Don’t Be the Benchwarmer Everyone Hates

During the second half of my second year in Israel, I was relegated to the bench. I wasn’t a sixth man. I was the last man. Well, maybe I was just above the 17-year-old who was in the army and was only there half the time. But I certainly wasn’t playing.

I’d never been a bench warmer. While it was miserable at the time, I learned a lot. Like how sometimes you just have to deal with an “unfair” situation. You have no right to become an obnoxious, negative, sarcastic practical joker just because you think you’ve been slighted. That’s a good way to make a lot of enemies.

Here are a few other things you never want to do as a bench warmer:

Continue reading “Don’t Be the Benchwarmer Everyone Hates”

Reno Tryout

Day 2 of my D-League tryout for the Reno Bighorns was a success. Day 1? Not so much.

The event most integral in improving my performance on the second day occurred before the days activities even started. At the beginning of the morning session, while everyone was milling about and stretching, a player I did not know approached me. He said “You’re a good player, man. You’re a real point guard, and that’s hard to find out here.” And then he walked off.

Goddamn that made me feel so good. In a span of 2 seconds I went from feeling sluggish, annoyed, and silly for making the trip in the first place, to simply radiating good vibes.

It’s amazing how a small compliment from a stranger can change your entire outlook on things. I was of the impression that no one could have come away impressed by my performance on the first day. That one compliment let me know that there are people that notice the little things, and it gave me the hope that the coaches might be taking note of my contributions as well. Continue reading “Reno Tryout”

Hazing

When a bunch of athletes are constantly hanging out with each other, it is natural for a lot of trash talking to go on. But if you are a small, white, Ivy League grad, you are probably going to deal with more crap than the average person. That is just the way the world works. There are a couple of main points people like me have to contend with. Continue reading “Hazing”

Team Meetings

I have a serious bone to pick with the concept of the team meeting. Maybe it is my tendency to view everything through the most bitter lens possible, but I believe they serve no purpose. They are only called when things are going bad. Everyone knows things are going bad. The problems with bad teams usually run deep, and a 45 minute meeting is not going to be enough to change the tide. Call me pessimistic, but that has been my experience.

I have been on some bad teams, but maybe none more dysfunctional than my team last year. The Calabasas Coyotes circa 2002 had some serious head cases, but that is too long ago for the memories to stick out. I also had some classic team meetings in college, but I’ll have to really think about those details before I write about them. So we are sticking with Haifa for now. Continue reading “Team Meetings”

College Speech

I was cleaning my room and found the speech I made at the basketball banquet my senior year of college. Thought it would be interesting to throw up here. It’s kind of sappy, but whatever. It got laughs at the time. At least I didn’t skip the event entirely to go to a Nas concert, something I actually considered. Continue reading “College Speech”

How To Ruin a Negotiation Without Really Trying

1. Be angry from the moment you wake up.

From 10 AM on I was working myself up about my meeting with the team owner. I decided that there was no reason that he should have charged me for the car that he let me use for a month. There was no reason I should have to pay for a flight when we never the discussed the details before hand. There was no reason I had to go in there and be a kiss ass when I had not been paid in over 2 months. I was ready to really get into it with this guy.

2. Don’t Listen to Anybody’s Pre-Meeting Advice

Maybe my agent sensed the fury growing within me, because he called me around 11 AM. He told me that he had talked with the owner, that I needed to accept whatever money he offered me, and that he would work something out later. I asked him why everything always got pushed back around here. He insisted that nothing good would come of bringing the ruckus right now. Continue reading “How To Ruin a Negotiation Without Really Trying”