It was in the gym at Our Lady of Angels Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. I was at an instructional clinic to learn the basics — how to dribble, shoot, make the two-hand chest pass, etc. After running the gaggle of kids through some drills, the coach running the show picked me and Thomas Summerville to help teach the group about defense.
He gave Thomas, my best friend growing up, the ball at the top of the key, and then had me turn my back to the basket. After showing me how to get in a defensive stance, he told Thomas — a quick, skinny kid — to try to score. Just before he blew the whistle, he turned to me and said one more thing:
"Don't let him get past you."
At the whistle, Thomas started dribbling to his right. I immediately speared my best friend, putting my shoulder square into his stomach and dropping him like a tiny sack of potatoes. I was thrown out of the clinic, and I believe I cried most of the way home.
I'd never actually written down that story before this morning. Reliving my introduction to the game feels fitting, though, since Kelly asked me to reintroduce myself to y'all. Here goes:
I'm Dan Devine. I've been writing at Ball Don't Lie for almost two and a half years, and a week ago today, I became BDL's new associate editor. Scheduling and Sloan kept me from saying a proper hello 'til now; I hope you will forgive me for being rude.
After spending the last 11 years living in the midst of Boston Celtics country, I'm now back in Brooklyn. I'm a fan of the New York Knicks and hilarity, two things that converge just about every single night. My writing has also appeared on FreeDarko, Stride Nation, PopMatters and a lot of thoughtful greeting cards, because I am very nice.
I will be writing jokes and not-jokes here every day, and I plan to try to have a lot of fun with both. If you want to engage me Kloutfluentially via social media, I'm on Twitter and Tumblr. Tips, suggestions and feedback are always welcomed at yourmandevine AT yahoo DOT com — I might still feel bad about knocking Thomas down, but I also still hate letting things get past me.