Valentine’s Day Massacre

Avoiding the Axe

Valentine’s Day has now come and gone and for those of us that didn’t escape unscathed, there is always that question why. Why do I put up with all this hassle, running back and forth trying to make her happy? Why do I endlessly rush to her side anytime she calls me out? Why do I continually try to score, only to be denied by the walls she throws up around herself as a defense? Or more simply put, why do I continue in my futile effort to carry on with my original true love, basketball, when life and others just seem to get in the way?

Love is ever evolving, growing and maturing as we become older. When I could barely walk, it was all MJ and the pros all the time. Then as I got older, I fell in love with the college game because I was “almost their age” (now they’re almost mine). But over the past year and a half, that love has grown to include the wonder that is CRFC Basketball. But I’m living a dual existence, I’ve made room in my life for two loves, but can I devote time to both without cheapening either? I can’t imagine how rappers and rock stars balance all the groupies; I only have two, and don’t have to sleep with one of them. I can still barely handle it. I’m not alone, as Valentineís Day made many guys choose between CRFC and their boo.

Attendance spoke for itself last Wednesday night (only one forfeit, due more to weather than anything else) and almost every team fielded 5 guys. These numbers are amazing, especially when taking into consideration the lonely nights that could be spent on the couch as a result of breaking up a potentially romantic evening. But attendance wasn’t just great for the men of the Leagues. In fact, by exact count, there were 18 significant others in attendance, an average of 3 per game! For non-playoff games, those are record-breaking numbers for fan attendance, especially when you discount the forfeit, for which no fans showed. Obviously the ladies showed up in support of their man, and it was the Local Hero who put it most eloquently,

“Managing ‘it’ is about making CRFC a 2nd job (or 1st, I suppose, for some).  Let me break it down like a fraction: No doubt your woman wants to be with a man of stature.  While being a Voting Proxy Specialist is clearly ahead of the curve…day jobs rarely are accompanied by a nickname, random props at bars, your name in headlines, your stats memorized by others, general lore, being the topic of an article, etc.  In summary, stature, gentlemen.  Work that angle, boys, and every 10th game or so your lady will think, ‘Not only does my man have ambition, but he is also delivering on that ambition.  I think I’ll give him NO grief for choosing Kool Aid over our anniversary again this year.’  Dividends are a sweet return of an investment and even though your beloved acted all embarrassed when the Irate Ambassadors paid you some severe homage at the Buck Hunter machine in Sully’s after a C’s game for you dropping 36 on them two season back, she was digging it, big time.  Go first round in an A1 draft, you’re likely staring at 2 in every 10 games.  And so on…”

Now not all of us have the skill set that the Local Hero possesses, but obviously, the ladies in our lives should be coming around to the idea that, hey, CRFC is pretty important.  So what if it encompasses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, where Valentine’s Day is a once a year deal?  It’s this dedication to our craft that should be rewarded.  Men are proving that we can, gulp, stay committed to something.  Doesn’t that count for anything?  One of the newest additions to all things CRFC, Tommy K, put it this way.

“Seeing how I deserted my fiance Monday night (on her birthday) and last night (obviously Valentines Day) for 9:40 games, I’ve been kicked out of the house. Had I played a little better, I’d probably handle this a little  easier, but it’s good to know that I am not alone with my second love (CRFC).”

As far as I can tell, and I think Ed would back me up on this one, he’s playing this from the wrong angle.  He has to convince his lovely wife-to-be that, if he can show this much love and dedication to one of his activities, he’s all the more capable of the showing the same dedication, loyalty, and ruthlessness (for his stats) towards her.

I, for one, miraculously avoided the couch, despite the fact that my girlfriend spent her 10 o’clock hour keeping stats and watching me sweat running up and down a converted racquetball court.  Sources tell me the Hitman also avoided that fate, despite the fact that sweaty, angry men were yelling at his girlfriend to either start or stop a clock, and to plug it back in.  Our repayment for their diligence is more than likely a pile of clothes that cause a stink in at least one of the rooms in our apartment.  Valentine’s Day isn’t a secluded happenstance, however. Instead of going to a movie and dinner on Friday nights, the routine has become pick-up right after work.  Instead of a productive Saturday (I donít know, picking out curtains?), itís off to the gym for pickup again and then off to drink away the bumps and bruises.  How many more plans will be cancelled for the gym before a fuse blows? Understand, it’s not because we want to get away, usually, itís where we can just go to bs with other [guys] that are there to bs right back.  So what if we’re not all that good, we’ve got friends that, hopefully, aren’t as good as us.

Unfortunately, it’s not just our significant others that get their signals crossed when trying to decipher why we obsess about this tiny gym so much.  Anyone who isn’t infected with the CRFC sickness can give you that same confused look; why do you awake at 10 in the morning on Saturday, why do you trudge to the gym, praying that your coffee will ease the blistering headache before you have to shoot for a team, and most of all, why do you still smell like alcohol after returning from that same trip to the gym, five hours later.  The Good King summed the quagmire that most of us face when dealing with outsiders.

“Most of your [you reading this] current friendships revolve around the gym. You hang out with a bunch with people you’ve met there and the only “old” friends you see regularly are the ones that also play. Non-CRFC friends complain that you only hang out with your “new” friends and [they] can’t comprehend why it is SO much fun playing in a hoops league that KEEPS TRACK OF STATS! Also a lot of the conversations with CRFC-ers revolve about that week’s game, how you played, how the team played, what you think your chances are and possibly future seasons. Wow I think I might have a sickness/addiction. After reading the last paragraph I think it easy to understand why I don’t seem to have any ‘plans’ that will conflict with playing CRFC basketball this Valentine’s day.”

So we return to our original question of why.  Why do we try and lead the double life of every-man by day [when not on the boards] and CRFC Baller by night?  Well, where else can there be video of you drunk in someone’s trunk and not get yourself fired [I am an employee after all] or scorned into humiliation?  Everyone has their alter ego and wants to shine when the light is brightest, and for many of us, CRFC is that light where we can shine how we want to.  So ladies, if you’re reading this, donít forget to cut your man a little extra slack when it comes to dealing with CRFC.  You may think heís crazy, but he really loves you more than the gym, even if it seems like it’s the other way around.