Everyone knows I have been disappearing in the winters the past two seasons so I should clue everyone in on my story and where I go. With Brittany Spears becoming the punch line to every joke, I would love to make a few comments myself like the rest of you insensitive heartless people, but I can relate to her. We both have sensational bodies, neither one of us can sing, we both have short hair, and we were both child stars who have tragically crumbled under the pressures of growing up under the publics ever watchful eye…Well, one could argue that being a CRFC icon at such a young age is slightly different from growing up as a pop goddess, but me and Brit have both suffered similar fates.
Once the guy who does VH-1’s Behind the Music heard the Tical story from my therapist making fun of me at a happy hour party at Tonic, he decided to do a special guest blog for my first contribution of the 07 year. My man got the Commish, the Wolverine, D-Mac, and some other CRFC big-wigs to sit down and trace the journey to manhood, which is still years away, of the self proclaimed “Bastard Son of the A1”, Ticallion Stallion, Sean “Tical” O’Cal.
Cue the music from one of those Jeremy Schaap interviews on ESPN with a melancholy beat from a grand piano
CRFC takes a hiring chance
Narrator Derek Lanier (the guy who does the voice for VH1) – Growing up on the sleepy mean streets of Medford, Tical appeared destined to die in one of the lockers he was stuffed into routinely in his high school days, but fate had another plan for the baby-faced half-wit.
On February 29th, 2000 of all days, Sean’s High school basketball coach had pull at a certain local Cambridge gym located on Linsky Way. Thinking a little weigh training would do wonders for a boy with the body of a 13 yr old pre-pubesant girl, Sean’s coach got him an interview.
The Commish – Yeah, with the recession in Cambridge in 2000, the Police were rounding up all the illegals. Since I couldn’t find another Jose, I told Ed [Soul – owner of CRFC] we could use the kid. Especially a kid that didn’t know MA had child labor or minimum wage laws. I could definitely tell there was something special about Tical just by reading his resume. It was a leap year, but he put Feb 30th on the place where it said today’s date. Only someone borderline retarded or borderline entertaining could pull something like that off.
Derek Lanier – With a part time job had, the shy youngster passed his hours by picking up towel after towel, washing towel after towel, stealing towel after towel until one lethargic Sunday in August when the Commish dropped a bomb on the youngster. In between the 3 o’clock HORSE game, which concluded with a reverse wall dunk, and the 4 pm ciesta, the Commish approached him about an upcoming basketball league.
The Commish – I had an idea for a basketball league that would keep stats and I needed someone to someone do just that.
Derek Lanier – Becoming CRFC;s first official stat keeper, Tical, was ready to become the focal point of what would become a constant barrage of criticism that bestows every stat keeper. Despite the constant public heckling, the fall league of 2000 was a smash hit and although Tical was not a captain, he got his first taste of success capturing the brick with the Knicks. After taking the winter season off at CRFC to compete in a dismal 6-14 senior season at Matignon High School for the Overly-Intelligent in Cambridge, Tical took over as a captain in the Summer of 01. He vowed never again to have that stink of losery he thrusted upon himself during his senior year in high school and came into the Summer season with a chip on his narrow shoulders.
The Commish – We were worried having a 17 yr old as a captain would be too much responsibility for him, especially with his mother constantly calling the gym to have him home by the time the street lights came on, but all our fears came to rest when he won the summer league title of 01.
Derek Lanier – 2 for 2 in the CRFC cage. It appeared Tical was a born winner. Success was becoming a constant feeling for the stat keeper/towel boy, but at what cost? Long time hero and A1 great, Matt Filosa, the Wolverine, discussed Tical’s meteoric rise to CRFC lore.
The Wolverine – Everyone couldn’t believe this young kid was winning all these bricks, especially before I even had a wiff of one. As soon as we found out he doubled as the towel boy, a bunch of us would go out of our way to repeatedly make mess after mess in steam room. You know, knock him down a peg. But it never seemed to faze him.
Derek Lainer – Were you worried that Tical was coming out the gates too quickly?
The Wolverine – No, not at all. In fact, after my back to back championships, Tical regained the brick in the Summer. With 3 bricks at 19, we thought he would have at least a dozen by the time he got a hair on his chest or before he lost his V card.
