About Last Weekend: Two Days of Vengeance

BryantIn case you were out living a life of leisure, here’s what you missed in sports over the weekend.

  • Kobe Bryant, the Masked Mamba, scored 33 points as the Lakers avenged his broken nose with a 93-83 victory over Dwyane Wade and the Heat. “From this day forward, I shall never be seen without a mask,” Kobe said after the game, “and it won’t be this admittedly feminine Mardi Gras feather mask, either. I left my cool ones at home.”
  • Harrison Barnes, the Black Falcon, and Tyler Zeller, the White Peregrine, teamed up for 35 points as the no. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels avenged an earlier home loss with an 88-70 win over no. 3 Duke. “This here win’s sweeter’n a soapy bath with a tub full of debutantes,” said Carolina coach Roy Williams, as he fed Zeller bird feed in his office.
  • William Buford, the Columbus Cuckoo, nailed a jumper with one second remaining as no. 11 Ohio State avenged a home loss with a 72-70 win over no. 5 Michigan State. “I’m cuckoo,” said Buford after the game, and MSU standout Draymond Green nodded in agreement, saying, “Dude’s cuckoo, all right.” “What more can I say?” added Spartan coach Tom Izzo. “He’s cuckoo.” Thad Matta shook his head, saying, “I’m just glad he’s so cuckoo. So. Fucking. Cuckoo.”
  • Anthony Davis, the Blue Menace, scored 22 points and grabbed 12 boards as he and no. 1 Kentucky avenged that one time Billy Donovan jumped ahead of John Calipari at the buffet line of a coaches’ clinic in 1997 with a 74-59 win over no. 13 Florida. “HE ATE THE LAST OF THE PULLED PORK, LEAVING ME ONLY SLAW!” shouted Calipari, still enraged 15 years later.
  • Deron Williams, the Fat Cat’s Scourge, scored a franchise-record 57 points as he and the New Jersey Nets avenged the collapse of the banking industry with a 104-101 win over the Charlotte Bobcats in the banking capital of the south. “This one’s for all the thousands who were crushed by collapsing banks as they walked innocently along the street,” said Williams, who apparently took the idea of collapse too literally.
  • Rory McIlroy, the Belfast Cauliflower, shot a 69 at PGA National, avenging that time Tiger Woods nicknamed him the “Belfast Cauliflower,” to win the tournament and become the world’s no. 1 golfer. “I’d like to see anyone call me a cauliflower now,” said McIlroy, as reporters fervently wished he hadn’t worn an all-white outfit and permed his hair to invite the comparison.
  • Former Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the Maiden’s Mistake, is being investigated by the NFL for running a bounty program to avenge all those times people told him he had a small penis. “I don’t have a small penis!” said Williams in reply to any number of questions about the bounty program.
  • MLBPA union head Michael Weiner, the Urine King, said the leak of Ryan Braun’s test results was an isolated incident as he avenged centuries of ignorance about urine tampering. “The days of urine being ignored are over!” he shouted from the steps of his urine mansion, wearing golden vials of urine around his neck. As he basked in his glory, however, a pigeon flew over his head and ushered in the white fecal age.
  • The Seattle Seahawks, the Shame of the Northwest, signed running back Marshawn Lynch to a multiyear deal worth $31 million as they avenged all those bastards who won’t shut up about how cool Vancouver and Portland are. “Remember when Starbucks was cool?” said general manager John Schneider, wearing a Jay Buhner jersey. “Would anyone like to adopt one of Shawn Kemp’s illegitimate children?”
  • Revelation Monday time, y’all.

    On Friday, I asked for your most embarrassing sports moments, and I want to sincerely thank everyone for all the great stories. They kept me laughing all weekend, despite the evil empire beating Duke at home on Saturday night. The response was ridiculous, and I could literally do a top 100 without having a single stale story. And another top 100 with just stories of people having “accidents” during a game. But then my editor would kill me, so we’ll stick with Top Ten. If you didn’t make the list, rest assured that it’s probably just because in the flood of e-mails I didn’t have time to settle in and do this list justice. Anyone else making their own list might have 10 different stories. You’re all winners.

