Friday, June 26, 2009

Drafting Dreams

Remember when watching the NBA Draft still left a feeling of "one day, that could be me"? Those days before the spirit crushing of 'cuts' in high school sports, or a time before 'playing time' became an issue. A simpler time when playing was just playing; not trying to impressive or prove your manhood on every single posession. With the NBA Draft taking place this morning (or night for those lucky few in the Pacific Time Zone,...not GMT+2) I had a profound sensation of years past, and the wonder and awe that came with seeming giants walk on to a stage, hold a randomly colored jersey and an ill fitting hat. The mystery and allure it created was enough to get any kid away from SNES and in the drive way shooting jump shots until his arms went numb. Of course, the sheer reality of poor genetics, ashtma, or just plain lousy athletic ability squashed many of these dreams right around the time when you started to notice girls. But this morning, seeing flashbacks to previous drafts, even highlights of Charles Barkley walking to the podium in a burdandy suit, or big Shaq Diesel looking like the happiest kid, and even the rain man, Shawn was like being 8 again, thinking that one day that could be me.

And then Stuart Scott had to say this: "Number 5 pick, Rick Rubio is the first player to be selected who was born after 1990"

Well, thanks Stu. I don't feel old at all.

And in a completely unrealted topic, I've told all the kids I coach in basketball to only refer to me as "Coach Bombay" and we repeatedly chant "2018 is our time to shine"

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Daye Tok r Jobbbss"

Random notes from a week of Intrigue and Suspense

-Bulgarian with excellent English skills asks "Are you from Utah?". I said no, and asked why he made this assumption. He told me "Everyone from Utah is coming to Bulgaria to take our jobs".....and then stunned silence.

-Was told I look like a hippie and offered a 100 lev to cut my hair. However, the man offering the money was rocking a glorious Billy-Ray mullet, with more than its fair share of "party".

-Saw 'Terminator: Salvation". Final count of scenes with Christian Bale yelling: 11

-Danced with a babba, showed bulgarians how to do the salt shaker move (thats all I got) and then was freaked by another babba.

-Met a Canadian paratrooper on shore leave from Afghanistan....ay

-In Bulgaria, before you drink it is customary to toast with the words "Nas Gravi", which translates to "to your health". In a particulary occurance, Bulgarians like to show off their foriegn language skills and say "cheers" around me. Now, on the basketball court, whenever I sneeze, the kids say "cheers".

And its summer offically. Take it easy everyone; the calendar says so

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"You guys want to basket?"

Roughly 1/3rd of my life is consumed by by the semi-religion known as basketball. Luckily, I have discovered a group of like minded individuals who live and breathe b-ball (or as it is commonly referred to as "let's play basket"). I've been playing 6 days a week (Sunday is 'Grey's Anatomy' day) and there is a constant 6-10 people playing with me. Some days I will play with kids born after Y2K, other times it will be high schoolers and even a few guys older than myself. No matter the age range, its good times. A few highlights:

- Some one asked me "Who is better: Kobe or Lebron?" and I started to break down their respective games, when a boy walked by and said with complete confidence "Jermaine O'Neal".

- Middle of a game, tied up, 2 points away from the end, and someone casually walks off the court, lights up a cigarette, takes a couple puffs, and rejoins the game.

- Playing with the 2 foot terror squad aka 3rd graders, I dribbled around one then went for a lay up. One kid, Mitko, demanded the ball, proceeded to jump up and down, dribble as fast as he could and throw the ball somewhere in the vicinity of the hoop. And then proclaimed "As sum Tobeee!" ('I am Toby). Which led to everyone else on the court trying to dribble wildly, and anoint themselves "As sum Tobe 2!", "As sum Tobe 3!", etc. I was told I could have 'Tobe 0".

- A new verb has sprung up: 'I kobied that!"

- No matter how many years pass, fake retirements, bad movies or new stars emerge, one constant shall remain in Eastern European basketball courts: Michael Jordan is still king.

[I always forget to bring my camera, so I don't have any pictures. This image seems to do a good job illustrating my job in teaching basketball....or not, just makes me laugh] Hope all is well across the pond, in it, and all around it.

p.s. Its Panda-monium!

[Care of "warmingglow"]

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bulgaria and YOU

Culture shock can be a strange experience, not unlike a hangover or turf toe (well, not really,...) but-....wait,...

Ok, culture shock can strike at anytime; anywhere; there is no stopping it!


So I made this video with the help of Greg and Glenn to illustrate the finer points of Bulgaria vs. America. Enjoy (Or don't which case feel free to spit in 4 days of all-nighters trying to finish this)