Ben's Babbles: I want my share of basketball riches too!

October 30, 2011

I need to call my lawyer. Before doing that, I actually need to get a lawyer.

See, there are some folks I need to sue.

A few weeks back I opened my copy of ESPN the magazine (Yes, I am one of the eight or so people who still receive ESPN the Magazine) and included was a story on alternative basketball leagues to the NBA during the lockout.

One of them was the mini-basketball league. A bunch of guys on the East Coast formed a league where they used a miniature souvenir-sized basketball and lowered hoops. They have gotten pretty famous, with millions of YouTube hits and a huge Facebook following.

It's a pretty hilarious concept. Those balls make for difficult shots and awesome dunks.

I should know - seeing as how I came up with the idea in grade school.

I was at the age that every basketball-playing boy goes through, where you just want to be able to dunk the darn ball.

The age where "Dad! Dad! Look at me - I can touch rim!" turns into "OH SWEET MOTHER MY FINGER!" as it gets caught in the net when you come up about 3 inches short of the rim with your 10-inch white boy vertical.

So like all boys who couldn't dunk, I lowered the rim. Just a foot (give or take a couple feet), so that it was low enough to get the ball over. Or so I thought, until I was rim-checked and wound up with a bruised tailbone.

So I switched to a small yellow rubber ball, which made it incredibly easy to not only dunk, but to hit three-pointers.

I played a few games with my friends. My younger brother refused to play with me when I could simply stop dribbling, hold the ball and dunk it over his head with barely a jump.

It's not my fault he was the shrimp of the family.

Once I turned myself into a dominating mini-basketball (or MBB as I called it) player, I took the next step and formed a league. Not a real league with real people, mind you, but a fake league. I drew up team logos and made a poster similar to one with all the NBA team logos I had hanging in my room.

Eventually I grew out of MBB. I could palm a regulation-sized ball. I could even dunk (if there was no wind, I had a decent start and no one tried to contest my shot). I still couldn't hit a three-pointer to save my life, though.

I have no idea whatever happened to my original drawing with the league. It probably got thrown away at some point.

And in an era before social media and web video, I have no other claim to mini basketball other than hazy memories and legend. But hey, that was enough for Abner Doubleday to be credited with inventing baseball, so maybe it's enough for me.

Still, perhaps I should launch a search for those drawings, because partially legible doodles from several decades ago are enough to give me intellectual property rights, right? Right? Anybody?

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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