To say I was an athlete in high school is actually quite comical. True, I ran varsity track my junior and senior years and played varsity basketball my senior year, but to be deemed an athlete in high school terms one must actually play. I guess I do hold some sort of a record... I was the only player to play under 20 minutes in an entire season and still receive my varsity letter (I don't know if that is an actual record or not.) So what could possibly happen in a mere 20 minutes of playing time? Well, we're talking about Frank Cole here aren't we? 20 minutes, unfortunately is an eternity.
Now I can't go minute by minute, because a good chunk of that time was spent running back and forth down the court, not knowing what the heck I was doing, guarding the wrong guy, etc., etc. I can, however, break them up into 5 glorious minutes or I suppose you could call them moments:
Minute #1 a.k.a. The Beginning - Being the last person off the bench, I developed somewhat of a Rudy-like quality. Like clockwork at the last 2 minutes of every home game, the crowd would start chanting "Put Cole in! Put Cole in!" I was flattered at first... cue gratuitous Sally Field quote... "You like me! You really like me!" Of course, the flattery wore off as I began to realize that my so-called fans really thought I stunk at basketball, plus we weren't a very good team and more often than not we were losing during those final 2 minutes, so the chanting periodically sent our coach into a rage. He would stare at me, swearing, and say "You ain't goin' in Cole! You ain't goin' in!"
Finally, Coach Hudsucker (that's not his real name of course, I changed it just by the off chance he can actually navigate through the world wide web... highly unlikely... and somehow discovers my blog, thus igniting a defamation of character debacle that I frankly... no pun intended... don't really need right now) gave in to the chanting and I got my shot at glory. The result 2 minutes of me not running the designated offense and probably 2 or 3 turnovers.
Minute #2 a.k.a Will He Ever Score? - We were probably nearing the half way mark of the season and I'm embarrassed to say that I had let down my fellow chanters by not putting the ball in the hole. Finally, I get fouled and... huh, what's this, Franky's goin' to the free throw line? These should be gimme's right? Normally, yes, but throw in the added element of the entire gymnasium falling eerily quiet, everyone holding hands in silent, solemn supplication, praying that I will deliver some sort of cherry on the top of their athletic's sundae and you get... an air ball for the first shot and a goal quivering clank off the front of the rim for the second.
Minute #3 a.k.a. "Bleepity Bleep Cole, don't let that bleepity bleep dunk on us!" - Ah Coach Hudsucker's timeless advice and instruction to me one evening when we were down big to a rival school and their all stars were putting on a dunk contest for their home crowd. Might I add I was one of the tiniest players on the team and ridiculously pale (not that that has much to do with anything,) but my instructions were clear... the show stops with Cole! I had little more than twenty seconds to gather my bearings when one of their stars swiped the ball from our point guard and took off down the court with full intent of ripping the rim off the backboard. I was a decent runner and so I caught up with him at right about the moment he was selecting his launch zone. I fouled him pretty hard and he was a giant and scary and I think he wanted to decapitate me, but he didn't dunk it.
I looked up at Coach Hudsucker expecting some sort of praise, instead he said, "Bleep it Cole! Settle the bleep down!" What was he talking about? I kept my end of the bargain. Exactly one minute later I got another chance to show coach that I could follow instructions. The same giant stole the ball again and was off to the races. He was much faster this time, to the point where I couldn't get in front of him. So instead, I leaped at him, curling my body up like a wrecking ball, and knocking him completely out of bounds. I admit that it hurt a little and the whole crowd was ready to jump me. Coach Hudsucker immediately pulled me out of the game for the remaining 25 seconds and said "Bleepity bleep it Cole! What the bleep got into you?"
Minute #4 a.k.a. The Circus is in town! - It was during an away game when another opportunity for me to score presented itself in the form of a fast break. I actually stole the ball and was fast enough to beat the opposing team's players down the court, that is all of their players except their center who was camping out on the defensive end. He was about 7 feet tall (probably not really, I was just very hobbit-like,) and a great shot blocker, so I knew that I had to do something spectacular to protect the ball and make the basket. I opted to spin around, thinking that I would fall into his body, thus drawing the foul and if I was lucky I might have enough momentum to make a lay-up.
Unfortunately, he being the psychic Goliath mind-reader, sensed what I was planning on doing and simply moved out of the way. Oh how I wish I had a video to show you the grace and beauty of me flailing about backwards and rocketing the ball up over the back board. Coach was actually speechless and my acrobatics did accomplish silencing the profanity in the game for a few moments.
Minute #5 a.k.a He Shoots he Scores! - There were 6 of them. 6 wonderful, unforgettable points... all season long. My first was at home and the seats were packed. We were actually winning the game, so coach felt relaxed when he sent me in. I caught the ball at the top of the free throw line and darted in for a lay-up. Pandemonium! The place was deafening. All for 2 little points.
My second was a free throw! Yep, I ended the season shooting 25% accuracy from the free throw line.
And finally, the crowning jewel was at an away game. We were down big and coach was feeling reckless. He pulled me aside as I was checking in. "Cole, bleepity-bleep it! I don't care where you're at when you catch the ball, I want you to shoot it!" All right, seconds elapsed and I caught the ball right where the baseline met the sideline, smack dab in the corner. Somewhat of a difficult shot for me, plus I was facing the crowd. But I remember glancing down at Coach and seeing his beat red face and mustache quivering with excitement, (Shoot it, bleepity bleep it!) I spun around, defender in my face and flung the ball like a grenade. Fortunately it went in! Not only that, but it made the nightly news. That's right, Frankie Cole, 6 points and all, made the news more times than 75% of the rest of the team. It was one of the plays of the day, immortalized forever on the tube.
In conclusion, I wanted to clarify something. I might have falsely lead you to believe that my coach had a bit of a potty mouth and that would be unfair to him. He would want me to write that he invented swearing and that sailors automatically blushed whenever he appeared. Coach Hudsucker (again not his real name,) swore when there was no good reason to do so, plus his swearing didn't always make sense. He had his favorites, which one of them I believe was Bleepity Bleep it Cole! If you don't believe me, he actually managed to get angry at me after the season was over, I had graduated and I was scooping him some ice cream at my place of employment, Baskin Robbins.
"Cole, what the bleep are you doing?" Coach said.
"Uh... I'm scooping you some ice cream," I replied.
"Bleepity-bleep it Cole, you don't know bleep about ice cream!"