Sorry for the long delay. I know your lives were incomplete without a fresh posting.
He and his Mustang players were on their way home from a road loss. He felt his players hadn’t played hard. He stopped the bus at a graveyard. He ordered the players, still in their pads and uniforms, to get out and lie among the graves.
Some day they would all be dead, he said. They would have plenty of time to rest and commune with nature. He told them that life is short, and their time playing football together would be even shorter. He challenged them all to try harder next week and to bring the team’s season “back to life.”
Apparently this gambit was borrowed from the Denzel Washington movie Remember the Titans. But wherever it came from, it didn’t go over well with players and parents.
As the school superintendent said, the trip caused “confusion more than understanding” among the students.
“Collectively, they thought it was an odd choice of location,” he said.
I say, screw it. I like the cemetery stop. We should all visit cemeteries more often. Plus, at the risk of being rude, it sounds like the Marcellus kids phoned it in against the Skaneateles Lakers.
I was only vaguely aware of this young man previously. He was alleged to have sabotaged his Cleveland Cavaliers’ chance for a championship several years ago by having sex with the mother of his team’s star, LeBron James.
The dalliance caused caused hard feelings in the locker room, and reportedly led to a distracted effort by Mr. James.
But it turns out there are other reasons Delonte West is famous, including his arrest a couple years back while driving a three-wheeled motorcycle in the middle of the night on the Beltway in D.C., while carrying guns in a guitar case on his back.
As the gay columnist Dan Savage likes to ask, How’d that happen?
In an exhaustive interview with the online magazine Slam, Mr. West – a Maryland native who is part-Piscataway Indian – gave a long, detailed explanation of the absurd chain of events leading to the arrest.
The account included his waking up in the middle of the night while still under the influence of a medication for bipolar disorder. His friends had found the guns which he kept hidden in his basement recording studio. The friends were waving the weapons around “like gangsters,” he said. His mother, whom he lovingly refers to as “Ma Dukes,” was upset by the commotion.
So West grabbed the guns, hopped on his Spyder Can-Am motorcycle, and lit out for the territory.
He was eventually pulled over by officers. He started off the exchange by saying that he was: a) impaired; and b) highly armed. Things went downhill from there.
All of which is beside the point. I liked his closing quote in the interview.
“I ain’t looking for no nipple to cry on.”
As new idioms go, this one is hard to beat. Even my Armenian-American wife, on her best day, would have trouble surpassing it. It’s a phrase for the ages. It would not be totally out of place, come to think of it, as an epitaph.
Delonte West. Never looked for a nipple to cry on.
I hope my own children, as they make their way in the world, do not habitually look for a nipple to cry on. I want them to be tough and play hard. Just like the kids in Marcellus, N.Y., failed to do last week.
Speaking of children, I want to share some helpful parenting parameters which my wife Aleen once passed along to me.
Like the neutered Stay-At-Home Mr. Hockey Mom that I am, I called her one day to discuss an issue our daughter was having at school. She’d been in a fight with someone. Or she’d run afoul of a teacher or gotten sent to the principal’s office.
Aleen was busy at work, so she cut me off mid-explanation and issued this helpful directive.
This was just the information I needed. And it set the parenting bar low enough that I felt encouraged to pick up the gauntlet again and get back in the game.
No prostitution, no incarceration … I CAN DO THIS!
I was re-energized. No visit to a cemetery was even necessary.
I wish the junior varsity Marcellus Mustangs the very best of luck this weekend. May they play the game as if it were their last, and no matter what the outcome, may they seek no nipple to cry upon.