Monday, April 26, 2010

This Is Not the Way to Teach Sports Terminology

"Hey guys!" I yell up to the boys excitedly yesterday afternoon.  "Come down here. The Celtics and the Red Sox are both going for sweeps."  They hurdle themselves down the stairs as if I told them that they could have ice cream for breakfast - not that I know what they do when they have ice cream for breakfast.

My five year old is particularly excited.  "What did you say about the Celtics?" He asks. 

"The Celtics are trying to beat the Miami Heat 4-0 so they can go on to the next round of the playoffs.  It's called a sweep."  Before they groan about having to clean up their rooms or the toy room, I start to explain the concept of the "sweeps."  I then explain that the Red Sox are also going for the sweep against the hapless Baltimore Orioles.  Although the season just started for the Red Sox.

My seven year old looks at me slightly amused and completely confused.  "They're still playing the Miami Heat?  Didn't they just kill them a couple of days ago?"  This might be a little tougher to explain than I thought.  Maybe I should go outside and mow the lawn.  "Who do they play if they beat Miami?"  He continues. 

"They will probably play the Cavaliers."  A collective groan emanates from the boys's direction, as if we should just annoint the Cavaliers the NBA Champions.

My 5 year old still doesn't get it even after the Cavs explanation.  "So if the Celtics and Red Sox both win, will they play each other?  Or are they both winners?"  I shake my head.  Undeterred, he then explains how he "swept" me in a couple of games of Around the World a couple of days earlier.  I let him win, by the way.  "What happens if they don't win?  Will they go home?" 

It's difficult for me to continue to explain this type of terminology.  Concepts like "sweeping" a team in a playoff series or a three game series in baseball gets lost when regular season or playoff structures are only understood on the most basic, rudimentary levels.  I do happen to convince them to sit down with me to watch the games with me, after their Mother agreed to let them come inside for a breather.  My seven year old agrees only so long as we don't watch the NFL Draft.  I'm about to tell him that I just wanted to see if the Patriots would select Tim Tebow when I instead offered not to watch any more of the draft.

Game 4, Celtics-Heat.  We pick up the game at the end of the First Half.  The Celtics were plagued in the First Quarter by turnovers (losing by as much as 17 points) but begin to turn things around in the Second Quarter to draw within 6 points at halftime.  The Celtics even pull ahead by 6 points as the 4th Quarter starts.  However, 46 points by Dwyane Wade - including 30 in the second half - was too much for Boston to ultimately overcome.  Heat 101 Celtics 92.  "Why is #3 talking to his hand?  That is so stupid!"  That was the one highlight from an otherwise excruciating game - Dwyane Wade screaming at his hand after making a couple of run-of-the-mill three pointers.  Oh, that and our five minute conversation about why Glenn Davis doesn't want to be called "Big Baby" anymore.  Count the three of us on the side of "Big Baby" versus "Glenn."

Game 3, Red Sox-Orioles.  As the Celtics game mercifully ends, I switch the Red Sox back on.  At 2-19, I'm thinking that the Orioles will be much easier to sweep than the Heat.  As I explain that to the boys, I'm reminded that I shouldn't jinx them.  So they understand jinxing a team or a player, but they think that the Celtics and the Red Sox will PLAY EACH OTHER if they both sweep their series?

This isn't going much better though as the Red Sox blow a 4-1 lead in the Seventh Inning, highlighted by a Miguel Tejada home run off Hideki Okajima to tie the game.  I would make a joke about Tejada's use of PEDs to muscle the ball over the Green Monster, but people in glass houses and all....  The Orioles then take the lead off in the 10th inning off the back of the Red Sox bullpen, 7-4.  A valiant rally by the Sox in the bottom of the 10th Inning falls short as the Orioles win just their third game of the season.  Orioles 7 Red Sox 6. 

It was an unsuccessful Sunday in these parts, as neither team could complete their sweep.  It's not the end of the world of course and my five year old summed it up perfectly.  "The Celtics are going to sweep Miami on tomorrow!"  Sounds good to me.

photograph courtesy of Getty images

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What Could Be Right With The 2010 Boston Red Sox

So much negativity is not a good thing.  It eats away at your soul, leaving a festering wound that can only be remedied by eating away at it some more.  As Rick Pitino, in a rare moment of clarity, said all of those years before, "All the negativity in this town sucks!"  I can't help but agree with him after reading, listening and watching all of the naysayers for the past three days after the Red Sox were swept by the Tamp Bay Rays in a four game showdown this weekend at Fenway Park.  But is there anything really wrong with the new look Red Sox? 

