HIT THE OPEN MAN

It’s a Wednesday night. Billy and Jimmy are hanging out in Farrell’s. Both guys just got off work. Billy’s an ironworker working on a building on Madison and forty-third over in midtown.  Jimmy’s a cop who works at the 7th Precinct in the lower east side. It’s a little after six.

“You see 30 for 30 last night on ESPN?” Jimmy asks Billy as he takes a sip from his glass of beer.

“Nah, it came on too late, I gotta get up at four in the mornin’,” Billy answers as he looks up at the TV which is showing highlights from game two of the World Series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants.

“You missed a good one,” Jimmy muttered.

Billy takes a sip of his beer.

“They’ll show it again, ESPN is always showing those shows over and over,” Billy counters.

Farrell's Indoor Sign

Both men visit Farrell’s every night after work to get together, talk sports and talk about life.

“Knicks looked good last night,” Billy mentions as he gulps down the rest of his beer.

“Duffer, gimme another,” Billy shouts.

Duffer is behind the stick tonight, he’s been working at Farrell’s for over 30 years. He’s a local guy and it must be noted, one of the better guys in the neighborhood. He’s also a retired fireman.

“Not sure how the triangle offense is gonna work,” Jimmy added.

“Well, if Carmelo buys-in to the team philosophy, anything is possible” Billy offered. “Not to mention he has to play defense and stop being a ball hog.”

The Knicks have not won a championship in 41 years. They have a new coach, a new offense and Phil Jackson is back at thirty-third and seventh running the show.

“How’s your kid like her new school?” Jimmy asks.

“She’s coping, but she’s bummed that Ford closed.”

Bishop Ford closed it’s doors this past June forcing many families to look for another school.

“It’s a shame, Ford was the place you went after you graduated from Holy Name,” Jimmy says as Duffer places another glass of beer in front of him and pulls some money off the bar.

“Yeah, that sucks,” Billy says. “But it doesn’t matter to me, I went to Jay, and my daughter loves Saviour’s.”

Saint Saviour’s is an all-girls high school down on sixth street.  Many girls from the neighborhood go there.

The bar begins to fill up. Duffer is joined by another bartender, he’s new on the job, Duffer will be training him tonight.

“I miss the Knicks teams of the seventies,” Jimmy admitted.

“Yeah me too,” Billy agrees.

“They played the right way. Frazier, Bradley and Willis.” Jimmy added.

“Don’t forget their coach, Red Holzman,” Billy shouts. “HIT THE OPEN MAN and SEE THE BALL!”

Both men laugh and reach for their glasses and take a gulp of beer.

“Just like our coaches at Holy Name taught us,” Jimmy says as he lets out a burp.

“I miss the days of waking up on Saturday morning, running to the yard and playing three-on-three all day.” Billy says. “Kids don’t play in the yard anymore.”

Both men polish off another glass of beer.

“We’ll never see another team like the Knicks from nineteen seventy-three,” Jimmy says.

“No doubt about that,” says Billy. “And with that, I gotta get outta here Jimmy, my old lady wants to go down to Snooky’s and see some friends.”

Snooky’s is a bar-restaurant on seventh avenue.

“Don’t get into any fights with the seventh avenue boys,” Jimmy reminds his friend.

Billy grabs his money off the bar, throws a ten down and shouts, “YO DUFFER, GIMME A CONTAINER TO GO AND GIVE JIMMY A DRINK!”

Duffer heads to the stick, fills a container and swipes the ten off the bar.  Billy’s out the side door, headed down sixteenth street on his way home.

Jimmy looks up at the television. Glances at all the people in the bar and downs his glass of beer.

“Duffer, gimme a shot of Johnny Walker.”

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12 Responses to HIT THE OPEN MAN

  1. Jim Casey says:

    Thanks,Red.
    That 30 for 30 show brought back great memories. Thanks to my basketball manager at All Hallows getting tickets, I had the good luck of being at the ’70 championship game. The noise level when the captain came out of the locker room was the loudest I have heard. Frazier had a game for the ages–36 and 19 assists.
    Those were the days…

    • hoopscoach says:

      Jimmy,

      We will never see another team like that. Also, all five starters came from a small school; no big-time schools like Kentucky, UConn, etc.

  2. Jim Casey says:

    Last year’s Spurs were pretty close in their pass first, unselfish play.

  3. Maureeen Rice (Flanagan) says:

    (sigh) Snooky’s is another one of those institutions that , as we say in NOLA, “ain’t dere no more”…I had a lot of good times there….I have to look for this 30 for 30 show about the Knicks, I have heard a lot of people talking about it…

  4. Dan Mahoney says:

    That 30 for 30 show was spot on! I remember going up to Bishop Ford and watching the championship game in the cafeteria of the school Bishop Ford used to do that with big sporting events. A bunch of Televisions were set up with tables and chairs surrounding them. Those events used to draw large crowds of people.

  5. jiimyvac says:

    I remember that year or so well.. the Jets won the Super Bowl in January 1969, Mets in October 1969, and the Knicks in May 1970… thought it was going to be like that every year … never came close. We beat Baltimore in the WS and the Super Bowl and the Bullets in the Eastern finals…. great year…

  6. Maureeen Rice (Flanagan) says:

    Thanks for fixing the link, I was able to read the story and enjoyed it….

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