Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Skee-Lo -- "I Wish" (1995)

I wish I was a little bit taller
I wish I was a baller

Skee-Lo's 1995 hit, "I Wish," was released on the rapper's 20th birthday.  (By the way, Skee-Lo's real name is Antoine Roundtree.)

The singer of "I Wish" has got the hots for a girl named Leoshi.  There's just one problem:

Her boyfriend's tall and he plays ball
So how am I gonna compete with that?
'Cause when it comes to playin' basketball
I'm always last to be picked
And in some cases never picked at all

It's the way of the world: "the jocks get the fly girls," while the guys like the singer "get the hood rats."

Skee-Lo is said to be only 5' 4" -- considerably shorter than most of the ballers who monopolize the fly girls -- so I'm guessing that this song is painfully true-to-life.

We have snow today, but it's (finally) spring time.  Spring is when (in the words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson) "a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love" -- or perhaps it turns to thoughts of the NCAA basketball tournament and your "March Madness" bracket.  

I used to be close to 6' 3" back in the day, but I'm about 6' 2" now -- which is still  comfortably taller than the average height of the American male, which is 5' 9 1/2".  But when it came to basketball, my skills weren't all that mad.  The only thing I really had going for me was height.  

About 12 years ago, I became a basketball referee.  I'm guessing that a lot of the players and fans look at me when I come on to the court and assume I played in high school or even college because I'm tall.  Then they see how I run and realize they've probably jumped to conclusions.

I referee a fair number of boys' and girls' high-school games, but I do a lot of games involving younger kids, too.  I even spent one morning this season refereeing games for a first-grade instructional league:

"Can't anybody here play this game?"
Some of the private schools have dedicated dressing rooms for the refs, but most of the public schools ask you to get dressed for games in the physical education office.

I'm guessing that this bathroom was shared by both male and female coaches:

The phys ed office at Churchill High School had some inspirational sayings taped to the wall, including this one by Albert Camus -- not what you'd expect in such a setting:

Say what you will about public schools, but the schools where I live do know their Latin plurals:

Some of the private schools in the Washington area are pretty posh.  Here's the gym at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA, which also has an officials' dressing room that comes equipped not only with a nice shower but also with a digital clock that's connected to the scoreboard clock, so you know exactly when you need to go to the gym.  (We're supposed to be on the floor fifteen minutes before the start of the game and three minutes before the start of the second half.)

Here's an exterior shot of the gym.  (I think a lot of people would look at Episcopal's gym and its expansive campus as a whole and assume they were at a tony private college.)

The Episcopal HS gym 
Occasionally, I see a celebrity at a game I'm refereeing.  Here's former Washington Bullets player Gheorghe Muresan with his middle-school team.  Muresan was 7' 7" -- there's never been a taller player in the NBA.

Gheorghe Muresan
This year I worked some rec league games with rookie referee Adrian Dantley, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame who averaged over 30 points a game for four consecutive seasons and finished with over 23,000 points in his 15-year professional career. 

NBA great Adrian Dantley
My youngest child, Peter, is an inch or so shy of six feet.  So it's pretty impressive that he's got enough hops to dunk the ball:

Peter was a good high-school basketball player -- he was on the varsity team for three years, and started quite a few games -- but he might have been even better if he had been as tall as I am.  

Then again, maybe he wouldn't have worked as hard if he had been taller.  (Peter was a self-made player.)  And maybe he wouldn't have the little chip on his shoulder that made him such a tough competitor.

I think my favorite memory from all his games was one from his senior year, when his team's opponents included a footballer who was 6' 5" and well over 250 pounds.  That kid couldn't jump, but he occupied a lot of space and was pretty much unstoppable when he got the ball within five feet of the basket.  

As the opponents were bringing the ball up court late in the game, Peter was walking backward directly in front of the big guy, probably talking a little trash.  Suddenly, he stopped dead -- meaning that the big guy was going to have to change direction to get around him.  Instead, he simply put his big paws on Pete's chest and shoved him to the ground.

Peter (#2) and his senior teammates
await pregame introductions
The referee saw what happened and immediately (and correctly) called an intentional foul.  That meant two free throws -- both of which Peter hit -- and possession of the ball.

I suppose the lowlight of Peter's high school career for me came a few games later, when he became the only player on his team that year to be assessed a technical foul after he complained (and complained and complained) about a foul called on a teammate.  You'd think a referee's kid would know enough to keep his mouth shut.

Here's a brief video I took just before the tip-off at the final home game of my son's varsity basketball career.  His coach had a pretty good game face, but so did Pete:

Peter also had fun with basketball, as this amazing video (which he made when he was a 9th-grader) shows:

Here's Skee-Lo's "I Wish":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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