It's not a surprise to learn that negativity is only good for those who sell it.  In our local sports market, negativity gold diggers include Dan Shaughnessy,  Michael Felger, and Tony Mazzerotti, to name a few.  They sell negativity because that's what gets people talking; and when people start talking, they start to read and listen more; they start to buy more newspapers and watch more commercials.  Their ratings go up when things go wrong.  I'm a victim of this as well (I keep telling myself) because I start talking back to the radio and the TV when I listen to some blowhard talk about the Red Sox these days - not because it irritates me to listen to them - but rather because they might be right this time. 

I'm going off on a tangent.  You see what negativity can do?  It starts to make you lose focus.  Back to my point.  Who really cares about David Ortiz's and JD Drew's decrepit swings or Marc Scutaro's complete lack of range?  I understand that the Red Sox should just buy a pitchback for their pitchers since the defensive part of their catching staff is atrocious.  But ask the Yankees about Mark Teixeira this year.  Every team has concerns this early in the year.  More importantly, the Red Sox are 6 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays and a smidgen less behind the New York Yankees.

Interestingly, though, I think I've discovered the problem with the Red Sox this year - albeit in only 13 games.  Lack of hitting, spotty starting pitching, surprisingly mediocre defense and general lack of effort are all factors in what I will call Chemistritis.  Chemistritis is a knack for teams with numerous changes in the roster to experience a lull in performance as the season starts.  Spring Training is not a good barometer for understanding how the lack of team chemistry will affect wins and losses - the most important statistics in baseball.  And teams with new (and startingly rich) blood need some time to mesh as a unit.  I'm not a sabermetrician (Thank God for small favors) but wins and losses really are the most important stats in Baseball.  The most wins during the regular season gets you into the playoffs and the most wins during the playoffs wins you the World Series.  Readers from MIT will now sigh, shake their heads and stop reading at this point.  But I'm right.  John Henry and Theo Epstein would probably agree with me.

The case study for chemistritis has to be the New York Yankees over the past 10 years.  It seems they have new players trucked in every year.  Despite landing the biggest free agent every autumn, sometimes talent, luck and early season schedules simply does not determine a team's performance early on in the season as much as team chemistry does.  As demonstrated below, the Yankees made the playoffs despite poor beginnings in 4 of the last 6 years:

2009  14-16
2007  14-16
2005  11-19
2004  9-11

Don't ask me about the other years, the Yankees started off pretty well those seasons - ruining my point and all.  Similar to the 2010 Red Sox, these other Yankees teams made substantial changes during the previous offseason.  Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia et al all came over in these years.  These large egos and even larger pay checks had to grow accustomed to being part of a team rather than the team.  Not only that, these guys had to find new homes, get their families in order, make sure their three Mercedes and the family Bentley were shipped properly.  They had to figure out club house dues, the training staff, where to go when they get to the park and which locker was theirs.  Like all of us transitioning into new jobs, we get ourselves straightened out and then we focus on becoming part of the team.  At least the Red Sox and the Yankees have the money to spend on new players.      

You have 4 new players who are expected to make a dramatic impact on the Red Sox this year.  Between Lackey, Cameron, Beltre and Scutaro, our home town team committed almost $30 million dollars this year alone on new talent.  Further, Mike Lowell was shown the bench after he couldn't pass a freaking physical (turn your head and cough Mr. Lowell) and Jacoby Ellsbury was asked to move to Left Field.  I know.  These guys are all scuffling a bit now.  But a lucky break, a no-hitter or a game winning home run may kick start a moribund season.  Something that brings the team together is usually all that is needed to get a bunch of baseball players to start acting like a team. 

In other words, Chemistritis usually doesn't last.  Hopefully the negativity won't either.  But I digress.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Cleveland Cavaliers Will Win it All

"The Cavaliers are the best team!"  Words uttered by my Celtics-loyal 7 year old the other day.

"What about the Celtics?"  I asked him thinking that perhaps he just forgot about his favorite basketball team.

"They're my FAVORITE team," he begins, "but the Cavaliers have Lebron James.  He's so awesome!" 

