January 05, 2009
I haven't been home for Christmas in years. When my family found out that I would be opening presents, eating dinner and delivering a high dose of Christmas cheer — and boom-tho-ness — over the holidays, they were jubilant. I had a very merry Christmas, which then turned into an Emerald Bowl celebration, which then turned into a happy New Year in San Francisco.
Then on Jan. 2, I made the decision that was three weeks in the making. I decided to return to the D-League. It didn't even take five hours before I was on a flight to L.A. to meet the team. When I saw all the guys from the Dakota Wizards at the airport, it was like I had never left. I know them and they know me.
The next day I was in uniform, back to the trusty old No. 0. After three weeks of mostly lifting weights and running on (and breaking) treadmills at 24-hour Fitness, I was thrown into the fire. It seemed like before I knew it, I was on the court, guarding my boy C.J. Giles in a real game at Staples. It was a heck of a transition considering I spent most of the previous day walking around in my Stewie Griffin slippers (more on those in another blog). I could feel my legs working themselves back into shape with each step that I took.
The next night in Anaheim my legs felt a little better and we got the win, even though our coach got ejected. It must have been a pretty terrible situation for him too, because Anaheim’s locker room is like an underground bathroom with a few wooden lockers and nothing else. It was like the ref put coach on an hour-long time out. Had we been in L.A. for his ejection, he could have watched on a plasma television, surfed the web, eaten the finest fruits and cheeses and had a few drinks — hardly a punishment at all.
I do have to note that there was a fan at the game who had a brand new pair of PONY’S on his feet. He also happened to be the loudest fan in the arena. He took note of my PONY’S and then we kinda became friends. When coach got ejected, my new friend even volunteered to coach our team.
"I hear you guys got a coaching vacancy!" he yelled at us.
Anyways, I played limited minutes the past weekend due to lack of game-ready stamina and legs, but I fully expect to be ready to go in time for the D-League showcase which starts tomorrow. I’m already in Utah, readying myself for the biggest games of the year on a few days of game experience. It should be an adventure.
So, what does my return to the D-League mean? It means a return to bus trips and Holiday Inns. It’s a return to man-to-man defense. It’s a return to purple Pony’s. It’s the return of No. 0. It’s the return of Boom Tho. It’s the return of a dream. It’s the return of fun.
I have a lot of big goals for this year, now it’s time to get them done. See you in a nearby city.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad who plays for the D-League's Dakota Wizards. When he's not busy breaking treadmills, 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.