Derek Lainer – With a 3rd brick won in the Summer of 02, Tical was not only the youngest player to win a brick, but at the time, he was the all time winingest player at CRFC. Along with the bricks, Tical began his climb to CRFC immortality as he got promoted from Towel Boy to Front Desk Bitch. As if becoming the face for the gym wasn’t enough pressure for the young man, Tical began write up responsibilities. The write ups were an instant smash hit among the CRFC addicts and Tical seemed to be everything CRFC.
Brian Ripley – The kid did a great job filling Diesel’s shoes for the writeups. I remember in one write up he wrote, “The Commish started distributing like he was on a corner in Harlem” after a double digit assist game. That’s gold…Yeah, people really hated him a lot less once he started writing about how good other people were.
Derek Lainer – This literary popularity only added to his already high status among CRFC’s elite, but Tical’s desire to win began to take a toll on him, physically and mentally. After receiving the movie, Patton, starring George C. Scott, at his 20th birthday party, of course held at Chucky Cheese, because Bonkers was already booked, fellow players started noticing Tical go through a disturbing routine before every game.
The MixTape – Before every game I would see him staring into one of the locker room mirrors and recite the opening of the Patton movie, you know when George C. Scott is standing in front of the US flag and announces, “America loves a winner and won’t tolerate a loser.” He would repeat that 3 times, pop a pill, and bang his head of the glass…Why didn’t I say anything? Because that opens me up for people calling me gay for staring at him in the locker room…Yeah, he’d be nude and (Mike leans closer to Derek) off the record he looked a tad cold, if you catch my drift (winking)…You’re not going to use that right?
Tical - There was a ton of pressure on me after my 3 brick performance. People just expected me to win and I felt like I needed an edge…The MixTape said what about me? Derek reads from his notes as Tical echoes, I was hung like a Pigeon?!? What a prick. If the Commish would just heat the locker rooms up we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Derek Lainer - That edge turned into a habit that Tical would find harder to quit than winning a brick: His battle with addiction to Flintstone Chewable Vitamins.
The Fall from Grace
Tical – At first, I would just take a Dino before the game just to give me a little extra. My mom wouldn’t let me get a Red Bull or anything with caffeine because I would get a stomach ache after and she didn’t want to take care of me.
Derek Lainer – But soon, a Dino turned into a Dino and Fred, and then into a Dino, Fred, and Wilma. Making matters worse, Tical found himself in a 5 season brick drought. As the pressure began to mount, people started noticing a change in the once happy go lucky goofball.
D-Mac – One time during pick up, Tical took off from the 3 point line for a lay up and didn’t put the ball to the floor once. I taxed him for a travel and he went off. He and Jerry just started flipping out. This was back when we had the aerobic stuff in the court so Tical just started humming equipment everywhere as Jerry egged him on. As soon as we saw that Jerry had a bug in Ticals’s ear, we knew something was up.
Derek Lainer – After yet another disappointing loss in the playoffs, totaling 7 in a row, Tical would finally hit rock bottom during the first week in the next A1 winter season. After a game, Kevin Scott approached him about his stat line.
Black Ice – I went upstairs to talk to Tical and I picked up the stat sheet. All I asked him was if that was my stat line under the heading KS and homeboy just lost it.
Derek Lainer – What would be later known as the CRFC “Log Incident,” Tical finally cracked and hit rock bottom.
The Commish – People came running into my office screaming about Tical going bonkers up on the balcony. I booted up there and I saw him screaming at Kevin Scott. Tical looked all strung out, veins popping out everywhere, his hair a mess with these bloodshot eyes.
Tical – Lightly giggling Yeah, I lost it that night. I forgot what Kev asked me but I had been so tired of people bitching at me for stats and losing in the playoffs I just went off. Plus, I hadn’t had my fix in an hour so it was just bad timing.
Black Ice – After screaming at me for 5 minutes he ripped the stat sheet out of my hands and took a dump right on the sheet in front of everyone. Not a great sight to see, Tical hollering obscenities while dropping anchor.
The Commish – I grabbed Tical by the back of the neck and dragged him downstairs. He dove right into his gym bag and, while violently shaking, yanked out a bottle with Wilma and Betty on the cover. I snagged the bottle out of his hands and he tried to get it back. We wrestled on the floor for about a minute until I pinned him down and he just started crying on the floor.