And so it goes.  Less than two years removed from their 17th championship, the Celtics, primarily the same team as that Championship team from 2 years ago, have seemed to have aged in something other than human years.  KG looks old and slow.  Paul Pierce looks old and slow.  Rasheed Wallace looks old and slow.  This 50 win team has actually had two distinctly different seasons.  A blistering 23-5 start that included a nice opening night win against the Cavaliers.  And a very mediocre 27-27 finish that included locker room chemistry issues, players tuning Coach Doc Rivers out and the Coach himself admitting that he'd rather be home than coaching the Celtics.  It has been frustrating to watch, actually .

Contrast that with the James-led Cavaliers, owners of the best record in the Eastern Conference despite losing their last four games and despite arguably their second best player (Shaquille O'Neal) has been hobbled all year and their fifth best player (Delonte West) is simply nuts.  They have steam rolled through the regular season and appear to be ready to claim their first Championship.

The question isn't whether the Cavaliers are a better team than the Celtics in 2009-10, but rather, can the Celtics win a series from the Cavaliers if they were to play each other?  A quick peek at the four most important factors for series play - Starters, Bench, Coaching and Hometown crowds - will help me decide (like I need to go through this know who would win).

1.  Starters.  These teams, incluiding  King James, are evenly matched to start the game. 

PG  Rajon Rondo vs. Mo Williams.  Adv. Celtics
SG Ray Allen vs. Anthony Parker. Adv. Celtics
PF  Kevin Garnett vs. Antawn Jamison.  Adv. Cavs
SF  Paul Pierce vs. LeBron James.  Big Adv. Cavs
C  Kendrick Perkins vs. Anderson Varejao.  Even

When the Celtics starting 5 are out on the floor together, they will stick with the Cavaliers for most of the game.  I predct this even in a grueling series such as this.

2.  Bench.  The beginning of the Second Quarter, when the benches begin to be cleared out, demonstrate Cleveland's superiority.  The Cavaliers showcase a strong bench led by J.J. Hickson, Big Z, Delonte West and a returning Shaquille O'Neal.  On the other hand, the Celtics "showcase" a listless Rasheed Wallace, porous defensive stalwarts Nate Robinson and Marquise Daniels, and a bunch of stiffs (with all due respect to Michael Finley who can still make the occasional 3 pointer and Glenn "Big Baby" Davis who is the only Celtic player to give any effort on the offensive boards).  Cleveland has a big advantage when the Second Quarter starts.  Any time the Celtics bring out a bench player, except for Tony Allen, the Celtics are losing not only scoring, but also swagger.

3.  Coaching.  A coach who doesn't want to be coaching any more versus a coach who shouldn't be coaching anymore.  Pick 'em, cause I can't.

4.  Homecourt Advantage.  Having just recently attended a game at the new Garden, the crowd had trouble getting going.  Between the lazy, disinterested play, all of the technical fouls that has become an epidemic for this team and the 17 previous banners, I can see where the crowd's boredom is coming from.  Conversely, the Cavaliers are a fun bunch of guys to watch, led by the boisterous and playful King James.  The crowd is desperate for a championship and you can feel it through the TV.  Even Shaquille O'Neal appears to be enjoying himself.  Couple all of that with the fact that the Cavaliers will enjoy one more game at home, and this can only be classified as a huge advantage for the Cavaliers.

Back in 2008, the Celtics needed 7 games and home court advantage to dispatch the young Cavaliers.  Since then, the Celtics have gotten measurably worse and the Cavaliers have gotten measurably better.  No need for 7 games if they play each other.  Cavaliers win 4-1.

picture courtesy of

Monday, April 12, 2010

Time to Come Back to the NHL - JMR's Redemption Part 2

It was quite a game.  As you read in Part 1, it had been a long time since I had seen a game.  April 13, 1997 put an end to my love of hockey with that last game in Hartford.  The Whalers and I both left Hartford at the same time, never to see each other again.  Until, that is, my sons started showing interest in the Boston Bruins.  I was hoping their fascination ended with rooting for the Bruins and not with dragging Dad to a rink in Bourne for 3am Sunday morning practice.  We'll see.  I would be the one with the Starbucks coffee cup and a dirty look on my half-awake face.

My son took the yellow hanky that he received as he walked in and put it under his seat.  "I'm not going to waive a yellow towel around, Dad."  I don't blame him, although I would have used it to wipe the popcorn and candy off his face, at least.  Waving a yellow towel around in the air at a hockey game seems a little overdone anyway.  Isn't this what Steelers fans do?  Most others decided to waive their flags as the faceoff occurs, however. 