    Bonus: A surprisingly high number of the stories were super depressing.

    A buddy of mine, Derek, made his high school’s JV basketball team, but was by no means a stellar ball player. Good athlete for sure, but just not a gamer. His team is locked in a heated battle with a rival school — as much a heated battle as you can have between JV squads, I suppose — and his team is down two with only a couple seconds to go in the game.

    Suddenly Derek finds himself with the ball, and inexplicably the other team fouls him just as the clock is running out. The opposing coach is furious with his players, while Derek’s team is celebrating the fact that he can go the free throw line with no time on the clock and sink a couple free throws to tie the game and send it to overtime.

    Now there really is no shame in a JV kid missing a couple free throws that could have tied the game. That’s a lot of pressure for anyone, for sure. The embarrassing part of this scenario, however, was that as Derek toed the free throw line, he looked up and saw his father walking out of the gymnasium. His dad had absolutely no faith that his son was going to make both free throws, so he vacated the premises to beat the crowds. Of course, Derek’s shoulders slumped, and then he did exactly what his father figured he would do … he missed them both.
    — Greg O, Detroit

    Here now, the top 10 most embarrassing sports moments.

    10. I was in sixth grade, playing my first year of organized basketball on the middle school B team. We were awful, but that day we were in the game until the end, playing our crosstown rivals on their home court. We were down by 4 points with about two minutes left in the game, and our opponents had just scored a basket. As I stepped out of bounds to inbound the ball to one of my teammates that was about ten feet away, I looked over at my coach, who was yelling, “roll the ball!” while frantically making an underhand throwing motion. Being new to the game and not quite familiar with all the rules, I didn’t realized that the clock doesn’t start until a player touches the ball, and that what the coach wanted me to do was to gently roll the ball inbounds so that my teammate could run alongside it without touching the ball until he got to midcourt in order to save some time on the clock.

    I was, however, very familiar with the 5 second inbound pass rule. So, between the confusion of my coach yelling at me to “roll the ball” and the panic setting in knowing that I had to get the ball in play in 5 … 4 … 3 seconds, I wound up and chucked the ball as hard as I could, bowling style, across the length of the court, zipping it past the teammate that was ten feet in front of me and straight into the hands of an opposing player. Groans from the sidelines; I glance over to our bench and see my coach’s face buried in his hands. Needless to say, we ended up losing that game, but had a good laugh about it for many years after that. I also turned out to be a pretty decent bowler.
    — Rob from Austin

    9. I was never a terribly good football player, but was fast enough to be a starting safety and 2nd-string tailback on my high school JV team. Second to last game of the year, we were playing a team that had beaten us by five TDs earlier in the season, and our varsity was off that week, so our coach had the varsity starting tailback play in the JV game (classy). He ran for something like 350 yards and 6 TDs in the game, but with 15 seconds left we gave up a touchdown to go down by 8. Foolishly, they kicked off to the hero from the varsity, who pulled off a TD return USC-era Reggie Bush could only dream about — switched fields like three times, backtracked about 20 yards, broke 5000 tackles, the whole production. By the time he scored, he could barely even breathe, but we still needed the 2 point conversion to get to OT. The coach calls for the JV starter to fill in for the two pointer, but he can’t find his helmet, so of course I get to go in.

