Breakfast of Champions: 10am
I glance at my Flintstone watch and Fred’s hands tell me its 10am and I am at Edwards’ modest Charlestown abode. As I reach the door, I can hear a familiar high pitched voice radiating from inside. John told me to just walk in when I got to his house, so here I go. As I enter through John’s sturdy oak door, the voice becomes more recognizable. I don’t even bother to announce my presence because it wouldn’t be heard over the echoing shrill voice. Following my ears, I wind up in John’s parlor and immediately feel a violent wretch in my stomach. John is rocking all sorts of sweatbands, the notorious 3 sizes too small Utah Jazz purple shorts, and is doing aerobic exercises to none other than the Godfather of all video exercise tapes, Richard Simmons. “And 4, and 3, and 2, and 1,” Simmons’ nauseating voice belts out to the sounds of the Miami Sound Machine, all the while doing some sort of unappealing jumping jack.
Finally John sees me uneasily gawking and halts his apparent morning routine and gleefully approaches me, “Coach!!! How we doing?”
“Much better after I throw up.”
“C’mon man, don’t hate the Simmons. It’s only for another 2 weeks anyways,” John confidently informs me. Thankfully, he turns the tape off and tells me, “Follow me to the kitchen I was just about to finish off the workout with a shake.”
John leads me into his rather extravagant kitchen that is filled with nice little nothings, like a freezer that is labeled Baskin and the one next to it labeled Robbins. John and I make small talk until he gets his necessary ingredients to make his training shake. “Ok, so what I’ve been doing is making sure that I incorporate a shake that has all of the food groups in it.” He takes out a box, which upon further inspection, is a Dunkin Donuts box for a dozen tasties. John ripps out a Jelly donut and announces, “First, start with your fruits and vegetable group.” Then, he throws it into the black blender on his counter.
“Wait, jelly is a fruit?” I ask.
“It’s made from fruit,” John casually shoots back before hurling in a second jelly. Then, he snatches out two Boston cremes and declares, “Protein.” I don’t even bother to question John’s methods. Next on the list, I see him throw in a chocolate chip muffin? “Carbs.” I am starting to realize that I don’t think John knows the five basic food groups, or more likely, just doesn’t care, but I cant say anything. I got to stay impartial.
After all of the donuts are in and the blender fills the air with the sounds of years being taken off a man’s life, John, with the cliche V-sweat mark still apparent from his work out, chugs the entire shake. When its all drank, he lets out a big, “Ahhhhhh!!! Ok, you ready to see why Turin doesn’t stand a chance?”
“That’s why I’m here, John. Let’s do it,” I excitingly exclaim.
A Star Studded Republican Round Table: 1 pm
We have to pull over the car before we get to our next destination. John informs me, “This is a top secret Republican site and obviously after the elections this week, everyone’s a little on edge so I can’t let you, a Democrat, see where I take you.” I agree, but not before I am reminded of the last time I had a blindfold on and the prostitute left me handcuffed to the headboard of the Motel 6 bed, of course, after lifting my wallet.
After what seems like an endless drive, John carefully escorts me out of the car for another few minutes until my blindfold is lifted and I find that we are in an all steel elevator. As soon as we reached our destined floor, I follow John down a long hall which has enormous portraits of great American Republicans. The walk was predictable. We passed the pictures of Reagan, then George Sr, then my man W, but the next portrait throws me off and I giggle a bit, thinking itís a joke, but ask John, “Um, Count Chocula, John? What’s up with the cereal guy hanging on the Republican wall?”
“He is a Count,” John seriously tells me. “Don’t be fooled by his smile on his cereal box, that bastard is one tough businessman. A real friggin predator. Haven’t you wondered why BooBerry and the other ones aren’t around anymore?” It’s been a while since I’ve taken a trip down the cereal isle of the supermarket, but he made a point. I haven’t seen those other cereals in a long time. “We all learned, never cross the Count, but he’s a significant contributor to the party,” he sternly schools me.
Before I even have a chance to sort what I just saw and heard, we reach our destination. We are in a huge room with a computerized map of the world on the big screen in front of me and people are whizzing about all around the room. In the center of the room, there is a large table, reminiscent of King Arthur’s round table or the table from Dr. Strangelove, but with men sitting with designer suits and ties. I overhear one guy at the table ask the guy next to him, “You know what sucks about being a Republican?”
“What?” the younger looking fellow coyly asks.
“Nothing!” the older gentleman gloats before the two share a mutual evil laugh, “Muuaahh!!!”
With all the commotion going on, my attention somehow focuses on the guy emptying the trash bucket in the far corner. I tap John on the shoulder, “Isn’t that Kevin Federline?”
“Yeah,” John nonchalantly replies. “We gave him his old job back now that Britney broke up with him.” Wow, I think. White trash married the guy who takes out the trash, why didn’t they just have the wedding in a dumpster for Christ’s sake.
Then, another familiar famous face approaches us from left. It’s NBA commissioner David Stern. “E-dawg,” Stern yells out as Edwards turns around and they bump chests before letting out a “Hooa!” “Everything is all set up for you John, he’s here. Just right down the New Deal Hallway until you get to the 2004 Minority Voting Loss Memorial Gymnasium,” Stern announces.
“Hey, David this is the kid I was telling you about.” John introduces me to the legend, “Sean, David Stern.”
David Stern tells me, “Wow, Tical, I’ve read you’re work. You got a lot of talent.”
Excited, I naively ask, “Really? You’ve read my work?”