A lot of action in our end to start the game and before we knew it, the Boston Bruins had taken a 13-1 lead in shots on goal.  It seemed that the Boston Bruins had a 20-1 lead in scoring opportunities, too.  At least that's what I think after hearing the moaning and groaning as the puck whizzes by the Hurricans goalie Cam Ward.  (Oh did I tell you that I had to name the 5 best Bruins on the team?  I had my head down trying to think of the best five Bruins.  Dennis Wideman and Tim Thomas came to mind. ) Luckily our seats were in the corner where the Bruins shot twice, because if we were in the other end we would have been watching the game from the scoreboard.   The First Period ended scoreless, although 34 shots on goal were recorded in the period.  It seemed that the Canes had created some momentum for themselves and headed into the Second Period with the man advantage.  Or so I thought...

The next sequence is a testament to Dad always being right.  As my son was asking for ice cream or some other sugar-laden crap, I kept telling him - let's go wait in line with a minute left in the First Period, because if we wait until the Period is over, we'll be waiting in line even longer when the Second Period starts. 

"No I want to see the end of the Period!  The Bruins might score a goal!"  If only he knew what he would miss with his hubris. 

Dad's right again.  We wait in line for 20 minutes to get Reece's Peanut Butter Cups and water and we're waiting in line when the Horn blows indicating an apparent Bruins goal.  But the TV hanging over the Concession Station is on what seems like a 30 second delay.  As soon as we see the goal on TV, the Horn blows again.  Wait, was that from the TV for the first goal, or did the Bruins just score another goal?  Everyone waiting in line was just as confused.  The confusion had everyone buzzing and then the horn sounded again!  3 shorthanded goals on the same penalty or was this some sort malfunction?  Should we get out of line and get back to our seats?  Are the Hurricanes channeling the 1982-83 Whalers?  Was Jean Claude Van Damme playing goal again?  The Bruins scored 3 shorthanded goals in a little over a minute!  And we missed them all.  I hope that candy tasted good, little buddy!

We do finally get back to our seats just in time for me to explain the two replays that occurred in the Second Period - a disallowed goal for the Bruins and an amazing play where Patrice Bergeron, in full sprint, had to stop a puck from going in when an errant pass almost went in for an own-goal because the Bruins' goalie was pulled for a delayed penalty.  That was really unbelieveable to watch in person.  At the end of the Second Period, the Bruins were leading 3-2.

The Third Period featured the highlight for us.  It was Fan Appreciation day.  The Bruins, in their zeal to empty the coffers of all of the swag that they had accumulated over the course of the year, were giving away everything but the seats we were sitting on here.  My son was suffering from a sugar coma at this point, but was roused back from his daydream to look at the socreboard with me to see if we would win anything.  We had decent seats and they always take care of the people in these seats - even if we could only afford these seats once a year.

Jerseys off our back?  No.  Tickets to playoff games or games next year? No.  Lunch with some dude I've never heard of before?  No.  One of the last giveaways, though was free burritos from Chipotle.  I don't even know where there is a Chipotle around here, but when our section was called we all went crazy.  Free burritos!  On top of that, it was like I had won a double prize because my son wouldn't come near a burrito unless a t-shirt was wrapped in it.  He was still excited though - enough to brag to his brother when we got home.  I guess they played the Third Period too.  The Bruins scored an empty net goal and finally clinched a playoff birth with a 4-2 victory.  A great game to have witnessed live. 

It's time to come back.  I came to this game because the Hurricanes and the Bruins are the obvious front runners for my new rooting interest.  My Sons' favorite team and the old Hartford Whalers.  Unfortunately, fandom isn't as cut and dry as that.  I need to find a different team.  One without much chance of moving or being disbanded.  I will need to choose one before the NHL Playoffs end.  Don't get me wrong, the Harford Whalers are still my first love.  I had a lot of great memories with my friends and family at these games; I regret though that I couldn't take my kids to the games.

Anyway, my boys have become hardened Bruins fans, but I can probably talk my daughter into rooting for my new team.  She is still young enough to believe every word I say.  Yeah.  It's time to come back.

picture courtesy of


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Time to Come Back to the NHL - JMR's Redemption Part 1

It's time to come back.

"Is it OK if I wear this hat?"  I ask my 7 year old son as I show him my Hartford Whalers wool Starter baseball cap.  I don't want to embarrass the boy, but I bought this hat in 1996 at the Whalers Pro Shop located at the long since razed Civic Center Mall, and I want to wear it.  I've only worn it sparingly since April 1997.  And it makes me sad to see it nowadays.  Not teary-eyed - mind you - the tears stopped on April 13, 1997, just sad. 