    I’ve carried the ball about 10 times the entire season, but for some reason Coach Genius decides I’m getting the ball in this do-or-die situation (JV FOOTBALL — LIFE OR DEATH!). He calls a basic off tackle run, I get the ball and meet a linebacker at about the one yard line. He’s pushing me, I’m pushing him, and in the course of twisting around, he’s slipping off but grabs a hold of my pants, which of course come down as I lunge forward into the end zone. Jock came down too, so I’m hopping off the ground all excited about my game-tying moment of glory, naked from waist to ankles. I’m pretty excited, so I don’t particularly care, and decide to spike the ball emphatically. In the grandest of sports bloopers, it bounces right back up and drills me in the crotch. Glory: over. Pain: immediate. Nakedness: continuing. I didn’t even get to see overtime, as I was doubled over on the sideline, being examined for testicular damage by the school trainer.
    — Jerry R.

    8. It was also the year 1998 and my 8th grade junior high basketball team was playing a district rival at their home gym. The 8th grade boys game tipped off 20 or so minutes after the 8th grade girls contest ended, so we didn’t go to the visitor locker room to change until the start fourth quarter of the previous game. Upon opening my gym bag I quickly realized I had brought the “home dark” jersey instead of the “away white”. I frantically found my coach to inform him of the mix up and to ask for the extra uniform that was always brought on road games. Turns out, the manager did not bring any extra uniforms that evening, and since my jersey did not match the rest of my team I would not be allowed to play. The only option would be to borrow a jersey from one of the 8th grade girls since they were the same color and closely resembled the guys uniform. I swallowed my teenage pride, met the team manager outside the girls locker room, and ran out for warm-ups in a dripping wet #55 LADY KNIGHTS jersey. The cackles and taunts from the opposing team, along with the stench of #55’s sweat, had me immediately regretting my decision
    — Thomas A from Dallas

    7. I was a freshman at the University of Kansas in 1996-97. As such, I was (ok, I still am) a rabid KU basketball fan — my dorm was practically next to Allen Fieldhouse. After our season ended with a loss to eventual champion Arizona in the NCAA tournament, the seniors went on the traditional barnstorming tour. The seniors that year were Jacque Vaughn, Scot Pollard, Jerod Haase, BJ Williams, and two walk ons (Steve Ransom and Joel Branstrom). One of my friends managed to get tickets to watch the guys play in nearby Overland Park. Prior to the game, they held an autograph session. All six were lined up at a table and they were signing that year’s posters as well as whatever else the fans put in front of them. Scot Pollard was at the end of the table. As I worked my way down, I noticed that Scot’s nail polish that day was silver. When I shuffled my poster in front of Scot, I said, “Wow. We are both wearing silver nail polish. It must be a sign!” Scot looked up at me briefly and with a note of condescension said, “Of what?” Obviously, I hadn’t thought that far ahead, so I stammered something about not being sure, took my poster and hurried out the door. My friends had witnessed the exchange and came after me. I was too mortified to stay to watch the game, particularly since we were in a local high school gym, so we skipped the game, with my friends repeating “It must be a sign” all the way back to Lawrence.

    I’m sure there are way more embarrassing stories coming to your in-box, but I had to share this one, particularly since I run into Scot from time to time (since he’s retired to Lawrence) and I immediately revert back to my freshman self. I’m sure he doesn’t remember the incident, but I somehow cannot interact with him without coming off like a complete fool.
    — Kristin R., Lawrence, KS

    6. One of the running gimmicks for my senior year of basketball was brainstorming the most thorough way to psychologically mess with the other team’s best player. Midway through the season, after a slew of mostly failed attempts, my friend and I got a brilliant idea.

    The gist of the idea was this: see what dirt we could dig up on the other team’s best player by pretending to be a smokin’ hot girl. More so, the idea was to get this player to reveal potentially embarrassing information/stories/eccentricities about himself by talking to him as the “smokin’ hot girl.” (Yeah, trick him into believing that he’s going to hook up with the hottest girl from his conference rival.) So, we created a faux-Myspace account, finding pictures by Googling “hot blonde high schooler.” In addition to that, we created an AIM screen name so that we could chat with him in “real-time.” We called this girl “Amy.”

