On the eve of March Madness, I'd like to look back on a hallowed sports tradition from my past. My buddy Scott's house was always NCAA tournament headquarters. There my friends congregated to watch basketball for hours on end. When there was a break in the action, we would hit the basketball court on his back patio.

Our game of choice was always "Lightning" (also known as "Speed" or "Elimination"). For those who may be unfamiliar with the rules, you form a line and try to eliminate the player in front of you by making a basket before them, and the last player standing wins. It's a simple premise, but where we got creative was in the designating and naming of spots on the patio to play from.

To aid with my descriptions, I created this diagram of Scott's backyard with a little help from Google Earth.

1. Pantsless Point
The right corner of the key (next to the clothesline). Whether or not a pantsless game actually took place from this spot has since faded into legend.

2. The Abyss
The far left corner of the court, positioned in the narrow alleyway on the side of the house. The hitch was that there was literally a trailer hitch parked there. Pretty much anytime someone had to chase a bouncing ball into the abyss, they would emerge with a limp.

3. Coffin Corner
The right corner of the court, which was actually out on the grass. After a while, the patch of grass where we lined up started to get trampled down, and looked like a coffin had been recently buried there. Actually, I'm kind of surprised that Scott's dad didn't bury one of us for monopolizing his TV and destroying his lawn.

4. Suicide Station
The far end of the patio in front of the picnic table—about the equivalent of a half court shot. It was especially agonizing when some of our less athletic friends lucked into being the final two, and the rest of us had to watch them bumble back and forth across the patio for what seemed like an eternity.

5. Tyler Memorial
Scott's younger brother Tyler was more athletic than the rest of us. He probably won 75% of the time when he joined in. When he was on his mission, we designated a spot close to the basket in his honor because it made the rest of us feel like we were as good as him.

6. The Himalayas
At the back of the yard, there was a steep slope with a switchback trail that led up to Farmington's Main Street. We foolishly tried to play from the sidewalk above a few times, running up and down the switchbacks. I don't think we ever actually finished a game that started up there. We always ended up passed out at Pantsless Point.

1 comment:

ScottBoomer said...

This appears to be a very accurate description of what took place for many, many years.

I'll never forget those agonizing match ups of Spencer and Jeremiah, it felt like neither of them wanted to win.

You failed to note the time that athletic Tyler lost to his little sister Alison (she was probably more athletic then Spencer and Jeremiah) and became so angry over this that he stormed into the house. I think I should bring that up with him next time he talks to me.