"Will you take it off before we get to the game?"  He asks me as he pulls on his Boston Bruins jersey while we're driving to the game.  Uh, no - that's the point.  We're going to see the Boston Bruins play the Carolina Hurricanes in Boston for the Bruins' last regular season home game.  I swore off hockey that day almost 13 years ago, and if I'm going to subject myself to a game, I'm wearing this hat.  My Brendan Shanahan jersey was thrown out (all right I taped over his name with the word "Traitor" first) shortly after his trade to the Red Wings for Keith Primeau.  What a jerk.

My favorite players growing up were Rick Ley and Gordie Howe.  An autographed hockey stick and hockey puck somewhere evidence that idoltry.  The Whalers practice rink was located in my hometown and I was able to see some of their practices.  (Thanks, Dad for that.)  I went to games in Springfield after the Civic Center roof collapsed in 1978.  I witnessed 6 straight First Round exits through the Adams Division, including a wonderful first round against these same Boston Bruins highlighted by me relaying the play by play for friends using my walkman.  I had beers at the Russian Lady, Coach's and Chuck's Steakhouse before games and great Mexican food at Margaritas after.  I bought season tickets with my Brother that fateful year that they had to get 13,000 season tickets to stay in Hartford, even though I lived in Boston at the time.  I was too young to remember much about the WHA days, but if you want to know something about the 1980's or 1990's version of the Hartford Whalers, I was your man.

"Is it okay if I root for the Bruins?" He then asks me.  Thinking that I might make him to root for somone else.  I don't blame him.  I was gritting my teeth for most of the ride in.  It was the traffic, I told myself.  He then adds "Are we almost there?  I don't want to miss any of the game!"  I enjoy it when he's genuinely excited about something.  Even if, when he says "game," he actually means "popcorn."

"That's fine." I tell him. "You know, you'll probably save me from having beer dumped on me again, like the last time I went to a Bruins game."  I then recount how I received tickets back in 1998 for a Bruins playoff game against the Carolina Hurricanes and was treated - well let's gently say - unfairly by the hometown fans.  I can just hear the yawn coming from the back seat, though.

1997 was a tough year.  I witnessed the Whalers' last game when Kevin Dineen scored the game winning goal to win 2-1 over the Lightning.  The players applauded us and threw jerseys into the stands as the entire Brass Bonanza played for the remaining diehards crying in their seats.  They had to change their name from "New England" to enter the NHL in 1979.  They lost their home after the aforementioned Civic Center collapse.  Their GM traded their best player (Ron Francis) to curry favor with the owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins in order to get a job a few years later with them and Brendan Shanahan pulled a Terrell Owens to get out of town in 1995.  But this was the toughest one.  After that game, hockey meant practically nothing to me.  It was dead.

12:30pm.  Boston, MA.  I'm surprised.  Except for numerous double glances at my hat, no one stops to make fun of me.  Maybe they pity me.  Considering its been 13 years since the Whalers moved to North Carolina, I don't blame them for taking pity on me.  As we sit down in our seats, I see two women fully decked out in Bruins gear coming into our row.  Okay, let's see what they will have to say when I show them the hat.

"Excuse me sir.  Our seats our next to yours."  They hiss. 

Actually they were very pleasant.  They were in fact amused by my son investigating the fresh squeezed lemonade (with half a lemon inside) like it was a hydrogen bomb as they walked by.  At the same time, I scan the seats around me looking for old Whalers jerseys.  Blue and (mostly) Green forever I tell my son; Blue and Green forever.  I don't think he heard me since I find him staring out at the rink.  After I told him that we may get a puck, he examines the glass and ice to see at which angles a puck might come whizzing by our seats. 

Referees and players start mulling around; it's almost game time.  We listen to Rene Rancourt "sing" the National Anthem and the PA announcer go "woo."  Game time.  I start sipping on my beer while my son starts eating a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup.  We're both ready for this game, but for different reasons.

Part 2 - JMR's redemption, but how does it turn out? Coming Later.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We Don't Care that the Harlem Globetrotters are More of a Show Than a Team

We want to be entertained!  That's what the kids always tell me and the missus every Saturday and Sunday morning.  Maybe not in so many words, but that's certainly the jist of their looks last Sunday morning when they roused us from sleep at 6:30am.

"Can a friend come over?"  No, not at 6:30 in the morning.

