If you think someone who stands well over four feet tall wouldn’t have a lot of basketball memories, you’d be a total heightist, so stop it.
I previously wrote about the huge emotional scars I suffer from having had every shot I ever put up from approximately age 8-18 crammed down my throat by an *unnamed childhood friend, Steve Madden.
But until now, I haven’t mentioned the glorious, undefeated 1974 Intramural Basketball Association campaign at Norman High School that earned championship rings for the Vienna Boys Choir, a.k.a. VBC Bruins.
They say “defense wins championships”. “They” never saw the VBC’s patented “HERE! Offense”, executed by *unnamed VBC players (Steve Madden, Jim Reikowsky and mainly Todd Malmberg, whose motto was “if I touch it, I shoot it.”).
The VBC’s textbook execution of the “HERE! offense”, plus the strategic decision to keep me on the bench for 99.9% of the time, delivered an undefeated, championship season.
As importantly, it created a close-knit team that openly congratulated each other with comments such as, “Do you EVER pass the (bad word) ball, you (really bad word) (body part) excuse for a basketball player!”
Even after nearly four decades, there remains a tight bond with former VBC teammates. This bond, and our strict *policy, prevents this blog from pointing out that Todd, who also lettered for two years on the powerhouse NHS golf team, personally chose the stupid name “Vienna Boys Choir” because “I couldn’t think of anything else”.
We are also *unable to point out that it was Todd and his stupid jacket that almost ruined the brilliant 1974 Big Eight campaign of the Oklahoma Sooners basketball team. Todd and most members of the VBC Bruins had smoothly transitioned from being obnoxious high school intramural basketball players to being even more obnoxious members of Alvan’s Army. The Army was created to support All Big Eight Center Alvan Adams, but our primary focus was hurling venom and abuse at opposing players, and being even less hospitable to “zebras”.
Back then, the OU Fieldhouse was approximately the size of a one-bedroom apartment and the perfect venue for a fan club (read “your worst nightmare”).
Our seats were about six inches away from the court, directly under the north basket. We created the same decibel levels as a Boeing 747 engine with rocks in it.
If a zebra made a “bad call”, e.g. anything against the Sooners, ever, Alvan’s entire Army would erupt into a nuclear tsunami explosion of rage and death (we are talking about 18- and 19-year-old boys here who may or may not have consumed numerous adult beverages before every game).
When one notoriously evil zebra made what, in the trademark understatement of this blog, was the SINGLE WORST CALL IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE, Todd stormed onto the court and slammed his jacket to the floor. In a bullwhip like manner, the jacket’s bottom metal snap inadvertently flicked the zebra’s bulbous nose.
He did not react well. His expression reminded me of when my German Shepherd had innocently walked up to a cat, had his nose dotted, and then tasted his own blood.
Which explains why the enraged zebra charged at Todd, and why Todd furiously back-peddled into the safety of the Alvan’s Army pack. It was truly a Kodak moment.
Other brilliant moments included: enraging a huge, red-headed troglodyte whose name might or might not have been Rasmussan to the point that he fired a basketball right at Todd’s head, which, from our point of view, was a greater achievement than winning a Pulitzer; unveiling a huge banner saying Andy “Airball” Hopson when he stepped up to the free thrown line, totally destroying his concentration; getting a write-up in Sports frickin Illustrated magazine — an entire paragraph about Alvan’s Army which, according to Todd, “thankfully did not mention the unfortunate zebra nose-flicking incident”.
So we won’t mention it here either. What?
Click HERE for more Oklahoma humor and memories.