April 08, 2009
Remember those old movies like "Major League," "Angels in the Outfield," and "Rookie of the Year"? They all had a common theme to them. A team was way out of the playoff race, someone new joined the team (or something miraculous happened) and all of a sudden they started winning games and the season came down to one game. Well, there could be a similar movie made about my current team, but the only difference would be that nearly everyone on the Bighorns' current roster was acquired through trades within the last two months. There was no 12-year-old kid with Jordan-esque skills who joined our team and turned it all around.
When I was traded from Dakota, I believed I was going from a title contender to a league bottom feeder with no chance to make the playoffs. We were seven games below .500 and nine games out of the playoffs. After 15 games here in Reno, we are now finally a .500 team and only one game out with two games to go. We have two very winnable games remaining to achieve the seemingly impossible. At that point, if we did get in, nobody would want to play us, since we are the hottest team in the D-League. My summer vacation plans in Vegas might have to go on hold for the chance at a title. We’ll just have to see what happens this weekend.
Well, as a result of our hard play to try to make the playoffs, there have been a number of injuries. Alton Ford is playing with a strained hamstring, David Noel has a laundry list of ailments, and a couple games ago, I partially tore a ligament in my left index finger. Yeah, it hurts as bad as it sounds, but there are only a few games left so there’s no time for crying.
The biggest injury of them all happened about a week ago. In the heat of a game, I tried to save a loose ball from going out of bounds and, in the process, fell into a crowd of people on the baseline. I got up slowly, asked everyone if they were OK, and went back to the game, thinking nothing of it.
The next day we were watching film of the game and the play where I dove into the stands came up. Coach Humphries paused the tape and asked me if I knew what happened on that play. I, of course, answered no.
"You broke a little girls arm," he announced.
We all laughed. Clearly he was trying to pull a little joke to make me feel bad.
"Oh, yeah?" He smirked as if he knew something more. "Take a look at this."
He pulled out his iPhone and showed me a picture of one of the ball kids, a junior high school girl, sitting in a hospital bed with a sling and cast on her arm. She was the first person I hit on my way into the stands.
"Really, Coach? You’re going to wait until now to show me that? Real classy."
Now everyone was laughing at me and trying to make me feel bad. It worked. I spent most of that night thinking about something I could do for the girl, some way to say sorry, but my ideas all seemed pretty weak.
The next day, after practice, I was sitting in the locker room when McLovin walked in. His real name is Adam, but the first day I met him he was wearing a vest that was very McLovin. I digress. I was approached by McLovin who said he was approached by a "man in a suit."
"He told me to give you this," McLovin said as he handed me a stack of papers.
I looked at them closely. Considering the fact that I had never seen documents of this kind before, I was a little confused at first. But there was one part that was not confusing at all. In big bold lettering at the top of the page it read "Notice to Appear in Court." Yes, it would seem the family of the girl with the broken arm was suing me.
I read on. The confusing document was signed by the county clerk and her lawyer and sought punitive damages totaling $70,000,000 for ruining the potential career of a "future WNBA three-point specialist."
$70,000,000? Future WNBA three-point specialist? None of this made any coddamn sense.
As soon as I looked up from the paper to express my confusion to McLovin, our team owner yelled, "You’ve been punk'd!" He walked toward me with a camera laughing and smiling. The girl turned out to be his daughter. He’s a lawyer, so he knew how to draw up the appropriate documents, and had McLovin serve me the papers.
After the surprise was over, he had his daughter come in. Her arm is definitely broken, but she seemed happy and not at all angry over the situation. Here’s a picture of us with the papers I was served:
So, since I’m not being sued and her arm is still broken, what do you think I should do for her? Autographed shoes? Jersey? Miley Cyrus CD? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad who plays for the D-League's Reno Bighorns. When he's not busy breaking arms, 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.