Tical – Yeah, the Commish saved my life that day. Showed me a lot about the guy. At that time, I was going through a bottle a day…A bottle a day (Tical wipes a solitary tear from his eye).
Wolverine – Weíve all seen what happens to the best child stars. Bonoduci, the Corey’s, Cousin Oliver, and now Brittany. All of the brightest child stars eventually burn out. It was just too much for someone so young to handle.
Rehabs not so bad
Derek Lainer – After the “Log incident”, the Commish made some phone calls and got Tical into the finest Flintstone detox center in Eastern Mass.
Tical – I thought I was alone, but it turns out a lot of people were in the same boat as me. During group therapy, this one kid we called “the Claw” told everyone how he would give handjobs for just half a bottle. I guess I was lucky to be making so much money here at CRFC or that could have been me crippling my shooting hand.
The Wolverine – I’m never shaking his hand ever again…No, I don’t care that’s creepy.
Derek Lainer – Fresh out of rehab, the Commish wanted to make sure Tical would start fresh and took him out of the panicky world of stat keeping and placed him back in the leagues, but this time, behind the whistle.
The Commish – I wanted to make sure the kid had something to fall back on and I thought a change would be good for him. Little did I know Iíd be throwing him back into the lion’s den.
Tical – After about two seasons, I fell back into old habits, started hanging out with my boy ‘The Claw” I met in rehab and crumbled under the constant scrutiny facing all of the CRFC refs.
Trevor McAndrew – Yeah, everyone could tell by the way he was reffing, he had to be on something when he was behind that whistle, but no one knew how to approach him about it…Me? I just started yelling at him constantly on the court, you know, it was just the first thing that came to my mind. It helped me feel a lot better, but I don’t think it had the positive effect in which I intended for him.
Re-Rehabs not so bad
Derek Lainer - For the second time in his short life, Tical found himself back in rehab for yet another winter league this past season.
Tical – This one was tough for me. I thought I had hit rock bottom after the log incident, but when the Commish caught me reffing all hopped up on the Stones again, I could barely look him in the eye. Plus, I wasn’t setting a good example for the younger guys like Tibbs, you know, cause I’m his hero. Nothing worse when he showed up at my door slurring “Say it isnlt so.” Unfortunately, Tibbs was drunk off his ass and thought I was at his house with Erica but I knew Tibbs’ obscene drinking must have had to do with trouble handling his hero’s problem.
Derek Lainer – After Tical’s second Winter season in Rehab, fate would intervene yet again, and change the young man’s life forever.
Tical – A.C. Earl came to visit me in detox.
Derek Lainer – The Commish, who regularly gets his Bentley washed at the Lechmere Car Wash at Twin City, noticed a familiar face drying his hood with a rag.
The Commish – I saw this 7 footer drying the hood to my car and when I rolled down the window to scream at him for wiping counter clockwise, I recognized him as AC Earl. I knew that he was Tical’s hero and explained the situation to him
Derek Lainer – That same day, on his lunch break, AC Earl took the trek with the Commish and visited Tical in rehab. The impact: Priceless.
Tical – AC Earl told me that if I wanted to be a success like him, I needed to kick the habit for good. That really didn’t make much sense because I didn’t want to end up being a car washer when I could have been a successful NBA star. Actually, I think I was even more confused because AC told me he never used drugs his entire life and he still ended up the way he did.
Derek Lainer – But just as AC Earl was about to leave, AC did something to make an ultimate impact, forever changing Ticalís life.
The Commish – He stole Ticalís lunch.
Tical – That bastard beat me for my lunch and booked it down the hallway. Security didn’t arrive for a half hour and I was so heated. But it was my fault. If I had never had a drug problem, I would never had been in the position to get my lunch stolen by AC Earl and when I thought about it, he probably needed it more than me now that he’s broke. So actually, he did me a favor.
The Rise Back to the Top ?
Derek Lainer – After leaving Rehab for the second time, Tical had a newfound respect for life, and a newfound loathing for AC Earl. Tical’s 7 AM in P-Town crew look solid and could quite possibly knock the dust off Tical’s brick mantle.
Tical – America loves our athletic comeback heroes: Daryl Strawberry, Steve Howe, The Philly Phanatic, but I have a feeling my story will trump them all when I win back the brick this season and do it without any performance enhancing materials. I’d just like to take this time and thank all my CRFC family that stood by me during my dark years. Already, I’m off to greener pastures.