Sunday, April 22, 2012
Still trotting the globe after all these years
A look back to the tune of "Sweet Georgia Brown." Let it play while you read the post.
What do the whistled opening notes of "Sweet Georgia Brown" mean to you? For me, it means the Harlem Globetrotters are passing the basketball around a circle at center court as they warm themselves and the audience up before they play their hapless opponents once again.
I went to see them the other night and when that music came up over the loudspeakers I admit to feeling a bit of emotion. I found that strange and tried to search my database for a reason.
The first thing that came to mind was, I first saw the Globetrotters, I think, around 1955, 57 years ago. Whoa, that set me back. FIFTY-SEVEN YEARS! The second thing I realized was my father had taken me to see them. A man who had little time for sports took me to one of the very few professional sporting events I saw as a boy. The only other I can think of was an exhibition baseball game at Offerman Stadium in Buffalo with the Bisons playing the Cleveland Indians. And, get this, Satchel Paige pitched.
As I watched this new version of the team, I tried to think: I might have seen Goose Tatum, and I am sure I saw Meadowlark Lemon. Then and now I laughed at their goofiness and antics, but then and now what I really liked was their basketball, choreographed almost as ballet: their passing, the weave, their confounding of their opponents with tricky ball handling, dribbling and passing. The routines have changed. A dunk was a rarity 57 years ago. Today it is the basis for much of their scoring. But the passing on the way to the dunks, the alley-oops, the high bouncing assists, are so reminiscent of the old days the transition seems natural. And, in the old days making the basket often was a bit anticlimactic because it meant the end of the play, whereas today's monster dunk puts an exclamation mark on it.
The progress with the times hasn't been limited to the changes in the game either. A woman plays for the 'Trotters now and she is one heck of a dribbler and hit two of four four-point shots from 35 feet, a scoring opportunity the team has added to the show. There's also, gasp, a white guy, whose main job seems to be showing that he CAN jump, when given the opportunity to drive in for a dunk.
And the team still is able to make the wonderful connection with the audience, the way they have since the Forties in almost every country in the world. Five-year-olds laugh right along with 70-year-olds when a team member draws someone out onto the court for one of their comedy routines. Watching a young fellow who couldn't have been more than 7 try to mimic the dance moves of the newest generation's star, a huge man called Big Easy, brought fans to their feet at the same time almost bending over laughing. Even the players couldn't resist giggles at the youngster's be-bop.
You always leave a Globetrotters game with a smile on your face and as I walked out smiling and looking at others in the crowd, people from almost any walk of life, any age, I could picture some of these young people 57 years from now going to see the newest generation perform some of the same routines as they did this night. The Harlem Globetrotters make that kind of impression on a young mind, triggered every time you hear the first whistled notes of "Sweet Georgia Brown."
Some interesting quotations
You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper. -- Jackie Faber, "The Wake of the Lorelei Lee"
If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both
If an insurance company won't pay for damages caused by an "act of God," shouldn't it then have to prove the existence of God? -- I said that
German General to Swiss General: "You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?"
Swiss General: "Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice."
Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else. -- Gloria Steinem
Exceed your bandwidth-- sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center
One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done. -- Patricia Monaghan
Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world. -- Brett Arends
It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way. -- Andrew Jackson
3:30 is too late or too early to do anything -- Rene Descartes
Everything is okay when it's 50-below as long as everything is okay. -~ Hudson Stuck
You can have your own opinion but you can't have your own science. -- commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming
He looks at three failed marriages as a good start -- TV police drama
Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem. -- a handmade bumper sticker
"You're either into the wall or into the show" -- Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500
Makeup is not for the faint of heart -- the makeup guerrilla
"I'm going to relax in a very adult manner." --Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti
"Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet." -- a roundtable participant on Fox of all places
As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to the think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her. -- me again
Hunting is a "critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison." -- a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting
Each day do something that won't compute -- anon
It's not about how many times you get knocked down; it's about how many times you get up -- Tim Tebow
I can't believe I still have to protest this shit -- sign carried by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration
Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing -- Meg Chittenden
Life should be a little nuts or else it's just a bunch of Thursdays strung together -- Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in "Rumor has it"
You're just a wanker whipping up fear -- Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer
Being president doesn't change who you are; it reveals who you are -- Michelle Obama
Best headlines ever
GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality
Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy
Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high
Give me all your money or my penguin will explode
How zombie worms have sex in whale bones
Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower
Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles