2000-06-03 / Sports

Graybeard Hoops

Some Wake Up On Wrong
Side Of Bed

By Seymour Turnovers

When gym availability snafus inevitably arise during the season and games are moved from Thursday night to Saturday morning it’s expected that most players sleepwalk until the final buzzer goes off --- and then they awake and think they’re late for work.

But some guys have their own clock. Who knew Leaper Howley was so irritable and crotchety in the a.m.? He now holds the dubious record of getting the earliest technical foul in league history. After getting hammered and clawed on three straight plays without a call he barked at the ref --- the one who looks like a constipated Chihuahua--- and earned himself a T. League officials clocked it at 9:50 a.m. Leaper is now in arrears for the league fee and a case of cold ones.

Of course, that record faces obliteration the next time Mark Cannon and Jack Meade suit up for a Saturday morning game. These two combustible curmudgeons don’t take this technical foul stuff lightly---they clearly want whatever records there are.

Remember they used to call Michael Jordan, MJ? Funny, they used to call Happy Jack Meade, MJ, too. Before he became happy he was Miserable Jack. And before he was Miserable Jack he was Black Jack and before he was Black Jack he was Jack the Bear and before that he was Jack the Ripper. Well, when his team went down 30 last Saturday he looked a lot like little Jack Horner who sat in a corner eating a humble pie. After two straight defeats Jack is looking fondly back on the last two seasons when injuries prevented him from playing.

But Jack is as jolly as Barney the dinosaur compared to teammate Mark Cannon who is proving to be slightly more unstable, slightly more temperamental, slightly more psychotic than Rasheed Wallace.

For the first time in the long glorious history of the Graybeards a player---a man allegedly well past the age of reason--- got tossed from the game.

Memo to Mark. You traveled, the ref called it. You cried. You got a tech. You kicked the bleachers. You got another tech. When you move from tech to tantrum you get sent to your room and don’t get welcomed back until you apologize with a keg.

The technical fouls were actually a welcome distraction as the games were strictly ho-hum.

In the morning’s opener, Superman Dan Leary and the rifling Raphaels put the big hurt on Leaper and friends in workmanlike fashion. There were few highlights though Kevin Raphael looked a lot like Mr. Limpet or Mr. MaGoo on the foul line. His teammates were imploring him to "aim at the orange thing" as he clanked one free throw after another. This from the affable beanstalk (last measured at 7’6") who didn’t miss a single freebie in 1999. Not one. This year he’s oh-for-the-season.

In game two, Happy Jack (MJ) and Hothead Cannon were joined in ignominy by GI Joe (suddenly AWOL and MIA) Bill Nolan, Jim Dunn, Whopper Armstrong, Ed Cashen and Peter Brady. Look for them in The Wave’s Police Blotter for disorderly conduct or driving while under the influence of Jack Meade. This sorry bunch of sad-sacks allowed a woefully undermanned squad named McCool and The Gang to do the hustle all over their heads. Dan Conlin and Brian Boyle, aging bookends, looked like they were back at Ford and Nazareth as they took turns doing the Freak and the Funky Chicken on their way to numerous easy buckets.

By the way, Boyle and Conlin were the power forwards on this day with Kevin Lunny and Bugsy Goldberg handling the chores in the backcourt for all 40 minutes. They musta done good ‘cause we can’t think of anything bad to say….though there was a Bugsy fingeroll that missed the hoop --- conservatively by six feet.

In the third game, the Lemon Maroon Pies put a pounding on the Red Rabbits. After Red took a halftime lead the Maroons huddled, vowing to get more physical. Enter Tommy Boy Carroll.

The walking refrigerator raked the Red’s Kevin Kelleher across the face, threw him to the ground, stepped on his chest and said "sorry." The ref, increasingly obtuse as the morning wore on, told Kelleher he was about to fall anyway so he couldn’t call a foul on the play. But that play set the tone as other Maroons joined in the melee on their way to a 10 point win.

Rim shots: Helen Brady was missed; Kenny Brady wasn’t (again).

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