Bartlett traded to Glo­be­trot­ters

Sackville Tribune - - OP-ED - Steve Bartlett The Deep End Steve Bartlett is an ed­i­tor with Saltwire Net­work. His dives into the Deep End each Mon­day to avoid re­al­ity and tech­ni­cal fouls. Reach him at sbartlett@thetele­gram.com.

How does a 49-year-old grav­i­ta­tion­ally-chal­lenged man end up on the Har­lem Glo­be­trot­ters bench?

He asks to play with their op­po­nent, the World All-stars.

A few months ago, after hearing the Trot­ters were com­ing, I in­quired about join­ing the op­pos­ing All-stars, a team that never wins.

It seemed like a nat­u­ral fit. My high school team, the 1983-86 Herd­man Huskies, en­joyed sim­i­lar suc­cess. Our motto: Losers!

But the Glo­be­trot­ters must have feared the explosive skills of a 250-pound, slow-mov­ing six-foot spare who hasn’t played com­pet­i­tive basketball since “Rock Me Amadeus” topped the mu­sic charts.

Min­utes be­fore the game, I am handed a Glo­be­trot­ters jersey and told to re­port to their bench.

The trans­ac­tion lit­er­ally made head­lines (See above).

Which brings me to my cur­rent lo­ca­tion – the Glo­be­trot­ters bench. Alone. With roughly 7,000 peo­ple star­ing at me.

Fi­nally, a cap­tive au­di­ence to watch me dance “Gang­nam Style.”

I jump up and ...

OK, I stop just short of do­ing so, be­cause of the legacy my kids would have to deal with.

“Hey, their dad is Gang­ham Steve. Get them.”

In all se­ri­ous­ness, the 11-yearold in­side me is freak­ing out.

I’m at a Har­lem Glo­be­trot­ters game, on the Har­lem Glo­be­trot­ters bench, in a Har­lem Glo­be­trot­ters jersey.

I’M A HAR­LEM GLOBETROTTER!

“Sweet Ge­orge Brown” plays. My new team­mates ar­rive on the floor and are wel­com­ing – fir­ing a bar­rage of fist bumps and high fives my way.

This fires me up. But then, the dance mu­sic starts.

On cue, a me­tre in front of me, the Trot­ters dip and dab, twist and twerk.

They are re­ally good.

I am not. I twerked once and tore a mus­cle in my be­hind, which is called the glu­teus max­imus be­cause when you in­jure it, the pain is max­imus.

I pon­der dancing with the Trot­ters for about .000000012 sec­onds, but de­cide my best move is to stay on the bench.

If I were a Star­bucks drink, I’d be a Venti Wim­pac­cino.

It’s game time.

From a thun­der­ous dunk sec­onds into the match, I am in awe.

The pass­ing is pre­cise, the ball con­trol un­be­liev­able and the shoot­ing spectacular.

The Glo­be­trot­ters’ skill and show­man­ship is be­yond apt de­scrip­tion.

They per­form a basketball bal­let that com­bines with com­edy to make jaws drop and bel­lies laugh.

It’s an en­ter­tain­ing spec­ta­cle. De­spite be­ing on the Glo­be­trot­ters’ bench in a Glo­be­trot­ters jersey, it’s ob­vi­ous how far out of their league I am.

I’m thrilled to stay where I am, in the very best seat in the house.

Then coach Barry “High Rise” Hardy – who had a 48-inch ver­ti­cal jump in his play­ing days – ap­proaches me.

“Can you shoot?” he asks. “We may have to put you in.” Yikes!

“I’m a triple threat,” I tell him. “I can shoot, pass and drive.”

I spend the rest of game on the bench fear­ing two things: get­ting in the game and be­ing dunked on and sit­ting on the bench and be­ing punked on.

I hon­estly thought the wa­ter bucket gag was end­ing with H2O cas­cad­ing over my hair­less head.

But nei­ther hap­pens. The buzzer sounds. Glo­be­trot­ters win.

I don’t play, but see lots of ac­tion.

What im­presses me most – more than the skill and thrill – was the Glo­be­trot­ters’ fo­cus on en­ter­tain­ing fans dur­ing the game and after, when they held a lengthy au­to­graph ses­sion.

The team goes the ex­tra mile to ac­com­mo­date ev­ery kid in the build­ing – in­clud­ing this one.

JOE GIB­BONS/SALTWIRE NET­WORK

Steve Bartlett (left) with Zeus Mc­clurkin and Hot Shot of the Har­lem Glo­be­trot­ters.

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