I haven’t lost too many fights. In fact, there is only one time where I can say I got my shit handed to me. And even that was a fluke.
I probably should’ve hit a shower and grabbed a nap. It was one of those Saturday afternoons where you did anything on campus just to be outside of your room. I was in the recreation center, sitting on the sidelines as the game before carried on too long from phantom foul calls and bickering. It sickened me. It just sickened me.
With a belly full of disgust, I began to heckle the whiners, the phantom call callers, and the game stallers. It was their fault I was still sitting on the sidelines still. I didn’t yell anything unique, but my voice was loud enough to throw a couple of shots off. On that day, heckling was so fun, I wanted to stay on the sideline and keep doing it. But when the game finally ended and it was my run, I decided to play. I couldn’t keep sitting on the sidelines after all the shit I was talking.
Shit talkers come and go. I have been talking shit on the basketball court since I was 5 years old. Its how I was taught to play ball. School ya while schooling ya. The only time I don’t remember talking shit was during my 9th grade Intramural championship game. My team of underdogs beat the so called best kids on the basketball team. To win, I felt I needed to play a perfect game. When playing a perfect game, you don’t need to talk.
On that Saturday, my shit talking seemed to effect on player in particular. His name was Gil. No one knows exactly where Gil is right now. But that’s fitting, because no one really knew exactly where Gil was from. When I arrived at NSU, people told me he was a former recruit from some Caribbean island, who decided to stay local in Tahlequah after graduation. That story never added up. For one, Gil was high yellow, and everybody knows the only high yellow export from the Caribbean was Tim Duncan. But I digress. I didn’t know much about Gil, but my shit talking affected him more because I attacked him personally. Gil talked funny. He was 6’4, 250 pounds, but his voice was as soft as a young Mike Tyson’s. I guess he remembered my jokes, because when I got on the court, he seemed to relish throwing elbows, even when there was no rebound in sight.
I ain’t no punk. In fact, I’m actually pretty fucking suicidal. I have stood on my two toes and fought a dozen men at once rather than coward and hide. So when Gil started throwing elbows, I didn’t back down, even though it felt like I’d be pissing blood for sure. No I didn’t back down. I ran back up the court and finessed him on the offensive end then chased him back down the court, a footstep behind at most. If he made a shot, I called him a bitch. If he missed, I called him a pussy. I didn’t know how affected he became.
One one rip up the court, after a ravishing show and go ball fake reminiscent of Hakeem the Dream, Gil’s feet became tangled in mine and he tripped himself as he tried to initiate contact. Assuming I’d done it on purpose, he hopped to his feet. I remember him saying “Thass It.”, a warning I didn’t heed because I was frozen by the tickle of the sound. In just the nick of time, I dodged his charge and slid to the other corner, as a gang of other pick up ballers rushed in between us to separate us. What the fuck is his problem. Can’t take a joke I thought. The ruckus was louder than any time that day. If it weren’t for the basketball sitting in the middle of the court, it would be hard to fathom why we even there.
Then without warning, Gil busts through the wedge of blockers and throws a sucker punch that lands dead on my nose. Its so sneaky, I barely position and turn back to the crowd between us. Was he going to hit me in the back of the head? The instant he hits me, I can feel something is wrong. It was confirmed by this kid Steve. He used to got to Booker T.
“I think you done for the day man.”, he said.
“Yeah. Is my nose broke.?.”, I replied.
“Yea. Its broke.”, he answered.
I didn’t have a car, so I waited 15 minutes in the lobby with a broken nose bleeding through a towel as my friend Shari came to take me to the hospital. It took a week to heel and has been a bit of an eyesore since.
I never saw Gil again. Gil was never seen again. It was as if he’d never existed.