Category Archives: game recap

Week 20-Out the Door

That’s it. That’s been it. Close to two weeks ago we lopped the head off another season of AFBL. And fittingly we closed the season with John Freeborns continued presidential ineptitude.

Perhaps you received the email from El Pressodinty promising one more time. One last whirl on the AFBL tilt-a-wheel. I rode my bike to McCall. When I showed up Freebone and a few others stood befuddled and exasperated at the door to the school. As Crazy Don warned me the Friday night before the promised last game, “Isn’t the school closed after holidays? I think the school was closed on Friday, the building is always closed when that happens. Are you sure there is ball tomorrow.”

I have blind faith in the commander in cheif, so I responded, “I’m 100 percent sure. John said there was going to be basketball, so there is going to be basketball.”

Crazy Don has known John longer than me, so he knew not to trust J Free. He didn’t show up on Saturday. John, his wife Amy, Jason Haas, Nicky Santore and Jules all shivered outside McCall awaiting an unlocking that would never occur. They banged on the door, telephoned the janitor, put up a good fight, but it never materialized in entry to the sacred gym of the AFBL.

They stood around looking at each other trying to figure out what to do.

Looking at them with a curious look on it’s face was the outdoor court of McCall. The two people that occupied the court left after fifteen minutes of our waiting. The assembled gang kept looking at the locked door. The basketball court looked at them. It asked, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ A tear fell from its face.

I grabbed the ball from J Free’s hand and said to the court nothing is wrong with you.

Then I started shooting at the basket. Between you and me-I hope the court can’t read this blog-the net is low. The court is not regulation length. But you know what? It was still basketball and thereforehence fun. I was shooting, figuring out the wind enjoying the lowered hoop’s increasing my shooting percentages.

Dominick who’d joined the mopey gang, waiting for the door to be unlocked, defected and came out to the court and started shooting with me. A short while after that everyone came over and we were all shooting. We started a game afterwards. The short court saved us from being exhausted. The short court also allowed me to heave half court shots to the chagrin of my teammates. And the greatest benefit from the outdoor court, the first ever attempt of a dunk in an AFBL game.

Jules had a fast break. He went up with the ball and almost threw it down. Both hands strangled the rim but the ball shot off. It was a legitimate attempt and it nearly came through.

Today I was watching the Gilbert Arenas DeShawn Stevenson shooting contest you tube clip and I became nostalgic for some AFBL. Is any one interested in occasionally running game on the McCall outdoor court?

HOUSER WATCH- Week 20, Viral

Jim didn’t ball in the last game. He was too drunk on champagne after a very successful, very tremendously spectacular art show to play ball the last Saturday.

As usual his angsty behavior went viral whilst he was off the court. This week it infected the least likely source of all time–Nicky.

I was on Nicky’s team. As we know, and I’d like to think he acknowledges this, Nicky rolls into many double teams and shoots. He still shoots a high percentage. But his assist totals are not exactly Nash-like. Early in the second game of the afternoon, he rolled into a double with my man coming to get him. Rather than shoot over the double he passed to me. I was caught off guard. I missed the pass all together.

On the run back, I’m guessing in a totally unprovoked manner, I said, “I misssed it, I’m not used to Nicky passing.”

Well, if you want to rile Nicky, that’s all it takes. In a Houser mimic moment Nicky became indignant and fired some comment back at me. The rest of the day he refused to pass to me. That was fun.


Nicky taking on both Andrew Jones and John Freeborn with Jules (the guy that can dunk) waiting for him. Me? Slightly open and likely shooting lights out. (Dominick is our teammate and seemingly also open, by the way.)


Andrew and John contest Nicky’s shot. Haas, waits for the rebound and Jules lurks. 4 on 1. Me? I look open. You know I don’t miss open shots, I just don’t. Andrew Jones was ‘guarding’ me.


So Nicky decides to kick it out, but not to me. I was open.

Okay, so I was never cutting to the basket, I just sat lazily at the 18 foot mark waiting for the ball, but, I was always open! I didn’t want to clutter the lane and I’m a bona fide pure shooter. Leave me alone.

