I wanted to let all the readers of Container Diaries know that I have left Jackson Community College and have taken the boys varsity basketball head coaching position at East Lansing High School in East Lansing, Michigan.
Take it easy, take it easy. Before you ‘freak out’ wondering, ‘what the heck does he mean by freak line’? Let me explain.
Right before a full court basketball game between two teams, you have a warm-up procedure. Usually it’s two lines on opposite sides of the court. One line dribbles in and shoots a lay-up, the other line rebounds. Players switch lines and repeat the process.
We started every practice at Holy Name with what we called a ‘lay-up line’. My main man Jackie Ryan from East 5th street coined the term ‘freak line‘. What he was trying to tell us was instead of the normal dribble with your right hand and shoot a right-handed lay-up on the right side, do anything you like. In other words, get ‘freaky’.
As we got older, we were able to perform all sorts of different moves to the basket. I’d cross over my dribble and shoot a reverse lay-up. I’d even speed dribble to the wing and shoot a pull-up jumper.
There was Chrs Robinson, Orlando Pabon, Glenn Thomas, Kevin Mahoney, Jimmy Wheeler and of course Brian ‘Larry’ Lang all taking turns on the ‘freak line in the school yard.
I was never so excited as to the first time I dunked a basketball (yes this 6’1″, maybe 6’2″ white guy was able to dunk). It happened down East 5th street where we were messing around after a night off playing pick up ball.
I was feeling good that day. I had fresh legs and the ball had a grip. I started way back beyond the 3-pt line and dribbled in, I took off and threw it down.
Back to the freak line though.
Usually before basketball games you have music playing in the background; you know, to get you pumped up. They’ve been doing it for years.
Back in the day, when our main man Gerard Trapp from Howard Place played for Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, (Remson Street to be exact) the music they played during their warm ups are still in my head. Stevie Wonder’s ‘Sir Duke’ and ‘Car Wash’ by Rose Royce.
Good freak lines always has good music.
Back in the day, I had a ton of friends in the neighborhood. One family I spent a lot of time with was the Cullen’s. They lived on Windsor Place. There was Frankie, Jimmy and Dave; they were good people, still are.
As of late, Dave has been a frequent contributor in the comments section (thank you David, your words are top-notch).
Thinking back, out of the many things we did as kids, imitating big league ball players and their batting stance was one of our favorite things to do; didn’t matter where we were. It could be in the girls or boys schoolyard playing pitching in. Could be in the lot playing hardball, the street playing whiffle ball or in the diamonds playing for Holy Name baseball. We’d also hang out on his stoop and one kid would get into the stance and we’d try to guess who it was; If you guessed right, it’d be your turn to get int your stance.
I came across some guy on the internet they call ‘Batting Stance Man’. LOL. I really like him, check out the video, he’s pretty good. I’m sure you can find more clips of him but I thought this one was interesting with Manny hanging out with him.
We would imitate George Brett (my favorite), Rod Carew, ‘Yaz’, Dave Parker, Pete Rose, Dave Kingman and Willie Stargell. Who could forget Joe Morgan with his ‘chicken wing’ flapping behind him.
Those were the days my friend, those were the days.
A good friend from back in the day, Bay Ridge native Dennis Nolan, is going back home (coaching-wise that is). Dennis was named the new boys varsity head basketball coach at Bishop Ford, his alma mater.
Dennis and I go back to the late 1980’s, early 90’s when we both coached at Ford; he was the junior varsity coach., I was the freshmen coach. We had a ball (no pun intended).
Do you want to hear something crazy?
One day we were walking back to our office after practice, the one we shared in the back of the varsity locker room; the stereo was playing, but no one was in there. A Bob Marley song was on, I believe it was ‘Buffalo Soldier’. So Dennis and I started signing real loud; “yoy yoy yoy yoy, yoy yoy-yoy yoy…” You know the chorus I’m talking about. Marley at his best.
We were having fun.
This morning I was listening to Marley’s smash hit ‘Jammin’ when the phone rang, it was Dennis sharing the news with me that he was named new coach at Ford.
How crazy is that?
For a quick read into the hire, read this story by clicking here from the New York Post for all the details.
“I wanted to leave on good terms,” he said. “I’m an alum from here and everything I’ve learned as a basketball coach, I’ve learned from the coaches here. In my heart I always knew I’d come back, I just didn’t know in what capacity.”
Congratulations Dennis and good luck.
Did you miss many days of school as a student at Holy Name?
Come to think of it, I must’ve missed a lot. Because I’ll tell ya, some of the everyday things that hit me, catch me by surprise.
Why didn’t they teach the following items while we were going to school? What in God’s name were they screaming at me about?
How come no one told me…
I would have to pay bills like the water bill, the electric bill and the rent each month? And if I got behind, bill collectors or the mean old landlord would come a calling.
How come no one told me that things would not be so easy like waking up very early in the morning to get my kid ready for school and to head off to work?
How come no one told me I would gain weight, (especially around my mid-section) lose my hair and slow down?
How come no one told me I would have to work hard to make money, get paid a salary then keep track of my money?
How come no one told me my child would ask for things all the time and that I would have to say no to her? (Thus, making me feel bad)
How come no one told me that If I read a lot of books, newspapers, etc. that my vocabulary would improve?
How come no one told me that someday, when I’m in my 40’s that all my friends I used to hang out with would no longer be available because they have a family to raise and work to do?
I guess life is all about figuring it out on your own…Or maybe I was absent that day.
Most of the time u are growing up, people tell u what’s wrong with u. the coach tells u, parents tell u, teachers tell u when they grade u. I think that’s good in the early stages, ’cause it helps u develop skills. But at some point in your life, I think, when u are in your teens, u look in a mirror & u have to say, despite all the bumps & warts, “I like the person I’m looking at, & lets just do our best.”
Detective Tom Doyle has passed away. Death Notice from the NY Daily News.
DOYLE — Thomas P. (Ret. N.Y.P.D. Detective) of Staten Island on July 7, 2010. Companion of Louise O’Connor. Father of Brigitte McCue, Tracey Golding, Gretchen Mandaro and Christopher Doyle. Brother of Denis Doyle, Dorothy Figlioli, and the late Eileen Shirley. Also survived by sixteen grandchildren. Funeral from MATTHEW FUNERAL HOME , 2508 Victory Blvd., S.I. on Saturday 8:30 A.M. Funeral Mass St. Thomas the Apostle Church 9:30 A.M. Interment Moravian Cemetery. Visiting 2-5 & 7-10 P.M. In lieu of flowers donations to the William O’Connor School would be appreciated.
A few months back I wrote a blog entry on the man everyone in the neighborhood was familiar with…
Did we, as kids growing up in the 70’s have sleepovers?
The past two nights my daughter Taylor has had multiple friends stay over for the night.
I hope everyone has a great weekend and please… stay safe!
Don’t drink and drive and get back quick after you light the fuse!
Sparklers are a safe way to go…
Happy 4th to all…