April 02, 2008
I'm not the easiest person to fool on April Fools' Day. The last time I remember actually being fooled was in 8th grade. I left my bag in class and went to the bathroom. When I came back, it was nearly lunchtime. I grabbed my bag and headed out to lunch quickly, without putting my books away. When I finally did stop to put my books in my bag, I opened my bag and dozens of tampons fell out with a note that read "April Fools!!!"
Those 8th grade girls got me and it hurt. Since then I have been like the ginger bread man. You just can't catch me. This year, however, 'Pardon The Interruption' got me with a story that Davidson and Kansas would replay the final 16 seconds of the Elite Eight game. It led me to realize that I believe television way too much.
I guess it's OK that I got got because I did my share of getting too. (Did you get that?) This year I deployed a pretty solid April Fools' joke. It's pretty tough for me to get people these days because they never take what I say on April 1st to be serious, but this year I pulled it off.
It all started on Saturday. After our loss to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, my teammate Will Frisby (pictured) decided to travel back to Bismarck with his wife, after getting permission from coach to do so. Since he wasn't on the bus, he didn't know what the mood was on the long trip back.
On Monday, I went up to Will's apartment and told him that after the loss, coach and I got into a huge fight about my playing time. I told Will that I told coach that if he wasn't going to utilize my skills appropriately, that I was just going to quit. I told Will that I didn't care how many games were left, I just wanted out. Will was listening very attentively. I told Will that I had just returned from a two-hour meeting with coach, Mike (our PR guy) and Tom (our GM). I told Will that after arguing the whole time that they decided that trading me would be the best option. I told Will that I informed coach that I wouldn't go anywhere except L.A. because I wanted to go home.
Will was stunned, but he believed it. He wanted all the details about the meeting. I told him that I expected to be traded within a few hours and that I had to go pack my stuff up. Right then my phone buzzed with an e-mail from Tom. The e-mail said:
Just talked with Coach and [your agent], call me later tonight and I will give you your itinerary for tomorrow's flight. -- Tom
I showed it to Will. He wished me luck as I walked back downstairs to my place.
I went into my room and packed up a few bags worth of clothes, then placed them right by the front door of my apartment so that it would look as though I was readying myself for a quick departure. Will came down to my apartment an hour later and paused as he saw the bags.
"So you're really gettin' outta here?"
"Yea," I replied, "you see the bags. Why what's up?"
"I don't know. Tom just e-mailed me," Will announced in a confused tone.
"Was it about me?" I had to ask even though I knew it wasn't.
"Naww, he just said he needed to talk to me."
The e-mail from Tom to Will read:
Will, need to talk to you about something, headed out of the office ... Call me on my cell phone when you get a chance. -- Tom
Will and I discussed the possible meanings of the e-mail. I told him that there was no way that my trade was going to affect him. I asked him if he had tried calling Tom and he told me that he had tried a few times with no answer. I convinced him not to worry until he talked to Tom about the matter. He did make it clear that he DID NOT want to be traded since there was only so much time left in the season.
A few hours later, while Will was at the movies, Carlos Powell went up to Will's apartment. Since Will wasn't there, Carlos showed the press release to Will's wife, Krissy.
Krissy came down to my room immediately. She questioned me about the situation. I told her that I didn't know anything about Will. All I knew was that I was being traded. I told her that I just got an email from Mike (PR guy) that read:
What's up man? Hey, I just saw this. Didn't know anything about it. When do you leave? -- Mike
At this point, P.J., the only guy on the team who I didn't tell what was really going on, came in and started talking about how it all had to be an April Fools' joke (see, there was a reason he wasn't in on it). His line of questioning led Krissy to question the validity of the situation. She still believed it to a degree, but she began to have her doubts.
She called Will, who rushed back from the theater. At about 10 p.m. that night, Will sent me an Instant Message that said that he knew it was a joke. He didn't sound convinced. He sounded like a man searching for answers in an answer-less world. Coach wouldn't return his phone calls. Tom wouldn't return his phone calls. Not even his agent (oh yea, I'm that good) would return his phone calls. The only thing Will could do to comfort himself was to believe it was a joke. I told him that I didn't know about him, but that he should let me know what happened at practice the next day because I wouldn't be there.
The next morning the team piled into the team van and went to practice without me. When they got there, Coach told Will not to dress and to wait for Tom. Will, who had convinced himself that it had to be a joke, started to worry once again. He had taken the joke theory as far as it could go, but now he wasn't being allowed to practice. He also assumed that I wasn't there because of a dentist appointment (I've been getting some work done lately). He tried to pull a prank on me by calling the dentist and canceling my appointment. Unfortunately for him the receptionist said "We're sorry Mr. Benson, you're not scheduled until the ninth." Will decided to call Tom once again to see what was up with this trade.
I was sitting in Tom's car outside of the gym when his phone rang.
"Will Frisby," he said as he read the caller I.D.
"Will, are you at the gym? I'm on my way and we need to speak in person."
Tom hung up the phone and we got out of the car. We walked into the gym, but I stayed back while Tom talked to Will. He let Will know the details of the trade and that he was going to go to Iowa for Aristide Sawadogo, a player cut during our training camp. Right then I burst around the corner and let him know the joke was up. APRIL FOOLS CODDAMIT! I actually got the last part on video:
Thus, Will got got. I had to involve Coach, Tom, Mike, his agent, our website guy, and 8 other members of our team, but I got it done. I guess I'm just really good at April Fools'. Just don't try to get me.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad who plays for the D-League's Dakota Wizards. He also blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Ball Don't Lie. Read his archive, pay a visit to TooMuchRodBenson.com and always support the Boom Tho movement.