    Conversations with this player went on for two weeks leading up to our game. Everyone at our school was in on this prank, and there were probably ten or twelve people that had access to “Amy’s account.” So, whenever one of us was free, we would log on and chat with this guy. He revealed some pretty heavy stuff, almost to the point where we started to feel guilty. But we’re heartless, soulless bastards, so we stuck with the plan anyways. And, to our credit, the plan was coming to fruition to a degree of perfection that is unimaginable. Put it this way: this guy thought he was going to hook up with “Amy” after the game in her white SUV.

    Smash-cut to game day. Several girls made t-shirts with pithy word-play, one guy bought a remote controlled white SUV, and almost everyone had a discriminatory poster of some sort. All with the same theme: making fun of this guy for something he said about himself to “Amy.” I told everyone in the student section to hold off on the signs and chants and jeers until he was at the foul line. Shooting free throws is like being on an island, and I wanted to unleash our prank while this player was most vulnerable. I was the point guard for our school’s team, and knowing that I rarely got into foul trouble during games, I assured everyone that I would send him to the line the first chance I got.

    Fortunately, that chance came 25 seconds into the game. We lined up to shoot free throws; I was standing at half court, biting my jersey to hold back the laughter at what was getting ready to happen. The student section had been instructed to erupt once the player had the ball in his hand for the first free throw. Well, incidentally, there was something wrong with our clock. So, before the free throw attempts, the referees had to meet at the scorer’s table to get things sorted out. Both teams are standing around, lined up to shoot free throws, and I assume that this player thinks these are going to be your run-of-the-mill free throw attempts. Spoiler alert: they weren’t.

    Waiting for the referees to get the clock situation sorted out must have taken too long from the perspective of somebody in the student section, I guess, because one of the guys, all by himself, in the midst of a murmuring gym, belted: “AMY’S-NOT-REAL! (CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP) AMY’S-NOT-REAL! (CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP). Then everyone in the student section joined in. From there, debauchery ensued. Somebody held up a poster with the screen name we created written in black, boldfaced type. Another poster had Amy and the player’s name written on it with a heart drawn around the two names. A group of girls in the front row unveiled their shirts that they had made, which had a photograph of the picture we used for Amy on it. And then there was the guy who brought the remote controlled SUV, driving it up and down the sidelines.

    The player realized what was going on, of course, and dropped his head in disbelief. The look on his face was one of colossal embarrassment and sheer terror. Everyone on our team was cracking up, and hell, even the players on the other team were giggling, too. The student section heckled and berated this player for probably five minutes as he stood on the free throw line waiting for the clock to be fixed. I’m uncertain about a lot of thing in life, but one thing I do know is that this was the most embarrassing moment of this guy’s life to date.

    He missed the first free throw so terribly that it was like an injection of adrenaline to the student section’s antics. He received the ball from the referee for his section shot. He cupped the ball on his hip, glared at the student section, shook his head, muttered to himself, and then swished the second free throw. Then that player went on to score 35 points against us. In fact, that was our most thorough beating of my four years of high school basketball.

    So, I guess there’s a couple of things to take away from this story. For one, this and the movie Catfish is all the proof anyone needs to never believe anybody on the Internet. Also, don’t ever try to embarrass people who are better than you at something.
    — Chad from West Virginia

    5. I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia where soccer was king. Growing up in an American school (PCS), our biggest rivals was a British school known as Continental.

    I was playing goalie for our 8th grade team and we were playing a game that went down to the wire with the score leveled at 1-1. Now, all the soccer games we played internally at my school in the after school league do not do injury time. You got two 15 minute halves, and that was that. What I didn’t realize, was that the injury time rules do apply at Continental, and it set me up for the lowest sports moment of my life.

    So it’s 1-1, and the clock reaches the full 30 minute mark. Thinking the game was over, I immediately relaxed and stared off into the crowd, seeing if Continental’s girls were in fact more attractive than ours (they weren’t). Next thing I know, my bench is screaming for me to pay attention as one of the forwards from the Continental side was on a break away and running towards me. By the time I had realized what was happening he launched a rocket in my direction. I freaked and in self defense stuck my hands out in front to shield myself.

