Monday, January 9, 2023

Buttermaker's Revenge

 "Revenge is a meal best served cold."  John Creasy - Man on Fire

The problem with youth sports is with the adults.... Once again  Buttermaker here is coaching youth basketball, a hard thing to wrap your head around when one reads through the annals of the lounge but here we are.... funny thing is i appear to be a decent coach, (current career record 37-12) and being an ex hot shit high school baller who then played in college and was actually paid to play in what i termed the "rich guy league", the kids actually listen. I'm not just someone's dad pulling shit off the internet to teach, i've done it, and at a high level and these kids respect that.

This is my last year coaching. Next year Disaster goes to high school and then unless i decide to take the reins of some AAU team i won't get to coach him anymore. It's cool and that's how it should be. After Disaster broke his foot at hoops practice this summer we did everything we could to get him back in time for tryouts. He made it back six days before his school tryouts but missed the travel team tryouts, hence why i get to cheat with a B team. I have a couple of players (Disaster being one) who should be on the A team, Disaster would not only be on it but be a huge part of it as i can say in all honesty there's only one kid who is currently a better guard but Disaster is closing the gap... that kid is also going to be 5'8 while Disaster is already 5'10 and on his way to what the docs think is 6'3. Basketball is like porn, size matters. Of course all this i believe was documented previously so i'll just get on with shit now cuz this past week was a great time. 

This being my last go round i've dubbed it Buttermaker's Revenge Tour. The holiday tournament i entered was in a community i term the white privileged fascist asshole township. Having dealt with these people at different times and in different sports i can honestly say i believe the township has an asshole test you must pass with high marks in order to live there. These people suck. A few years back, at this same tournament when the I-mac played in it, shit kicked off and i had a coach actually step to one of my players after he committed a hard foul cuz the refs lost control of the game. As i calmly stated to said coach to never step to one of my kids i was being called all kinds of shit by the head coach and simply gave them that famous look that said, "don't try." Needless to say honcho asshole Fat Frank, the townships resident basketball administrator had much to say on the subject trying to get my player banned from the league tournament, which had nothing to do with the holiday one, while subsequently trying to get me suspended. He's a short silly fuck who drives a gigantic Maserati mainly to cover up for his deficiencies in both his height and what he lacks in his trousers. The guy talked shit on 5th graders for shit sake and according to people talked a bunch of shit on my current team as we played in the finals. 

Which brings me to this week's tournament. When i saw the schedule i shook my head and knew what was coming. When you get the host team in the first game of their own tournament you don't play five opponents you play seven. It seems there's an unwritten rule about this and sometimes the home cooking is so obvious it borders on the comical. I explained this to my squad before the game, i've been around long enough to know and i was not all that shocked when it came to pass. The discrepancy in fouls was 20 called on us to only 5 on our gracious hosts... and the game went to OT. Every time the ball went out of bounds it was mysteriously awarded to the host team, in fact we only got the ball once on the roughly 15-20 times where it wasn't blatantly obvious they touched it last and even then a few times they were awarded the ball. There was a play where the defender ran over my play player forcing the ball into the backcourt resulting in one of the worst calls of the game when we were called for over and back when my player touched it. I actually called timeout, walked over the ref who made the call and stated that was either a foul or a deflection but no way was it a backcourt violation, which was it? He looked at me blankly. I asked again and got the same dumbfounded gaze and told him that's all i needed to know. This idiot actually walked up to me after the game and said, "good game coach", to which i responded with a snort while returning the same blank stare. 

And yet even with all the shenanigans the score was tied with ten seconds left and we had the ball. Overtime brought the same bullshit calls and down four with 20 seconds left we hit a layup to pull within 2 points when i called a timeout i didn't have. As soon as i did it i knew i fucked up and told my team as much afterwards, Shitbag Township would have had to inbound the ball and we'd have a chance to steal before fouling. Our press is wicked and we turn teams over constantly so i shouldn't have called anything. The result was a technical foul, two free throws and the ball back. After the game their coach was giddy in the handshake line, smiling and telling me great game, blah blah fucking blah. I told him the same, good game and well done when what i wanted to say was what the fuck was that? you had the officials in your pocket we still should have beat you. How bad was it? i had strangers come up to me after the game and tell me it was the worst officiated game they'd ever seen. I had other coaches who saw it say the same, one of which had to play us the next day. After the game i told the team that we had our work cut out but that if we won the next two there was a good chance we'd get another shot at this team. 


