Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another Family's Hoop Dreams "Off the Rez"

I grew up playing basketball in Central Oregon, and I got my first lessons in Rez Ball early and often. Quick middle school guards from Madras ran circles around me and my team. In high school, the Pendleton forwards could handle every ball their guards passed to them. Hearing the NPR interview and then watching the documentary "Off the Rez" airing on TLC, the Schimmel family brought me back to those players and teams. I'm pretty sure my older siblings played against Shoni Schimmel's parents and the girl's got game. Following one family from the Umatilla Reservation, to Portland, and into the world of competitive girls basketball. Set your DVRs and move "Off the Rez" to your sports documentary watch list.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Maybe NOT Saying "Perfect Game" or "No Hitter" is the Jinx

Our wedding tables: names after ballparks.
photo by John Riedy Photography.
The Dodgers win at Shea.
D and I went on a baseball tour for our honeymoon in 2002. As we watched Dodgers pitcher Odalis Perez put away his 18th straight batter from the cheap seats at Shea, a guy explained to his date why Mets' fans were applauding Dodger put-outs saying, "He's pitching a no hitter." I looked at the guy, then looked at D and asked, "Uh, he's  perfect, right?" In the next inning Odalis walked a batter and then gave up a two-run home run.

D has forever held me responsible for ruining Odalis' perfect game, but recently, as we've watched pitchers go deep into flawless games only for them to give up perfection in the last few innings, I got to thinking. Maybe we have it backwards. Maybe these events are so rare because people don't call them as they see them. The tension from the crowd gets the pitcher all stressed out and it's lonely how no one talks to the guy in the dugout. Commentators somehow get to mention what's happening and ESPN covers possible history, so why can't we say it? Maybe fans should start saying "perfect" and "no hitter" and then they'll happen more.