    I will never forget what happened next. The ball struck my hands and for that split second a wave of relief washed over me, thinking I had made a last second save. Unfortunately, the ball deflected to the top bar, and hit me in the back of the head and rolled into the net.

    We lost the game, and to make matters worse everyone knew I had blanked out temporarily against our fiercest rival in injury time. One of my teammates asked why I didn’t charge the player in an attempt to stop the ball, and the best I could do was muster a bad joke and say “Well, what’s the net for?”

    No one laughed.
    — Raza Husain, Toronto

    4. I would like to tell you about the time I was in third grade playing baseball in St. Louis. I had just moved, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, from the Seattle area to the greater St. Louis Metropolitan area. Now this was quite the change to begin with, and when coupled with the fact that I was a bit unsettled by it all and even found myself becoming lost in the hallways of my school, I believe I was swooning into some sort of 9 year old PTSS.

    That being said, one thing I knew I was good at was baseball (I ended up pitching D-1, and think I threw about as hard when I was 9 as 19) and figured this was the one place I would feel at home. Now St. Louis has quite the plethora of little league baseball. There was something like 12 different levels at which you could play as a 9 year old, and we even threw from 45ft with a smaller baseball (which was perfect for my sausage-linkesque fingers). I went through tryouts and ended up on one of the top teams in the top leagues. Needless to say I was pretty anxious to impress. Unfortunately, I was (am) a bit scatterbrained at times.

    Situation: man on first, one out, I’m at the plate. I get a single and move him to third. Pretty happy. At this point I believe I start up a very cerebral conversation with the opposing team’s first baseman — I would guess either about what his favorite POG slammer is or whether he had 28.8k or 56.6k modem at home. At this point it dawns on me “Brian, it’s first and third, one out, this is the first year you’re allowed to steal off the pitcher … swipe that bag!” I get a pretty aggressive lead, solid jump, and steal second standing up. I stole it so well that neither the shortstop nor second baseman even bothered covering.

    Now about this point something seems a bit amiss — I mean neither the shortstop nor second baseman were covering, and I was always a bit more MAC Truck than Corvette. I turn around and notice almost the entire stands (parents, probably someone’s hot 12 year old sister in headgear) laughing and it slowly dawns on me that in the middle of my life-alteringly deep conversation with the first baseman the other team had decided to switch pitchers and I had stolen second off one of the pitchers warm-up throws.
    — Brian Y.

    3. It was my senior year of high school, our baseball team needed one more win to make the state tournament. We were playing another Cape team that needed a win to make the states. The game was tied in the 5th or 6th inning when I stepped to the plate with one out and a runner on third. My coach decided to squeeze the runner home (a questionable decision, in retrospect) and wanted me to lay a bunt down the first base line. The pitcher delivers, the runner takes off, I square to get the bunt down … and the pitch comes straight towards my head.

    Because I was positioned to bunt, avoiding the pitch was awkward. I ducked my head hard and managed to knee myself squarely in the face. I knocked myself out briefly and broke my nose. I came to a moment later covered in blood. Plus, I collapsed right next to the plate, so the runner couldn’t even attempt to slide in. He was tagged out. My teammates were dying laughing as the ump and our coach guided me back to the dugout. I didn’t even get to finish the at-bat, and the trainer wouldn’t let me back in the game.

    We lost the game and missed the state tournament when my replacement in center field misplayed a popup as I watched from the bench.
    — Craig J.

    2. I don’t know if my moment was embarrassing such much as dumb luck. I played rec. league soccer from 2nd – 8th grade prior to playing on my high school’s soccer team which won state (humble brag) the two years I didn’t play (what’s the opposite of humble brag).

