Saturday, January 21, 2012
Let's Talk Basketball For A Minute
Kaimuki High School's senior varsity basketball team in 1973, number 20, let's talk about that guy.
In the first pre-season tournament, #20 was scoring 25,29,33, and 35 points a game - and this was against the bigger ILH (private school) teams, Kaimuki was in the OIA (the public schools) division. Number 15 was Rodney Loo, exceptional ball handler, very poor sportsman, and a very poor loser. Well, after that first pre-season tournament, #15's dad says to 16 year old Rodney, "If you want to be the scoring champ this year, you're gonna have to keep the ball away from #20" - this was from an admission directly from #15's dad a few years after high school. Well, #15 did a great job of doing that for the whole rest of the season. He would hang onto the ball no matter how many defenders were on him, and when he did pass, he'd be right there demanding the ball back. Kaimuki's coach, Stanley Taguchi, easily the worst basketball coach I've ever seen, sits by and lets all of this go on. #15 would take wild shots - from 25 & 30 feet out, with 2 or 3 guys all over him, while his teammates would be standing under the basket all by themselves. #15's final scoring average ended up at 21.something per game, #20's ended up being 17.5 per game. Most of #20's points were on offensive rebounds, and ocassionally when the other guard, Bert Ayabe - would get him the ball. Kaimuki, potentially one of the top 3 teams in the whole state - end up in 4th place in the OIA East Division. Rodney and I could have been an unstoppable force that year, but instead, it was Rodney Loo, with the help of one of the most inept basketball coaches I've ever seen (Stanley Taguchi), who handed over game after game, putting Kaimuki in 4th place in their division, instead of being in the State Tournament. In case you missed it, #15's name is Rodney Loo, #20 is Lee Jones, of the 1973 Kaimuki Bulldogs.
There's more, Larry Jones, #20's dad, had some enemies in that town. The referee association that referee'd the High School games, had a grudge against him - for being outspoken on their horrid tactics while refereeing the games. The worst thing was that they were "The most whistle happy bunch of blockheads I've ever seen" - quoted from Larry Jones' "Hawaii Sports Magazine". The high school games - consisting of four 8 minute quarters, and a 15 minute halftime, would last two hours on average - with a whistle blown on every play. One of their favorites was, "#20 you (that's pidgin for "you're") reaching" - REACHING??? I'm pretty sure there are no rules against "REACHING" in any rulebook that exists. Well, #20 shows up with a new move - fake one way, fake the other way, then go back the first way - #20 leaves guys standing out there many times. So, in order to show Larry Jones, the following week, after the referees' weekly meeting, the first time #20 uses that move, they call him for "travelling". Ok, so, next opportunity, #20 uses the move again - travelling. So, third time, #20 looks at the ref, and says, "Watch my right foot" - instant whistle - TECHNICAL FOUL on #20!!! What does Kaimuki's coach do - he says, "Eh, don't use that move anymore", and puts #20 on the bench for the next few minutes. Take THAT, Larry Jones.
So, Pisa Finai (Kahuku) scores 25 pts. per game, Rodney Loo does 21.something, I forget who was third, and Kaimuki's #20 is fourth - with 17.5 per game. Larry Jones has his Hawaii Sports Magazine - which comes out once a month on the same day every month. This month it happens to come out a couple of days before the main city newspapers are to publish their basketball All Star teams. Everybody knew who was going to be on the All Star Teams. Well, the Honolulu Star Bulletin's Sports Editor - Jim Hackleman - gets his hands on a copy of Hawaii Sports Magazine, sees the All Star Team (which is, again, the same as his), and hits the roof. One of the sports writers at the time described the scene as Mr. Hackleman throwing stuff all over the office, and screaming, "GET LEE JONES OFF THAT F'N ALL STAR TEAM, I DON'T F'N CARE HOW YOU DO IT, JUST GET HIM OFF THAT GODDAM ALL STAR TEAM!!!" So, they publish the results with the same other four players, but in Kaimuki's #20's spot is Floyd Jones. Floyd is not a starting player, scoring average was 4 pts. per game, just didn't do much on the court during the season. Same last name - to be able to explain away any "misunderstandings". What Mr. Hackleman did has to be one of the most cowardly things I've ever seen - he wasn't going to face Larry Jones - or anybody for that matter, he was going to punish a 17 year old kid.
This was my third glaring experience with gross envy, and cowardice., and I was only 17 at the time. I've seen many, many other times since, where it was the same ol', same ol'. It amazes me the lengths so many will go to in order to take down a person who works at something, gets decent at it, earns his way with it, not to mention revenge. For me, it's much easier, and actually rewarding, to work at my own thing, than to try to take somebody else down for their achievements, and what kind of person takes out his hatred for a full grwon adult on a 17 year old kid? I guess this happens so often that there's a name for the former - the "Crab Syndrome", and the latter would be plain, old fashioned cowardice. I've wondered lots - how angry a person must be to be able to scheme - with no other intent but to bring another person down - based on one's own envy. I'm in the middle of such a situation as I speak. I've won some and lost some. So far, it appears that I'm winning this one, and I have to say that I somewhat enjoy beating these people at their own game. Not so much fun when I get beat, but well, can't win 'em all, eh?
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