March Fagness

This is a sad week.  It appears as though I won’t have a re-cap for last week.  I’m really sorry.  I’ll try to make it up next week with a few great posts.  I feel an extended Houser Watch coming on.

The tournament is still a work in progress.  Haas recommends that we call it March Fagness.   I agree.   So far the squads are:

Crazy D/John Free




and AJW is looking for a partner.

This weekend, in the flesh we’ll put it together and set it up for next weekend.


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The AFBlog came together so nicely because it’s called the AFBlog. It’s a perfect nomeclature. It nestles into itself splendindly. I wish all things could be named so easily. A catchy title is half the battle. Look at teams like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays or Atlanta Thrashers. How can we take them seriously with such awkward dopey names? When a team like the San Jose Sharks or the Baltimore Ravens materialize it’s easier to accept them because of their fluid names.

Last year one Mr. Jim Houser, he of the Watch fame, suggested that we start an AFBL march madness tournament. Everyone would partner up for a two on two contest and then we could create a bracket. It was a great idea then and I hope it is a great idea now. I sent out an email today, so far all I have is myself and Mr. Houser, Nicky and Dom, and AJW looking for another baller. I hope more people get stoked. If I have to mention it at the game next Saturday, then I will, but this could be really fun if more people join. The games will be run to 8 by just 1’s. No three balls. Street rules, winner keeps, take back on everything. No Kobe elbows, otherwise loose and fast style games.

I’d like more people to join because I don’t want to make me and Jim the top seed give us a bye and then play the winner of AJW/TBD against Dom/Nicky. Winning that might feel somewhat unfulfilling.

I wish I had a catchy name for this event. I can’t think of any puns or spin offs invloving the AFBL moniker. If anyone can come up with a good name then I think this thing can be a success. And don’t call it something dumb like the Columbus Blue Jackets. You know?

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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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Protocol Issues

I don’t know the protocol for linking to other people’s pages and essentially reshaping a relevant blogs information, but I’m going to throw this stuff out there.  Agent Zero is so hot right now.  It’s disturbing considering the precipitous drop in his game.  Klosterman wrote about him in Ny Times Play Magazine.  Then Freedarko responded to that.  Then I saw this on truehoop which linked to the actual post

So Gilbert takes his free throws. As he gets ready for the third and final one, he turns to the Golden State bench and says: ‘Go to the lockerroom. Get on the bus. It’s over.

Gilbert Arenas is such a strange figure.  He feels like the closest thing in the NBA to the Arcade Fire.  The Arcade Fire is one of those critical darling bands but has begun to generate cross over success.  As is witnessed by their profiles in the Ny Times Sunday Magazine  and the New Yorker.  Hell, even Tony Kornheiser is openly petitioning the listeners of his radio show to give him tickets to their sold out D.C. show.  I personally don’t care much for teh Arcade Fire, but I respect bands that seemingly do this on their own and make it big time.

Gilbert Arenas is going the same route.  He is generating his own star power with his quirkiness.  However, when will he have to step up?  Will he ever be a star like T-Mac and V.C. who burn for a minute on skills and then fade out all together?  Will Arenas ever win anything and would he become a bigger star if he was somewhere besides D.C.?

I just wanted to post that insane bit about telling the team to get on the bus before he took his last shot.  Last year he choked in the playoffs when LeBron handed him the ball on the free throw line and said this is your season, don’t fuck it up.  This year he’s calling people out in the regular season.  Dude’s got stones. 

I am interested in this because of the level of confidence and bravado it takes to do something like that.  Not just on a basketball court.  I’m talking about every where in life.  I never ever feel that confident.  If I ever feel good about something, I immediately start to wonder why I feel good and then I get paranoid about the fact that I’m paranoid about the feeling I thought was good.  Then it’s usually over.  What happens to Gilberto?  Does he not feel those feelings?  What happens when he is wrong?  Can he just laugh it off?  These are the burning questions in my life.

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Dunk Follow Up

Jim seems to think these will help me dunk. I’ll try anything. But probably not these:

Jump Shoes

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I Want to Dunk

There is nothing else in the world I would rather be able to do than dunk.  Is dunking an acquirable skill?  Or is it innate?  Are people born dunking?  If I hadn’t wasted my time on skateboard for all those years, would I be able to slam dunk?  Can I learn now?  I’ll buy those dumb shoes, I’ll do what it takes, as long as what it takes is not hard work.  You ain’t getting this guy in a gym.

Theres thousands of these videos on youtube, I just chose this one of Vince Carter because it is amazing and it highlights the difference between American ballin and Euro ballin.  I like to think that Carter made this dunk lost his mind and Team USA was down by 20.  That would summarize our nation’s basketball pretty succinctly.


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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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