TCB- as Elvis used to say. The next morning we went out and stifled our opponent to win 35-23, they scored 23 points in a 32 minute game. Our gracious hosts lost a high scoring affair which made us all 1-1 in the standings creating a single elimination playoff. Win on Thursday and play Friday night in the final. As my team loves to do we started slow and led 18-15 at the half with Disaster hitting a big three right before halftime. The second half we cranked it up and won 43-24. Shitbag Township was losing 17-9 at at the half of their game but (ahem) miraculously came back to win 37-27. The rematch was set. 

As the coach of impressionable youths i like to teach good old fashioned American values... my pre-game talk consisted of class warfare, how these kids living in their mansions thought they were better than us... and then i turned to the real crux, in the game of basketball you must crush your opponent, you must break them physically but most important mentally. Like i said good old fashion Merkin values. We were the better team, we had more talent, better coaching (ego much Buttermaker?) and now we just had to go out and show it. Before the game Shitbag Township's coach decided to come to half court where i was standing and yuk it up. He was all smiles while telling me he thought we'd be meeting a lot like this, meaning in the finals, i smiled and nodded while thinking no we fucking we wont' cuz your team isn't that good. I could tell from his demeanor he felt it a forgone conclusion his team would win. I relayed this to my team before the game and stated nothing pisses me off more than smarmy fuckers who think they have shit in the bag. Believing you're going to win is one thing, acting like a arrogant prick is another. 

Tip-off. The game was tight throughout but we jumped ahead 19-13 only to see ST battle back and take a 28-23 halftime lead. I'll even give smarmy prick coach credit, he made adjustments which made me make adjustments. It's actually fun to coach against other good coaches, he knows a bit about the game but i take great pride in never being outcoached and i'd be fucking damned if this prick was going to do that. So after talking with my players at the half we made another adjustment. Furious, my trusty assistant for my three seasons in charge, pulled the one kid aside and told him to attack the kid guarding him cuz he couldn't handle him. This player had some tough health issues and his brother had played for me previously, his parents actually wanted him to play for me, and watching him suddenly take over for a few minutes was awesome. He scored six quick points and suddenly our five point deficit was a one point advantage. 

Enter Nick Disaster... after scoring just two in the first half Disaster upped his game. He chased down a player with
an open layup and blocked it. With the game tight he hit a couple of tough jumpers and then drained a three pointer that gave us some breathing room. Smarmy prick made another adjustment to our pressure and kept it close which i countered with another move to keep us with a 4-6 point cushion. We started running the clock on offense, moving the ball and looking for an open layup, forcing ST to intentionally foul us to try and get the ball back. The hope was we'd miss our free throws and to be honest we haven't been the greatest free throw shooting team. Disaster got fouled and stepped up for a one and one. You have to make the first to get the second. Pressure. He dropped them both in the middle. In fact he'd drop four more in the middle sinking six consecutive free throws in the last minute and a half to effectively ice the game (he finished as my team's leading scorer with 15). My quiet assassin. He might talk a bit of shit but most of the time he buries the dagger then smiles at you. The other coach was screaming foul anybody but #21. His old man was beaming. 

There's a certain joy in watching your team celebrate in your opponents gym. That it was Shitbag Townships gym, with another one of their teams sitting on one end heckling my players, yelling shit at Disaster as he shot free throws, (at one point after making the first he turned around and smiled at them), made it all the sweeter. Add in the fact smarmy prick was yelling all kinds of things during the game, complaining about calls, something i found hysterical considering the previous game, and it was like drinking an ice cold beer on a hot day. Full disclosure, as the game went on things got less cordial between Smarmy and i, i got a bit tired of his screaming, "traveling" every time one of my kids dribbled and i pointed out right in front of him to the official, that his point guard carried the ball every time he was pressured. Then his kid tripped over someone's foot and when the foul was called i calmly stated it's not a foul if he trips over his own feet. Yeah, i was pushing buttons... he gave me a disgusted look and said something and i smiled. After seemingly wanting to be my best friend before the game he acted like a royal ass after. He could barely bring himself to shake hands after the loss and mumbled a barely audible "good game" to me. All class... minus the CL. 

And so it was that Buttermaker had his revenge... standing under the scoreboard as the parents snapped pics of my team in their champion shirts i was proud of my team. A shit loss followed by two wins where our defense smothered and then winning the title in front of a packed gym that was SRO, being heckled by kids, screamed at by opposing parents, i'm sure the denizens of Shitbag Township were irate as i took my team into the corner where we celebrated loud and long... how good was my team? even their old coach was smiling. (That's my boy Disaster on the right with his jersey off showing off the guns, lol!)

1 comment:

looby said...

Great to see a pic of you and Disaster after all these years, and well played indeed, against the other team and the ref! Very glad justice was done in the end (although I didn't realise it was such a passionate and sometimes dirty game). ALl the best to you and the boyos for 2023.