December 12, 2007
You're 23 years old. You live in a town with 45,000 people in it. Of that, only .1% is black (that's 45 black people). Jason Kidd makes more money in four minutes of game time than you make ALL YEAR. What in the world do you do with yourself?
I considered all of that and more while on my flight from San Francisco to Bismarck a month ago. I had pretty much all the answers to these questions already. I was just preparing myself. What I didn't have a clear idea of was the impending physical that was awaiting me upon touchdown.
See, I've written about physicals many times, but that's because something ridiculous always happens. Plus, since I did so many mini-camps, the summer league, an NBA training camp and the D-League, I've had six physicals since July. What does that really mean? It means that I've had my Spaldings grabbed six times since June. People who don't play sports may only do this once a year or so. Not me. I'm really, really good at physicals these days.
This physical was actually really short because they just used all the information from the Nets physical that I did in October. I just laid back on the examination chair while he checked my ears and whatnot. The doctor didn't even check my knees. Then, all too suddenly he says he has to do the testis check. Fine. Whatever. He wouldn't be the first doctor to tell me to pull my pants down. He would, however, be the first doctor NOT to ask me to. He literally strapped his gloves on while I was lying back on this chair, and put his hands down my pants to do the check.
Of course there were issues with this. Namely the fact that there were things in the way of his objective. I was laying down in a lawn chair-style seat in the mummy position. How in the world was he going to do this? I'm used to standing up, giving the doc a little room to operate, then getting on with my life. Mr. Unorthodox here wants to do this the hard way. It was like trying to get socks out of your duffle bag without taking out the clothes on top. All you end up doing is making the whole process more tedious and messing up your perfectly folded clothes, if you know what I mean. I sat there terribly uncomfortable as he attempted to navigate my "duffle bag" with his latex covered fingertips. Maybe I'm a little sick these days, but I distinctly remember thinking that I needed to blog this out. Maybe that's just where I'm at with all these mishaps during physicals.
"Let me just get this guy out of the wayyyy." His words interrupted my blogging thought process and fast forwarded my mind into panic mode. "There, got it. Now cough please."
You know when you get nervous and your voice cracks? My cough had that same nervous sound to it. There was just way too much going on right then for me to fully comprehend it. Luckily it was over from there. He took off his gloves, shook my hand and left the room. The only thing left was to clean the latex dust off of my "socks." Gross.
I left the doctors office and headed over to the local YMCA where 14 other guys were already loosely shooting around. Mo Baker and I talked about the physicals and he told me that the doctor said the same thing to him. I guess it was just his style.
After talking with Mo, I looked around the gym. Kevin Lyde hadn't arrived yet so there were 15 of us there. It was tough because I knew that six of these guys would be going home. There were allocated guys like John Burris, drafted guys like Kibwe Trim and returning guys like me all trying to make a team of 10 and compete to move on to the next level. Most of the guys had questions about Bismarck, about the league and about what there is to do for fun. As a returning guy I couldn't help but think that these new guys needed to focus on making this team first, because I, and the other returning guys, had no intention of going anywhere.
Coach brought us in after we caught up and messed around and let it be known that practice would start in a couple days. I was ecstatic because I knew what possibilities this season could hold for me, and I was determined to get in shape (I had taken a couple weeks off to get my knees healthy) and make an impact. Day one was now over. One hundred eighty left to go.
By the way, for those who were wondering, the details of the Boom Tho! movement can be found at TooMuchRodBenson.com. Oh, and I don't phone in my material. I write it all on my Macbook, baby!