Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cork Bottles, Peanut Butter and Mannatech

Note: the headline has nothing to do with the actual post(s) below. (Sorry Eboy).

When I began to think about updating the blog today, I began with a few ideas. Some of them included talking about school, others purely basketball. Why school? Its over for the next 2 weeks. Then I thought about Gilbert Arenas being injured unitl (most likely) early January and what it means that the namesake of this blog would be down again for at least 20 games this season. Devastation, horror and frustration all flashed through my mind when I first read his most recent of blogs on
People whinge and bitch about how a superstar athlete shouldnt be talking about paintball fights, injuries, pubic hair and on/off relationships with his girlfriend (now wife) to the public over the internet. But they can all go fuck off in my opinion. Heres why:
Because he is different. Not just in life and profession to 99.999% of the world population, but because of his charisma, attittude and work ethic. I guarantee that almost everyone with a negative view of his blog will be someone who was never good enough at school, mad poor lifestyle choices, fell into a cycle of suburban abuse or several of these things. And all of them are holistic. He has that drive to succeed and be the best he possibly can. If we can gain that insight into his life of struggle and determination then arent we all the better for it? If we can realise that hard work DOES pay off with some luck, then isnt that a motivation to perform and succeed in life?
Gilbert is a character. Right now in the NBA there just arent enough people like him with that charisma and savvy (the latest Wizards PR day as the exception, and understandably so). People are polarised by Gil. His antics, buzzer beaters, quotes and personality divide people like no else except Kobe.
Gil is (when hot, and un-injured) absolutely one of the deadliest scorers in the game. His moves have a variety and a flavour that almost nobody on the planet can match. Kobe can do some, Wade and LeBron others. But none of them have that package that Arenas brings to the table. He's a deadly shooter from long range and will punish you if you leave a lane even half open. He is more explosive than Kobe getting to the ring nowadays and is a better shooter than Wade or LeBron from the perimeter (although they are improving).
I wonder how much of that explosive ability is gone now after three injuries in 18months though.
We could, unfortunately be seeing him go down another Grant Hill/Penny Hardaway path. Though Hill had ankle injuries (not knee) and Penny tried to carry the sizeable load that Shaq left when he departed from Orlando to Lakerland.
I hope this is not the case, I really do. Basketball fans have been down this all-too-familiar path before and know how the story ends-in tragedy and pain for all involved.

On a lighter note, I'll fill everyone in on how things are back home in Sydney and a small bit of background history on why I support the Rockets so fervently.
Well, we've just entered basketball season for school and we have a series of tournaments both for the ISA (Independant Schools Assosication) and other tournaments from around the Sydney Basin Area (the geographical feature that helps identify Sydney).
We play other private schools over the next week or so, and unfortunately, I dont see us bringing home any medals. It is pre-season though and doesnt carry over into the regualr season. The problem we (as a team have) is that we are deep on the roster but have NO chemistry. At all!
Our point is a pass first dude with a knack for stealing the ball, but he passes TOO often, trying the impossible pass when theres a guy for the wide open 3. I might be starting at either the 2 or 3 this year (or being the 6th man) and I can score the ball, but I think in order for us to win I need to take more than 5-10 shots a game. Thats not being selfish though I dont think, since otherwise we have around 50 points in us as a unit. We need about 85.
We play the powerhouses Oakhill (seems like Oakhill is great no matter where you play, USA or AUS), St. Pius (who have 2 state players) and Riverview College (aka Iggy's or View) those guys are insanely tough. Then theres Newington College, who finished 2nd in the nation last year and just killed everyone they played.
In other news, I got some of my exam marks back and I passed maths (yay!) but I dont know my % yet. And I am looking at around 80-85% for Ancient History. I havent got anything else back yet, but the signs are positive (fingers crossed).
Why do I support the Rockets? For several reasons. Tmac was deadly in Orlando and was (when they first came out) playing for the Magic when 'dunks' and 'anklebreakers' came out. I was in yr 7 (age 12/13) and around 6'1 and really long and skinny. I was always stuck in the paint and forced to play either centre or power forward. I felt that I could relate to a guy who. at 6'8 could shoot the ball, run the point and be a do-everything-well type of player. That to me was the first step. I loved McGrady first. I never had the same affectations for Kobe or Iverson. Tmac has that kind of sleepy smurf type look but when he wakes up, he's just nuts (see his 40 point game 7 effort against the Jazz this year).
When he moved to Houston for my favourite 1/2 combo in Cat and Stevie (Cuttino Mobley and Steve Francis) that trade brought me further towards appreciating the Rockets. Franchise was the heart and soul of the rockets for the previous 4 or 5 years after their championship run. Hakeem was aging and Charles was retired. Yao was a rookie in '02 and was finding his feet. Watching 'Year of the Yao' really helped to understand what went into a locker room and the personalities and attitudes of those in an NBA team. It was definitely eye-opening. So, Steve went to Orlando and teamed with a rookie named Dwight Howard and Cat suffered in the Clippers.
Then 13 in 33 happened. That was amazing. Against the Spurs. It is in my opinion, the greatest finish to a game in NBA history. Better than Jordan (except for MAYBE the 98 Finals game 6, what a way to finish huh?) That sealed my love for them forever.
I felt all those first round losses of Tmac. Its like my school team being knocked out of the semi's 4 years running. It hurts man. It hurts.
Those playoff games they've played since? Well, hopefully they can make some noise. They have a very deep team and a lot of defensive intensity with Yao, Artest and Battier (who is out for the pre-season). Brooks can be a pest and Tmac can play defense as well. Chuck Hayes is an excellent defenfer and with the exception of Yao, the whole front team is scrappy, athletic and bring various elements to the table to work cohesively as a unit. Best of luck for the next season boys. Great job with the community support as well.

