Flashback: BeefLoaf’s Stories of DeLaSalle Meteors basketball – Everything Matters

Good day friends, it’s your pal BeefLoaf, and I am hear to spin a rare yarn about my past. I have been “encouraged” by some on twitter, including King Mac to share some stories of playing basketball at DeLaSalle in the mid-90’s. I think I will start dipping into these stories, when there is a relevant lesson or something hilarious to share. I enjoyed the hell out of my time at DeLaSalle and I played basketball all 4 years, earning 2 Varsity letters (Junior and Senior year). Over that time I learned lots about competition, about how things work and most importantly about myself. Here’s one of those stories….

A little background. I was a pretty mediocre basketball player. I’d get into the game, mostly every game, I’d usually carve out a 3 to 6 minute chunk off the bench in the 2nd quarter of a good deal of games and I could definitely score, but I wasn’t a great shooter (don’t get it wrong, you leave me open for a 17 footer, I’ll make it, but nobody is running a play for me to shoot that shot)…I was a poor free throw shooter (right Chorizy?) and I wasn’t a good 3 point shooter. This was the old days, where “scorer” was more, take the ball to the basket, be tough around there, shoot some free throws etc. I never felt like “the coach is against me” or “the coach favors that player”….the guys who played more / ahead of me were just flat out better than I was. Our team my senior year was loaded! We went 22-6. With all of this I still think if I would’ve been on one of the junkier teams of the 1995-96 Chicago Catholic League, I probably would’ve averaged 10 pts a game and been a below average defender and played a ton of minutes, but as it was, I was on one of the good teams, so I accepted my role with great joy.

Can you find the BeefLoaf in this picture?

This particular week in the season, we had a Friday night matchup with St. Martin de Porres (#RIPIP), a decent Catholic League team that played good defense and had one top scorer, Tyron Triplett. Triplett was the best 3 point shooter in the Catholic League, an offensive force. Playing against him this week meant two things for the BeefLoaf.

  1. In practice on Wednesday-Thursday, I’d likely get to play him on the scout team (I was part of the group on our team that would learn the other team’s offense and defense to scrimmage against our starters, which was always a ton of fun and I’m generally a quick study, so it challenged me each week). This would be great, because I played the same spot as Triplett, “3” or Small Forward, so I would get screens run for me in practice and I’d get to take a billion shots.
  2. It was very likely my ass wouldn’t see the floor at all on Friday night. You see Triplett is a TERRIBLE defensive matchup for me. He’s 6’0 160, lightning quick and his team will run many, many screens for him to get open. I’m (at the time) 6’2″ 205, NOT LIGHTNING QUICK, so most likely my best spot is the bench for the entire 32 minutes on Friday night.
This is actually the newer court, that I’ve never played on

Fast forward to Friday night, I stay ready like I always do, even if I think it’s not likely I play in this game. The battle is back and forth and Triplett is playing well, he has hit 7 3-pointers already, with around 6 mins left in the 4th quarter. The game is either tied or it’s a 2 pt game or something, I forget the exact score….AND THEN IT HAPPENS! The ball goes out of bounds under our basket and we are set to trigger an inbound, when I hear our head coach, Tom White, screaming my name to get into the game. I pop up off the bench and rip my warm up off and head to the scorers table, where I tap the table and I can hear Nick Colletti (the public address announcer at these games, announce that I was entering the game for the first time tonight). At this point, I am not exactly sure why I am entering the game, but that starts to become clearer as I get closer to the rest of my teammates.

STOP (postcard style)

 

Here’s the situation, Triplett, the other team’s star was going to draw me as a defensive assignment on this in-bounds from underneath our basket. Now, most normal times, I’d be a pretty easy assignment for him, he’s quicker than me, so 20 feet from the basket, he’s got no problems, if I manage to back him down he’ll get help and force me to get rid of the ball. BUT, in this situation, where we are running an in-bounds play under the basket and my assignment on this in-bounds play is to let the smoke clear in front of me and then cut directly at the basket looking for the ball, he’s at a big disadvantage, I have 45 lbs and 2 inches in height on him. For 31 minutes and 58 seconds of the game, I’m at a disadvantage, but for these 2 seconds, I’ve got the edge.

This is a PROBLEM, for him. Oh and did I mention he has 3 fouls at this point? Well, you can guess what happens next, I let the smoke clear, I get the pass from the in-bounds and head straight to the cup, at this point Triplett can either let me have an easy bucket or, he can foul me, unfortunately for him and fortunately for me and my Meteor teammates, he fouls me, his 4th and he must go to the bench. I split the free throws (jesus I suck at free throws), luckily hitting the 2nd free throw so Tom White could get my ass right back out of this game and go with someone better. We win the game going away.

LESSON: Everything Matters, you might not be “the star” at work or in a particular scene, but your contribution, no matter how small you perceive it, might be enormous. In this instance, I remember checking the newspaper the next day, seeing something to the effect of “when Triplett went to the bench with his 4th foul early in the 4th quarter, the Meteors took over from there” and feeling very proud of my 2 second contribution.

-BeefLoaf

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