Stern and Edwards let out an enormous bellow of laughter as Stern brashly scolds, “Are you kidding me? I’m David Stern. Like I got time to read Scoop Brady’s latest edition. I run the NBA, junior.” Again Stern and Edwards enjoy a good laugh at me before Stern wipes a tear from his eye and tells me, “don’t quit your day job spanky,” and walks away from us. I can hear him still laughing, retelling the joke to himself, “No. Iím David Stern.”
After I pick up the remnants of my self esteem that David Stern didn’t step in, John and I follow Stern’s directions to the gym. It has all of the character CRFC’s court has, but is about 3 times the size of CRFC, making it slightly smaller than a regulation size court. There, standing at half court, is none other than the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael JefferyJordan. He’s got a basketball in one hand and he’s on his sidekick, chatting away. Wow, John got Jordan to practice with him. Dam, I got to switch parties.
“No kidding…That little bastard hit the game winning shot? Dam it! Ok, double or nothing tomorrow night, just give me a call.” Jordan flips his phone shut and apologizes to us, “Sorry guys, just found out my son hit the game winning shot in his CYO game this morning. Ok, so John you ready to get started?”
John nods and they get to work. I took a nearby seat in the stands and wondered what the former Bull great would have John do. Windsprints? Suicides? Jump Shot drills?
Jordan starts his lecture at the top of the key. “Now, when you hit the shot, you run to the left like so.” Jordan dribbles the ball, jumps up, double clutches and drains the jump shot. Then, running to the sideline, he does the exact celebration he did after he hit the shot over Craig Ehlo. After John practiced this for a half hour, I suddenly realized that John is not working on his game. Heís working on his celebrations.
After another hour, John comes over to the stands, grabs some water and tells me, “Don’t look so surprised, Coach. My offensive game is already ten times Turin’s. I just need to know how to celebrate.”
Soon, Jordan shows John all of his patented celebrations. The Ehlo, the tongue out, after hitting an unbelievable shot throw up the hands and shrug your shoulders and finally, Jordan gets personal and shows him the cry celebration, the one made famous after Jordan won his first title after losing his dad. In all, Edwards now has more celebrations than TO.
After countless hours of more show than basketball, Edwards is ready to leave. “Ok Coach, we got one more stop before I cut you loose. The only thing I got to work on is the D, now that I got my celebration down pat.”
Still in awe, I just slightly nod. Before we leave, instinctively I try to double back to get Jordan’s autograph, but before I can, Jordan spots two mafia type looking gentlemen walking towards him from the fire escape exit. Jordan jets for the opposite exit as the huge Tony Soprano look-a-likes scream out, “We need that money you dead beat!”
“We better get out of here Coach,” John tells me. I know when to put the blinders on and follow John back out the way we came. I can’t wait to see where we are off to next..
Legal Seafoods: 6pm
We are at Legal Seafoods right by the Aquarium in Boston, which is allegedly the busiest restaurant in Boston during the peak hours of 6-8pm every weeknight. I am elated that this is the last stop on the training day trip. We get out of the car and head inside. Immediately, the owner, Lawrence Timmons, a portly fellow with a comb over that aint fooling anyone approaches us and puts John in a playful headlock. “Johnny Boy!!! How we doing baby?”
After being released from Larry’s clutches, John introduces me and tells me that Larry was his college roommate. Larry gives John the OK, to ‘train’ here, but I still have no idea what’s going on. Once Larry walks behind the bar, I ask John, “What are we doing here that is going to get you ready for Turin? I don’t think being able to eat 25 lobsters is going to help anyone, especially the ocean.”
Casually, John elates, “Just watch and learn young man. The first thing you have to know is your opponent. All Mike can do is carry the ball and travel and since you or any other ref at CRFC doesn’t have the balls to call Mike on it, instead of bitching about it, I have to prepare in accordance.” John can still see the perplexed look on my face. “Just follow me.”
John leads me over to the place where the food servers come out from the kitchen with their meals held above their shoulder. As soon as we get near the door, a server quickly shoots out, surprising both of us to the point of almost being run over. “Just watch,” John assures me.
After some mock stretching, John gets down into a defensive stance. What happens next, can not be happening, I think to myself. A server comes firing out of the kitchen with a meal held high and John tries to step and slide to get in front of the server, but he is to slow. The server just flies right by him, cursing at his attempt. He unsuccessfully repeats this for the next few servers until coming over to me. A bit winded, John spits out, “You see…All I got to do…Is pretend like these servers are Mike playing basketball and we all know he never dribbles the ball anyways so it’s like guarding someone running with the ball.”
John turns back around and gets back at it. He gets progressively better. About ten minutes later, he manages to pull the ole reach around on a server, just like when a defender knocks the ball away from behind, and he snags a chicken finger off the plate. John triumphantly looks over at me sporting his prize until he gobbles it down. Soon, John doesn’t have to reach around and starts to stay in front of the servers until on his final attempt, he steps in front a slender male server and the server topples over John, making a loud clang as dishes fall over the place. “My shrimp scampi!” the server shouts out with a dainty lisp.
As John cleans himself off, Larry storms over to John and screams, “Ok, that was totally inappropriate John, I think its time you and your 13 yr old side kick leave.”
Heading towards the door, John quietly says, “Wow, he’s really pissed.”
“I don’t know what he’s talking about, John. You had position. I would have given you the charge.”
John smiles at me and we walk out the front door and get back into the car so he can drop me off at my car.
After seeing both camps, I got the line at EVEN. These two guys are training hard for this one as evident of the blogs. November 18th, may the best man win. Look for the tale of the tape this Thur/Fri to beat the dead horse one more time.