    Anyways, it was the playoffs and I was in 3rd or 4th grade. A couple of days prior to the game, my dog just died (RIP Smurf) so I was a little over emotional and dedicated that game to his memory just like professional players do… unfortunately it didn’t work out as well for me. The game went on pretty quickly and my team jumped out to a 2-1 lead going into the last 10 minutes. In the league I was in, we were allowed to sub as much or as little as you wanted to eventually the idiot we had playing goalie decided he wanted to try his hand at defense for the first time all season. Naturally, the coach picked me to play goalie since I had a little experience playing that position in years past.

    Eventually the other team retains possession and drives down to our goal. The idiot goal-keeper-now-defense-man gets beaten badly on the wing which gives them a two on zero with me left to block the shot. Naturally they put it in between my legs with about 2 minutes left in the game. The other team begins celebrating like they just won the World Cup and I begin to sob like a child just out of kindergarten who is getting a shot for the first time. Needless to say, the other team’s players saw this and started taunting me which didn’t help the situation

    I compose myself before the next kickoff since we are now in sudden death. My team can’t seem to scrape together a single offensive possession and I am consistently being bombarded by insults from the other team. After blocking one of the shots from a classmate on the opposing team. he said, “I am going to bury this next one just like your dog.” I become livid and as he turns to run back awaiting the punt, I throw the ball at the back of his head which I hit squarely … this then sends the ball lofting over my reach and into the goal.

    I didn’t leave my back for 4-5 minutes and didn’t hear the end of this story at school for an additional 4-5 weeks.
    — Peter from Chicago

    1. About My Friend Dennis: who is hilarious, was the best man in my wedding and just got back from 4 years in Japan teaching English.

    When we were in 8th grade, my friend Dennis finally made the basketball team after trying out the 3 previous years and getting cut. He was tall and fairly athletic, but just goofy and not at all confident. Our team was really good, so Dennis would usually get in during mop up time in the 4th quarter and would always do something hilarious. About 8 games into the season, it became the running joke to see what crazy thing he would do when he got in. In about game 10, he did not disappoint.

    After the other team had thrown the ball away under their own hoop, 8 guys on the floor all ran to the other end as our buddy Lucas took the ball out of bounds. Dennis was receiving the inbounds pass, which was weird because he was our post guy, but we all just figured he would give it back to Lucas (our PG) to dribble it up the court. So as Dennis catches the inbounds pass at the elbow, you can see in his eye he’s not giving it back to Lucas. So with no one around him, he takes his 1-2 step into the pass and just nails the 15 footer – in the wrong hoop! Our whole bench, including our coach are dying laughing that he scored two points for other team, but after the game what our coach said was even better, and true, “Why did you shoot the jumper when you could have got a lay-up?” Dennis’ response, “I just couldn’t believe that I was so wide open!”

    And another:

    During one of the last games of our senior season, our basketball team was playing a rival school. The other team was shooting a foul shot and our coach was yelling at my friend Dennis that he would be the one to take the ball out of bounds for our press breaker. Dennis nodded back that he would and the kid took his foul shot. The ball rimmed out of the hoop and Dennis grabbed the rebound – and then did exactly what he was told to do – he took the ball out of bounds. Everyone in the gym just kind of stopped and even the referees didn’t know what to do with the kid who just ran out of bounds with a live ball. Finally, the one ref half-heartedly blew his whistle and with a shrug of the shoulders said, “Traveling?”
    — Greg H.

    I really want to meet Dennis. Good work all around.

    Previous Participation Fridays:

    Fifteen Minutes of Fame
    Personal Mottoes
    Worst Dates
    Worst Breakups
    Best/Worst Excuses
    Heckling Stories
    Weird Laws
    Animal Facts

Filed Under: About Last Weekend, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Michigan State, Ohio State, Seattle Seahawks, Tiger Woods, UNC, Washington Redskins

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Shane Ryan is a contributing writer for Grantland. His book about the young stars of the PGA Tour will be published by Random House in early 2015.

Archive @ ShaneRyanHere