Nicky might be able to get us a summer court. So, let me just say, this was all a joke and a ruse. Love ya Nicky.

xoxoxox Brick James



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Week 19-Sluggish

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, its over.  Who do you prefer I quote here?  The Doors, This is the end, my only friend the end or Morrissey, I know its over still I cling, I don’t know what else I can do, oh no over over over over oooovvver.  I prefer Morrissey.  And if you want to talk to me in the near future you’d better be in agreeance.   The Doors, I mean really?  Bleech.  I could see Dom liking them.  No offense pal.

This Saturday will be the end of a glorious year of not so glorious attempts at playing basketball by a less than glamorous group of men.  The past two weeks we’ve enjoyed the company of Crazy Don.  We’ve enjoyed a lack of quality basketball too.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.  We’ve also enjoyed a lack of bloggotry.  I’m sorry.  I had two drafts, one for each week, but I couldn’t think of anything funny to write so I didn’t post either.  I mean can one person write John Freeborn is dumb 19 different ways?  Apparantly not.

Last week the game was a lovely, simple, 4 on 4 affair and I was the most sluggish I’d ever been.  We started off 3 on 3 and even then I had no energy.  This past week was unreal.  I barely moved.  I walked up the court every game.  Don’t get me wrong, I still daggered in some three pointers, but christ was I slow moving.

I also managed to talk some trash on Christian’s behalf.  I think I’ve mentioned my man crush on him in this blog before, but if I haven’t, let’s put it down here and now.  Why not?  Next week is the last game of the season, so it’ll only be awkward for 3 hours.  Plus, I lived about 26 years in a state of awkward confusion, 3 hours is nothing.  And I will be gone next season.  As I’ve said I’m going to NYC, along with Nicky actually, next fall.  Hopefully I’ll be back for one or two games.  Though, I can’t see the league surviving without two of its heavy duty staples.  We should get attendence awards.  I hope you guys can last with out us.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic here.  Christian is the best player in the AFBL by a long shot.  He’s a great shooter, a player that hustles and most importantly a player that swings the ball.  I don’t know if he’s an artist.  I’m leaning towards, not.  No offense pal, you just don’t seem artsy.  That’s actually a compliment if you think about it and look around the AFBL.  Does anyone really want to be lumped with Houser, Freeborn and Crazy Don?  I don’t think so.  And truth be told, I’m not an artist either.  I’m just a dude.

The only thing lacking in Christian’s game is a moronic chest thumping overly confident mannerism.  Since he severly lacks what I’ve built my entire AFBL career around I took up the slack and began shit talking on his behalf last week.  Unfortunately I choose to shit talk against his close personal friend Haas.  Haas could always respond with a steal or a shot in Christians face.

Thanks for making me look like an asshole Christian.  To think I had a man crush on you!

HOUSER WATCH:  Week 19, Arting it Up 

Jimmy was absento last week.  Hopefully he’ll make it for the finale.  He’s busy at work preparing the gigantic painted bride gallery for his solo show “This Beating Heart Acts as a Timer” (of melodrama, nice title, you been listening to post rock?  J/K LOL!).  I know I’ve spent all year talking shit on our boy, but this show will be amazing.  I haven’t seen anything, I haven’t been told anything, I just know that he’ll come through with something that will blow your mind.  I highly endorse that everyone get to 230 vine st. between 5 and 7 this Friday.  Go Jim!

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Week 17-Where’s the Intensity

All we needed was a small flame beneath the collective toochis of the AFBL to return the league to it’s prodigious numbers.  12 players in total filled the gym for what will be remembered as a awful display of basketballing.  The AFBL has always been turnover prone but this weekend was truly epic.  There was a sequence where one team threw the ball out of bounds on an errant pass.  The other team got the ball back and threw it out of bounds on the in bound pass.  Then the other team got it back and lost the ball.  Then the other team turned it over.  If that sounds confusing, I’m sorry, we don’t name our teams, though I’ve been lobbying all season long for us to do that. 

Let me simplify that second to last sentence:  We collectively stank last Saturday.  It was pretty unreal.  What’s funny about how crappy we are is the way we choose to exhibit our crappy tendencies versus our moderately okay tendencies.