Movie Reviews:
Step Bros- Could have been better, Will Ferrell was at his best since, I have no idea. Semi-Pro? He was ok, Ive liked his last 2 or 3 movies more recently, similair to Nicholas Cage and his treasure movies. It does have some very funny moments. 7.5 out of 10.

Eagle Eye- Wow, that was... interesting, I was disappointed with the mid section, but overall it was pretty ok. I could see where they were going with this type of movie genre, but they tried too hard, and it came off looking somewhat fake. Shia! LeForehead *slaps*. 7-10.

We at hibachi have been working over time behind the scenes to bring you the latest and flyest new bloggers over time and we (shortly) will be presenting you with Money Bill Williams from the slamboards *claps and applause!*. He will become one of the esteemed members of hibachi in the short future, in the mean time, you can check out his work, which is linked to the side of the page. Same as our boy betcats, who is welcome to guest write for us at any time. Same as anyone else who thinks they have anything to contribute (looking at the slam boys in particular) and big ups to SKO for repping us as well, we return the favour in kind. You guys need to update fellas!
Remember: if you trip, you WILL fall. Stay on your feet.
Peace, Hursty.

PS: for the lovers and the haters too-


Moose said...

Good stuff, Hursty. Thanks for the site update . . .

Hursty said...

Just for you Moose. Now go read ALL of RV's post.

Money Bill Williams said...

clap & applause

Money Bill Williams said...

newington are tough, we played them last year in my final game for the school before we graduated. Barker College too! And Oakhill were a class above. We had three state players but also had no chemistry which killed us in the long run

Eboy said...

I co-sign Mosse.

Hursty said...

Well, thanks to everyone then I suppose. E- you played at a high level I understand? You wrote about it on your old blog. If you had any advice for our team what would it be? This can apply to anyone (even that Irish kid).
Barker are average now, we beat a few teams and Oakhill are in our league, so we play them twice. They lost their leading scorer and assist man (who had a 50 point, 15 assist game last year) but we lost our centre who gave 35 and 15 without fail. So its a far more open competition this year. Newington retain most of their core (including their 6'7 PF and 6'9 centre.

Eboy said...

I like to think I still play on a high level, thank you!!!!! Fucker!! Seriously though, here's a couple of things I take into account now that I'm a 25 year veteran of this game.

1) First, regarding the team chemistry issue, it's harder to gel when your younger (I was young at one point of my life, so I know) then it is when you get into your late twenties and thirties when you can take a step back, evaluate your role and most importantly, ACCEPT THAT ROLE. It's not easy, but against the competition you say your facing, building team character should happen pretty quickly if you don't want to get blown out in games.

2) As I also coach kids (9-10 yr olds and 13-15 year olds) I know that there is a fine line between being good and being "the man" in that early teen demographic. I know you are a little older than that but really, taking on the persona of a NBA team, lets use the Rockets as an example since their your boys, can let each player on the squad have a defined role and a general idea of what is expected from them. It doesn't work well if you take it uber serious, but it does create more of a team synergy by allowing your teammates to joke about who's who, seems silly at first, but if i know you're Ron artest and I'm supposed to be Raefer, then I should have no questions about what my job is. Make sense, I hope so.

3) Depending on your coach, and the style played, hard-edged defensive drills and recognition for great hustle, taking charges, big rebounds and all around outstanding effort makes the teams gelling capacity rise tremendously.

Let's put it like this, everyone wants to shoot or be a scorer, not everyone wants to do the other things I mentioned. If you are a good scorere yourself and you set that type of example, regardless of where you fall on the depth chart the effort will be recognized and your teammates and coaches will be forced to a)follow suit and b)push for everyone to take that approach. Good luck for real.

D.A. said...

Yo Hursty my man,
Where abouts you play and in what league mayne? Basketball teams become good when, as previously stated here, everyone accepts the roles defined for them.
Also, team rules and principles, when implemented and embraced by the team, and really pumped up by snior members of the team, are a great way to get everybody on board.
If ya after any more coaching or team stuff, I been playin and coachin for a minute now, and may be able to give ya some helpful tips.



Hursty said...

Thanks fellas! Yo E, I got my 17th on October 8 (so I expect some blog love). We actually had this big team talk today about what we thought were our strengths and weaknesses coming into the season. It lasted about half an hour and it was really productive.
We decided on a few things, mainly that we DO NOT WANT TO PLAY ZONE. When we zone we get into foul trouble (even though its intended to hide poor defenders). We want to trap and press from 3/4 court as often as possible and use our speed as much as possible.
We had a big heart to heart and there was some tough love flowing from peoples mouthes. Mine included. Our team is comprised mostly of seniors (if not all) and we've played together for a long time (12 to 18yrs old). We know each others games as well. We also decided to run a lot of high-low's, back picks and motion offense. As well as back screens for our shooters (me included).
D.A, any time you have anything to add, it would be great to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by.
I might do some team updates as the season progresses in conjunction with other posts I do. Thanks!

Eboy said...

Hursty, sounds good that your team has a plan going forward. That's definitley going to help. Also, October 6th is my birthday, so I got first dibs on gettin' love!!!

Hursty said...

Man, I have to send you an E card then at some stage lmao! Yeh, the thing is, our coach can be great. But awful the nest minute. He's American and played in some high level league back in the dinosaur days.
Saying we are going to do stuff and actually doing it is another matter though.... thats what Im afraid of right now.

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