Monday, March 16, 2009

Knocked Out

Yesterday was my god daughter’s first birthday party. As always, I got her the most educational and highly annoying gift I could find. My brother is my first son’s godfather and for years he took great pleasure in buying him complex toys that would take me hours to put together (the most obnoxious being a race track ‘cyclone’ that would zip Matchbox cars up and around).

NOTE: Please don't question why I'm even involved in this ridiculous Catholic role playing. There are things I do to maintain peace in the family and refusing to be godfather to my brother's daughter would have gone over badly. I even told him ahead of time, 'You know I'm not religious at all, right?'

When he had his daughter, I vowed gift giving vengeance! So far, she’s received one of those musical/learning tables with all sorts of flashing lights and annoying little kid musicals, a stuffed animal that laughs and coos when you tickle it, and a simple charm bracelet. When she gets older you can bet some sort of Hannah Montana (or whatever the rage is by the time she grows up) will be gift wrapped for her pleasure and his annoyance.

Revenge really is sweet.

The combination of beautiful weather, my sports addicted nephews attending the party and my brother’s recent basketball hoop installation meant one of our usual family gathering routines was a given.

Playing Knock Out.

For those unfamiliar, Knock Out is a basketball game that can be played with 3, 30, or 300 people. You need two basketballs and everyone figures out who is going in what order. The first person will shoot from a predetermined spot (usually free throw line). If he hits his shot he gives his ball to the number three person in line while the second person in line takes his shot. If he misses, he needs to track down his rebound and score before the person behind him scores. If the person behind him scores first, person number one is knocked out. Ditto for everyone following.

If you miss, you better get the ball and score before the person behind you does. That’s the basic premise. As you can imagine, this game quickly becomes chaotic and exhausting. The beauty is any number of people can play and you really don’t need much space. Yesterday we had my three nephews, my brother and myself playing.

Obviously, if you hit your opening shot on a consistent basis you have a better chance of winning. Once I got my groove on, I won twice and got knocked out 4 times. However, it’s the last game that was not only highly entertaining, but was likely the most bizarre game of Knock Out in history.

It started off with my youngest nephew being knocked out early, followed by my oldest nephew. I was following my brother who missed his opening shot. I shot my opening in an attempt to knock him out, but missed. He missed an easy layup while I went to get my rebound that was bouncing around his feet.

As he was going up for his second layup attempt, I gave him a little shove so he would miss (no idea if this is legal or not, but most of our games turn into a free for all, anyway). He responded by kicking my ball into a bunch of trees. As I chased mine down, he missed another layup. Badly. His miss came right to my feet, so I booted his ball to the same area mine wound up.

We both race over, he gives me a shove and kicks my ball further away from the basket. I grab it, turn around and see he’s running for an easy layup. Fuck it. From 30 feet away, I square up and launch a shot over his neighbor’s power lines. My brother reaches the basket, gets himself set for an easy shot and watches in horror as my ball comes out of nowhere and swishes through. Never even got his shot off.

Now it’s me and my nephew left. While everyone is still picking themselves off the ground from my last shot (it really was a thing of beauty), nephew misses his opening shot. He’s quick, though, and gets his rebound as my opening shot is in the air. He quickly puts up a layup and both balls…

…stop. Both our shots were going in at the same time and the balls jammed into the hoop. We stared, dumbstruck, at the two basketballs stuck at the top of the iron opening. We asked for a ruling, but it was time for cake and ice cream so we just called it a tie. Probably the first official tie in Knock Out history.

We followed up with some HORSE, but after that Knock Out game everything seemed a bit anti climatic. It was an instant classic. Too bad nobody was taping it.

Today’s distraction: Some questionable comic books. Quality over quantity, please!


Hammen said...

ESPN instant classic!

We call that game 'Lightning' in my parts.

Anonymous said...

That was like the Mighty Ducks game of Lightning (sorry, that's what I call it too). Cake eater.

BeachBum said...

Lightning. I like that better.

Either of you play a version of 52? It's basically a thug version of 21 it's every man for himself and anything goes (fouls, traveling, up and down). You can't go over 52 points or you go back to 21. One person would start with three free throws. If he missed any it was a free ball. If he hit all of them, he takes the ball from the top of the key and tries to score on the other players.

We played that one handed tip ins on missed shots were 6 points, two handed were 4 and we always played with a 3 point line (when possible). We had some epic battles in college (often missing classes because games ran long).

I miss those days.

Anonymous said...

Never played 52, but played plenty of man-maker games of 21 where there were basically no rules and certainly no fouls. Tip-ins always resulted in the tipee going back to zero, but were only worth two points to the tipper.