One game in particular, though it happens in almost every game, effectively demonstrated the bi-polar AFBL nature.  Team A-for lack of a better term- and Team B-same reason- were closing in on a final.  Team A led the entire game by a wide margin.  Miraculously B came back.  They narrowed the margin.  They managed to get within 2 baskets or so of tying the game.  Unfortunately A was at 14, the game was played to 16 and we kept score with 2’s and 3’s.  B decided that it would not lose.  B began clamping down on defense.  It worked surprisingly well and for the next 5-10 minutes B couldn’t score.  A couldn’t score either.  Eventually B managed to mercifully end the game.

Why is it that we tend to hang on until the end, then when we realize that we can’t win the game that we try our hardest?  Where is the intensity in the start of the game?  Why is John Freeborn flinging left handed hook shots from mid court on the first possession of every game, but clamping down on defense and swinging the ball for the last possession? 

We play harder at the end of the games to ease our conscious.  If we lose, then we can’t say we didn’t try.  If we win, then it was an amazing comeback.  I’m not advocating increased defensive play by anyone.  I’d prefer no one guard me.  I have trouble making open layups.  I think I missed 4 this weekend.  I just want some consistency from the league.

One way you people can be consistent is to show up again this weekend.  12 people is much better than 6-regardless of the insanely sloppy play.  How much rust did you guys have?  My excuse?  Well, yes I’ve played all but 1 game this season, so I shouldn’t have rust. 

Well, if you must know, my sneakers we’re too tight.

HOUSER WATCH: Week 17, Raking Childhood Scars

I’m just going to cut and paste our email interaction:

ME (to all of you):As a youth I played organized basketball just once.  I was ten years old or so and played in a rec. league for like 8 weeks.  How am I so good with out technical training?  Like Jimi Hendrix, I guess I’m just naturally talented.  When I played in the league I was given a t-shirt as a jersey.  On the front it read, “Hillsborough Recreation” atop a basketball.  On the back of the dark green shirt the number 17 gleemed in a vinyl white.  17?  Who wore number 17?  I didn’t get a sexy number.  My father researched who wore 17 in the NBA.  Chris Mullin.  Okay.  I’ll take it.  I had a crew cut at the time and a drinking problem, so I guess it made sense.  For some odd reason, I always chose 17 as my number in sports from then on.  I didn’t even like Chris Mullin or basketball all that much.  It just stuck.

Jim’s response:  i played basketball , and got cut from a team that didnt have have
cuts , because of ” behavior problems “. i was 11 and hyperactive.
they kept the retarded kid, and i got cut for kicking basketballs .

i am not kidding. so i played baseball and was number 8 , because i was born in august.
and i played football and was number 85 . tight end.
aaron mckie is my favorite player ever, so i am sticking with 8.

Me:  Holy shit.  Please tell me this is allowed to go on the blog. 

Jim:  sure… rake the childhood scars.

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Week 16-The Kings

When Jay-Z retired he left the draw bridge to rap’s castle down. Many rappers attempted to storm in and seek the crown. None really found the crown. The crown for the King of Hip Hop is closer to the holy grail than anything else. It’s an impossible dream, one that may not exist. If it does exist only Dan Brown would be able to explain it to us. And if not him then Indiana Jones’ father. And one of those two people is a fictional character and the other uses fictional characters that the Catholic church hates, so, you know, it’s still unlikely we’re going to find the crown for hip hop.

T.I. sold the greatest amount of rap records last year. His record was called King. On a recent remix of the Fat Joe and Lil Wayne collabo, “Make It Rain,” T.I. raps that he is the “King, Captain, Numero Uno.” Saying you are the King over and over doesn’t necessarily make it a fact, but it don’t hurt either.

Last year Jay-Z attempted a comeback. He unfortunately found his castle filled with slobbish impersonators and a court filled with less talented, less charismatic rappers attempting to sit in his throne. Perhaps worse than those people-because really they were always there, just previously they showed some respect and acted subservient-the castle had been transformed. On the outside it still looked like a castle. On the inside it looked like something out of a sharper image catalog.

