Fri Apr 03 12:00pm EDT
After about a month as a Reno Bighorn, I've experienced many things that I couldn't as a Dakota Wizard. Some of these things were funny, some were surprising, and others were downright ridiculous. I've decided to list these things and keep it simple.
My teammate Alton Ford is a 6-foot-8-inch, 280-pound monster. I routinely call him a baby gorilla to his face. This is all a front though, because, despite his look, he's the biggest nerd I know. He's even more of a nerd than me. This is evidenced by his 18 hours of "World of Warcraft" play daily. Yesterday, I he told me he hadn't eaten anything all day. I was on my way to In-N-Out and offered to take him with me. Starving and hungry to feed his huge frame, he declined my offer because he was close to getting a new piece of gear for his creature. He didn't eat until like noon the next day. Clearly the health of his mythical warrior is more important than his own.
Last week, I went to the El Dorado hotel to watch some of the NCAA Sweet Sixteen with my teammates Alton, Richie Frahm (pictured) and Richie's wife. As we took our seats and watched UNC eliminate the Zags, a commercial came on that nobody really paid any attention to but me. It was the Burger King commercial advertising "BK Breakfast Shots." It showed a little person eating little breakfast sandwiches. Besides the fact that it's a ridiculous commercial, I noticed something else — the little farmer in the commercial looks EXACTLY like Richie. Check it out for yourself:
I'm surprised by my own play since arriving in Reno. As far as scoring and rebounding goes, I'm not that surprised because I've done that before. But, since this team has a different defensive philosophy than Dakota, I've been free to block shots (and, ahem, maybe get dunked on from time to time) like never before. In Dakota, I averaged just over one block per game. That's nothing to get hyped over. Since coming to Reno though, I'm at 2.9 per game, which I think leads the league since that time. I’m actually pretty hyped about that.
As a team we've been surprising the league by winning a good majority of our games. Most of the guys on this roster arrived the same time I did and in March the team went 8-4 as a result of the new life. If only we hadn’t started the season 1-12, we’d be in the playoff, and coddamn scary.
The other day Alton and I were at a buffet getting dinner. While we were in line waiting to be seated, a woman in her forties and her mother began to ask us the usual questions about our height and if we played basketball. No harm in that. Later, when I was waiting for my slice of prime rib, the woman who I now noticed had many tattoos, scraggly hair, and a couple missing teeth, asked me how much longer I was in town. When I told her that I only had a couple of weeks left, she suggested that I stop by the "White Horse" before I left town. I asked her what that was and she replied, "It's a brothel." Thanks, but no thanks.
We have a crazy rivalry with the Idaho Stampede. Their coach pretty much hates our coach. Our games have been ridiculously physical. I've witnessed yelling, screaming, techs and ejections. I wondered how this could come to pass in just one season. I was then told that over a month ago, with the score 99-91 and one second left on the clock, Patrick Ewing Jr. threw up an eighty-foot shot ... and made it, making the score 102-91. Why did he shoot it instead of hold the ball out of respect? Well, in Reno, when we score 100 points and win the game, all the fans get free ice cream. So, Ewing's heave was an attempt to score the fans a treat. What the Stampede saw was a disrespectful buzzer beater. Now there's a new rivalry. Go figure.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad who plays for the D-League's Reno Bighorns. When he's not busy blocking shots, he blogs one or two times a week on Ball Don't Lie. Read his archive, pay a visit to TooMuchRodBenson.com and always support the Boom Tho movement.