in our group. He was a big bragger, and made it a point to verbally coach each shot he took, squeezing in even more boasting in between our own shots. He was actually pretty good, which only further pissed us off since the rest of us were pretty pitiful players.
Again, I reached that point, that crux where people gasp at what you're about to do or do do. Said kid hit an ego streak, and as he stood there jabbering no more than 20 feet away I instinctively grabbed my driver from my bag and hurled it boomerang style toward his head. He ducked, but the implications of what I had just done were not lost on anyone. I even scared a Canadian goose away, and those things are pretty nasty! By this point we were in view of parents, who all came running over to scold me. This was supposed to be a gentleman's game, for crying out loud! Awwwwww. No gentleman here.
Needless to say, I walked over and picked up my weapon, putting it back into my bag for the last time ever.
Soccer! Well this was bound to happen, if not based off of statistics alone. I've played more soccer games than any other sport, and I wasn't half terrible at it either, which sorta made it more enjoyable! This anecdote might be the most embarrassing of the three since I was the oldest at this point in time. I think I can introduce these quicker now: heated game, opposing player I didn't like (either very talented or a big talker) and me being really ignorant. That's the recipe.
There we were, but this time it was worse because I physically did something to someone. Ugh. The guy was very small - he could have been a walking stuffed animal. Very compact in every which way. After a verbal assault on my playing, I approached the boy and picked him up. I picked him up! He didn't stop me from doing this, which surprised me. I had no real plan in mind after this, as I hadn't expected to get close enough to him to cause harm!
I had him in the air, his stomach sort of by my face and him yelling at me to put him down, put him down, etc., so I threw him to the side, sort of like forest adventurers throw brush over their shoulders while safariing. I tossed him up and he fell down, down, down to the ground and hit it kinda hard. He said, "Ow!" and by that point the whole game had stopped and I was labeled an ass (yes, rightfully so) and removed from the field at once. Awwwwwwwww.
Don't you learn, boy?! Geeze. What was wrong with me? I remember listening to a lot of Wu-Tang Clan back then, reciting popular hooks like, "Cash Rules Everything Around Me/CREAM, get the money/Dollar dollar bill, y'all," so maybe that contributed? But I am better now, so no worries.