The burning torches were replaced with light sensing, energy saving bulbs. The fireplace was gone and in its place was an elaborate heating system. There were no longer court jesters, there were flat screen televisions and 1000 cable channels. In other words the greatest siege on his castle was not the throngs of wannabes but the technological innovations.

When Jay-Z rapped on his new record, 30’s the new 20, he sounds less like a confident old man and more like a paranoid one. The internet via downloading and blogging not only ruined his chart domination, allowing T.I. to outsell him, but it is also ruining his ability to be a CEO, because the industry is slipping and nosediving. As a CEO, if he can’t make the units shift, then he is a failure.

When John Freeborn started the league it was an entirely different time. There wasn’t blogging, there weren’t non-art fags admitted into the AFBL. He was King shit of fuck mountain. He assembled a rag tag bunch of art faggers to play ball. He had played ball his whole life. While those kids were much better at art-no offense, but milk crates? draw me a still life, prove your real worth-John was much better at basketball. Between this and his ability to secure the court, John became the defacto King of the AFBL.

Naturally he tried to pretend he was a President, but he was a president in much the same way Putin is a president. (anyone else read the new yorker?)

Then I came along, brash, handsome, wildly talented at basketball and very able to draw a still life.

View from an Ethiopian Hotel

I started small.  I pretended I didn’t know how to play basketball to ingratiate myself with the regulars.  I became more comfortable and began dominating.  However my prowess on the court deterred the old guard from coming to basketball.

They didn’t mind John’s relative basketball skills, they could lord over him his inability to draw anything aside from Bart Simpson.  When I came along the entire script was flipped.  “Here is a huge talent in every single way,” they’d all think.  The intimidation was enough to keep people away for long stretches.

I decided to bring in new, eager players, they weren’t all artists, but they were punctual.  I took over the AFBL in a non violent coup.  I used the internet via email to rev up the fan base.  If John was Jay-Z, you could say I was T.I. because I took over, but I prefer to think of myself as Howard Dean, sans screaming.  Dean used alternative means to raise money and stoke out his supporters.  I did the same, email lists and blogging made the league a powerful force at the start of the season.

But I saw how much pain the transfer of power was causing John.  I decided to allow him to regain control of the league for a short while.  I said, “John, this is your baby, take care of her again, like you used to.”  But John is frightened of diapers.  After the 7 person turn out from a few weeks ago I asked him to email everyone to light a fire under their ass, but John didn’t do it.  John is a negligent parent.  He isn’t fit to run the league.

I tried to hand him the crown, but his castle is different now.  His castle isn’t the one he left.  He came back and unfamiliar faces loitered about ready to actually play basketball.  He’s scared to try to reclaim the throne.  He’s scared of the technology.  He won’t take the reigns back.  And now we’ve had 2 weeks of 3 on 3 ball.

Thanks for nothing former King.

I’ll be emailing all of you bitches to come out this weekend.

HOUSER WATCH:  Week 16, Red Herrings

So, Houser emailed me with really bland information this week.  Twice.  One time he told me some secret, which isn’t particularly sexy and said I couldn’t write it on the blog, like I’d want to.  The guy is full of himself.  The second time he made some vaguely homophobic joke about Rudy Gay drinking from Knobs Creek with John Amaechi.

In all of the emails Jim asked me how to post photos on this blog.  3 times I tried to explain it to him, but he still didn’t get it.  I even included a Jpeg of the blog and photo-shopped it to explain to him how he should go about posting.  It was still too complicated for him.

I think these are the photos he wanted to post:



So now that they’re up he can leave a comment explaining them.  Aren’t we in for a treat.

I really can’t believe that he couldn’t figure it out.  Have you ever met people that just aren’t ready to be alive?  I put Jim in this category, he’s obviously technologically savvy, he produced a track for the Plastic Little record.  He just refuses to allow his brain to function in a manner that will make it possible for him to do certain things.

One of those things is play basketball.  He’s played once this year.

