I’ve always had reccurring dreams about those things important in my life, but I never thought I’d have nightmares about being a sports writer. Yep, I’ve graduated to the big time and the AJC should be calling soon baby. Six-figure salary, benefits package, severance pay, insurance, the whole nine is headed my way. Furman Bisher, Lewis Grizzard here I come. So long Patrick. It’s been nice knowing you.
Well, that really is a dream, but I’m not kidding about the nightmares. Some I’ve had for years, but these most recent ones concerning my life as a sports writer for the MCC on 2nd St. have just begun to rear their ugly head. This means I’m getting way too serious about this job. How do I know? Well, as a high school basketball coach, I had dreams about coaching. Just ask my wife. When I was teaching, I had dreams about teaching. When I was a golfer, I had dreams about golf. So, now that I’m a sports writer, I’m having dreams about sports writing. You gotta be kidding me.
There are other categories of my nightmares that include “Naked and Ashamed-The Series,” about surviving a day on a nude beach where I’m the only one nekkid and people are a looking, laughing, and pointing. I hate the pointing part the most. This has nothing to do with sports, but much to do about my shortcomings I suppose. However, if you’ve ever tried to get off a nude beach and somebody has hidden all your clothes, you can do some pretty athletic tricks in your dreams.
Since this is supposedly a sports column, I’ll just go with that line of thinking for now. Let’s start with basketball. My two favorite dream quotes, according to my wonderful wife Sheryl, are, “Box out,” and “Take a charge.” Now, these words are not mumbled almost incoherently. They are not spoken as in a trance. Oh, no. They are screamed with enthusiasm and come with the entire litany of Coach Richardson sideline antics and animation. For those of you fortunate to have lived long enough to remember the 1980’s, you just old. And, it was the era of my weaning into a basketball coach. I was prone to technical fouls, scowls from the referees, and scolding of my players. To implore them to Box Out (a technical term used to describe screening a player from getting a rebound) and Draw a Charge (placing of one’s body between a driving player and the basket that usually results in broken bones and lost teeth) I was constantly screaming those two phrases on every possession. I was no less enthusiastic when it came to these nightmares. The usual scenario ended with my standing on the bed, howling like a stark-raving lunatic, and using my wife as a guinea pig to illustrate how the technique was to be done. She herself has survived a broken nose, facial bruising, and hurt feelings during these episodes. It’s a wonder we’re still married.
Golfing was once-upon-a-time as much of an addiction as saltwater fishing is today. I had to give up one to be able to afford the other. I chose fishing. I have thrown a nine iron into a pond, but never a $300 rod and reel setup into the Gulf of Mexico. I have never cursed the day I decided to go fishing, but with golf let’s just say I would have been happier on occasion to have been hauling hay in July. Again, the addiction to golf led to some serious nightmares. They usually centered around getting to the course late, leaving my clubs at home, having to borrow a set of clubs that are right-handed (I’m a lefty), holding up everyone in sight due to losing my ball on every shot, having impossible lies that continue to hold up the next group, losing my way on the course, wrecking the golf cart, and everything and anything that can make a round embarrassing. It’s a terrible dream, but that’s what happens when you’re playing way too much golf.
Now, to my current state of affairs and the related nightmares of said profession. Yep, I’m a sports writer for the vaunted Morgan County Citizen covering a game. The latest one involved my coverage of the 8-AAA Basketball Tournament at Emmanuel College. It’s Championship game night and both the boys and girls are in the finals. I get to the game late, of course, and a burly security guard tells me in his deepest, gruffest, most intimidating voice, “You can’t come in.” “Why not?” I ask. “Because I said so,” he growled.
Well, those of you who know me well can vouch for the fact that I am somewhat of a smart-aleck and a little sarcastic when I want to be. I’m also braver, much braver in my dreams. He opened the door for me, so I said, “Who made you the gate keeper, Deputy Dog?” This did not sit well with him you could tell. “I did, and you ain’t comin’ in here with that back pack on. There’s no telling what’s in it,” he replied. My first thought was that they were profiling. Yep, as soon as I entered the door, he put the blue light on me. He’s profiling old, white, baldheaded, handicapped men on crutches who’ve had a kidney transplant, carrying a backpack and wearing nothing but 1991 coaching apparel purchased at Goodwill. Fits the description. This is our guy. He’s definitely a terrorist.
He firmly asked, “Why are you carrying a backpack?” My response, “I have rope and the game ball in here. I’m going to climb on the roof and repel down from a secret opening to deliver the game ball. It’s been signed by Snoop Dog.” Needless to say, he wasn’t pleased.
I finally showed him my shiny credentials from the Morgan County Citizen thinking he would be impressed. He wasn’t and asked, “You here to report on the game?” “Nope, just thought I’d bring this pad and pencil in here to draw sketches of the referees and cheerleader sponsors.” Here’s you sign. To make a long story short, he threw me out, I missed the game, got fired the next day, and woke up when Morgan County’s teams both won the State Championship and I still couldn’t get in. Well, I hope that part of the dream comes true. I’d be glad to exchange a Championship ring for missing the game as long as I still have a job. By the way, can I get a raise Patrick? I’m working way too hard and having nightmares.