"Will you play basketball with us outside?"  No, it's 6:30 in the morning.

I can, however, accommodate my daughter's request.  "Will you put a show on for me downstairs, Daddy?"  Sure.  Wow Wow Wubbsy or Tom and Jerry?

"Are the Celtics playing?"  No, it's 6:30 in the morning.

Luckily, I had the foresight to see what was happening this bleak, cloudy Sunday.  The Boston Sports Blogapalooza was cancelled, so we were free, not having planned anything that involved the five of us driving somewhere far.  I checked that morning and yes, Harlem Globetrootters tickets were available.  Maybe they weren't as popular as when I was a kid, or maybe basketball fans were waiting for the Celtics game later that evening.  Either way, our Sunday afternoon itinerary was set.

1pm.  Boston, MA.  Oh no! We're walking around the Garden and notice that no one was holding beer cups.  I know that this is predominantly family entertainment, but isn't that all the more reason to sell beer?  Before I started becoming really concerned, my wife notices a couple of similar-minded parents who indicate that the beer lines are long, but they are just around the corner.  Of course.  I also notice a solitary kiosk selling Globetrotter trinkets, jerseys and balls.  Little did I know that it was a harbinger of the chaos that I fondly remember as "Halftime."

We sit down to watch warmups.  One thing I notice is that the Washington Generals have a couple of good outsde shooters.  They actually look a little frisky this afternoon. (Hey, I know, you don't have to tell me that the Globetrotters are going to win.)  The Globetrotters on the other hand can't hit a shot over 12 feet.  One of the guys, I don't remember his name, kept the tradition alive of trying to hit a half court shot - to no avail.  Another player, Cobra Coley, was trying to hit a three pointer while sitting on the visitors' bench.  The one he made garnered quite a cheer - myself included.

A staple of Globetrotters basketball is then featured, the Magic Circle to the tune of "Sweet Georgia Brown."  Admit it, you're probably whistling as you read this.  Brings back great memories of Curly Neal, Meadowlark Lemon and Sweet Lou Dunbar, I tell you. 

Although it lasted about 10 minutes too long, Sweet Georgia Brown then made way for player introductions.  Nothing unexpected except that we discover that the Generals' coach is a Yankees' fan.  What a startling coincidence!  Booing ensues on cue.  At this point, even my seven year old asks me when the game is going to start.

First Half.  The friskiness is evident as the game starts.  The Generals  come out hitting virtually every shot that they take.  Meanwhile, the Globetrotters' signature weave, interspersed with some outside shooting keep the Globetrotters in the game.   A couple of fan favorites are also showcased - hitting a player/referee with a bucket of water, hypnotizing some players and an appearance by Globie the Mascot.  The kids are going crazy.   I have to admit that this is really entertaining.  The Generals, though, lead at halftime, 32-31.  I can imagine the anti-pep talk being given to the Generals as we speak.  Miss more shots.  Smile more.  Play NO DEFENSE!

Halftime.  I thought we were in a Moscow bread line during halftime. I was genuinely concerned about the boys during the crush for Globetrotter basketball and wristbands.  Thre were at least three hundred angry kids and their parent holding out cash loking for stuff.  The two 70 year old guys at the one kiosk selling Globetrotters paraphernalia looked like they were selling these things with their hands tied behind their backs.  Like girls after a Justin Bieber concert we get out of line a little bruised, but otherwise fine.

Second Half.  Surprisingly, the Weave really starts to confuse the Generals defense.  They can't stop the onslaught of alley-oops, dunks and uncontested lay ups.  Their three point shots seem to be missing their mark on the offensive side of the ball too, the Trotters start dominating the game. 

One new invention that I had never seen before was the Football play.  Special K Daley donned a Tom Brady jersey and called a play that included a touchdown pass/hoop to Cobra Coley.  The best part was that they then completed the whole play backwards.  Very entertaining as they nailed the reverse look exceptionally well.  I can only imagine how this plays in Oakland. (Do they boo as Special K puts on a JaMarcus Russell Raiders jersey?)

Finally, the Globetrotters put the game away 77-73.  The Harlem Globetrotters record of no losses to the Generals since 1971 remains in tact.  The kids leave the back staircase of the Garden literally skipping while dribbling their new Harlem Globetrotter basketballs.  Another successful Sunday, I can safely say. 

"Can a friend come over?"  My five year old asks me as get into the car - an hour later after getting lunch.  Maybe tomorrow.