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Week 15-Shoot

Imagine a whistling sound emanating from my lips after I remark in reverentially awestruck tones, “Week 15.”  Yes, the time flies.  If it were football we’d be preparing for the playoffs.  Well, some of us, okay, just me.  But as it is, we’re coming down off the high of the AFBall Star game from last weekend.  As you know, its a yearly tradition.  In the 15th week, we allow the 8 bestest and brightest to have McCall to themselves.  Sometimes it is derided as a mere exhibition.; a spectacle, for the over paid and overweight ballers of the AFBL. 

Whoever says that is wrong.  The game last week was enchanting.  There was a palpable sense of urgency between both Pres. Free and Chris to win the game and the MVP award. 

How does one go about winning an All Star MVP award in Philadelphia?  Kobe Bryant laid out the blueprint years ago.  You shoot and shoot and shoot.  Then when you’re done doing that, you shoot some more.  Kobe, Chris, and John Freeborn all subscribe to the Jim Houser school of thought, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  Truer words my friends, truer words.

Chris and John were on opposite teams and attempted to balance each other out.  Chris flung more three balls than anyone has ever taken in a game.  And these weren’t open looks either.  They were dribble to the left pull up and release type shots.  He didn’t make very many, but he took an Iversonian-shoot my way out of this funk-stance.  It unfortunately never worked out.

Freeborn on the other hand would wait in the farthest reaches of the court where his opponent wouldn’t bother guarding him.  I was more often than not the person bringing the ball up the court.  I was on Free’s team.  I hated giving him the ball.  He’d either fling a three or attempt a left handed hook.  The result was the same in either case.  0 points.  Wheee!

He dribbles a lot too.

At one point I thought, “okay, John doesn’t get the ball anymore.”  But you know what?  Our opponents knew John would fuck up.  They wanted the ball in his hands.  Everyone else was guarded so I’d have to dish it to him.  And then I’d stand back, face in my hands, silently sobbing about the mockery he was making of basketball.  It was bad.

Just when I was about to lose all hope, Freeborn started making shots.  Yesterday, John emailed me asking, “where is as blog update?  I made 5 3 pointers in a row in the last game.”  There is no way that is true, but he did eventually heat up.  And so, the MVP of the annual AFBall All Star game is John Freeborn.


HOUSER WATCH: Week 15, Yeah Right!

There is no way Houser is invited to the all star game.  Are you kidding me?  The guy stinks.

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Week 14-Lulldroms

If an AFBL falls in the woods, does it make any sound?  What is the sound of one AFBL clapping?  These are the types of philosophical questions that spring forth after weekends like the last. 

We only had enough for 3 on 3.  7 people showed up all totaled.  It was still fun, but those situations are always awkward.  We warmed up, 5 of us, each eagerly eyeing the door hoping someone would come through the door.  Hoping someones, that is, would come through the door.  3 on 3 games lack the same fire, focus and intensity of the full court 4 on 4 or 5 on 5 style game.  They’re still fun, they’re just different.  You know, like the difference between your girlfriend and your wife. 

What perplexes me about this situation is why these lulls occur in the season.  There is little to no reason for an off week for attendance.  Occassionally we just have 3 on 3 days.  Occassionally we have 20 people in attendance.  What gives people?  Is it that hard to schedule Saturday off?  What else are you doing?  You’re supposed to be artists.  That means no work, lots of drinking for inspiration and making art at night.  That leaves 1 to 4 on Saturdays totally cool for balling.  Are you intimidated that your other art friends will call you a jock?  Well, if that’s how you feel, then you are a pussy and I’d rather you not sully my court with you excretions, if you know what I mean.

I hope eight people show up this weekend.  If you think I dominate a regular game-and you definitely should-you ought to see me own the 3 on 3.  It’s all ego stroking, runnign the games, but it gets boring. 

Melt snow, melt.

Week 14:  HOUSER WATCH, Boobs

Jimmy was all up in Australia.  I went there last year in March.  AJW told me there would be nakedness abound.  He was totally wrong.  If you want to see boobs then go to France.  Their beaches are home to many an uncovered breasticle. 

I bet Jim is super bummed.  He’s too shy to go to a strip club and too ugly, and annoying, to get a lady friend.  He thought he had to go all the way around the globe just to catch a glimpse of titty balls. 

Either that of he’s there skating in demos with Ed Templeton.  Which one seems more believeable?


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Week 13-Running Numbers

The president returned this weekend, insisting that we keep score with 2’s and 3’s as opposed to 1’s and 2’s.

He didn’t announce this rule until his coach announced Freeborn would attempt to guard myself. Freeborn knew he stood no chance of guarding a real life rifleman. If I chose it, I could play in the NBA. I just happen to love photocopying, so I don’t play pro ball. Freeborn knows this. If I had an opportunity to take a shots worth twice as much as a standard shot, I’d bury the competition. I didn’t mind. We can play with 2’s and 3’s, I’d just like to make sure this is a permanent thing.

The AFBL is an organization of capriciousness. Have you ever played against Crazy Don, or Dr. Hoops as he likely thinks of himself? If you stand in the paint either posting him up or just waiting for a rebound he starts counting to 3. 3 second violations! I don’t think he’d call them, but it’s on his mind.

Fouls are equally arbitrary. I don’t think we need to get into this.

The rules we choose to accept and the rules we choose to ignore is always an interesting spectacle. Personally, I enjoy taking a few steps here and there or switching my pivot foot, but apparently that is frowned upon.
Last week we started with a 4 on 4 game while we waited for other players to show up. When enough people arrived, we ran 5 on 5. The total amount of people at McCall was 12. Two teams of 6 played against each other. Each team had a substitute that was to be subbed in between games.

I hate to sit. I’ll put it out there. I never ever want to sit. I’m not alone. Have you ever really heard anyone volunteer to sit in the first two hours? Since, I’m something of an Alpha Male I took it upon myself to ask my teammates who was going to sit out. Nobody responded. I started singling people out. Do you have any idea how unbearable that is?

I had Christian, AJW, Andrew Freeborn, Mike, and someone else that I can’t remember. Who ever you were, I’m really sorry. This is embarrassing. Anyway, as I said, I really wanted to continue playing so I didn’t volunteer myself. Christian is my favorite player to play with. He runs plays, shoots really well and swings the ball around the perimeter. It’s a real joy to share a backcourt with Christian. Andrew Freeborn is the greatest talent in the AFBL and has a subtle but palpable desire to win every game he plays. So sctach three people off the list of pine riders. AJW is a future HOFer and Mike is really good down low and a solid dude in general. I’m sure whoever I’m forgetting also has positive attributes. Was it Balz Man? If it was, I needn’t go into details about why we want him on the court. Even without the sweats he’s a valuable contributor. After 7 really uncomfortable minutes, the Mexican stand off ended. Someone was willing to sit out. I presume that the other team went through a similar problem. What a bummer for two people to sit.

I remember watching an AFBL video where Andrew Jones was the camera man. He was sitting to film, but only as a sub. He started asking people if they wanted to sit. It’s really funny to hear Andrew say, “Anyone want to sit?” Everyone ignored him like he wasn’t talking. He said it 8 times before anyone took note. Like I said, no one wants to sit. I think it’s harder to sit when its just 1 or 2 people on the bench.

This week, when there were 12 people, the problem could have been averted. We could have run three teams of 4. It’s rough sitting, but not as rough when you are sitting with three other people that really become your teammates. I get really competitive and try to get my team fired up to dethrone whoever just won. Do I want to sit? No! So I avoid that problem by winning. Having 4 people sit, getting rested and fired up to win is an entirely viable alternative to the idea of having to play 5 on 5 with 2 people sitting, getting lonely, feeling rejected, for being told to ride the pine by their teammates. How does that feel?

“Hey-you, yeah, we don’t want you on the court. Yeah, you’re on our team, but we feel like you should sit. What? Why? Oh, no reason in particular.”

The reason we run 5 on 5 is indicative of our capricious nature. We run 5 on 5 because the pros run 5 on 5. While I appreciate this idea, I think it’s worth noting the pros run on a much bigger court. Turns out the pros do a lot of things different.

Next time we have 12 people lets reinforce camaraderie and play 4 on 4.

Or I’ll start calling 3 second violations and dunking on you bitches, just like the pro I could be, if I chose.

HOUSER WATCH: Week 13, Where Was He?Houserrr


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