I believe it was William Shakespeare who wrote: "Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." (Actually, I thought it was Kennedy. But evidently not, according to Google.) But I am here to tell you that deep down, most men measure their own greatness by athletic achievement.
Why else would aging athletes keep hanging on or coming out of retirement for one more year? What else could drive men to bowl in a league every Wednesday morning until they're 80? And why else would Huey Lewis & The News have released an album entitled Sports, when none of the songs on the album have anything to do with sports? (Seriously, I really would like to know this. Wikipedia doesn't say.)
With all that in mind, today I will attempt to countdown the top four moments of Bone's athletic career. I was gonna do a top five or ten, but I didn't want the post to be too long. Plus, I could only really think of four. So come along on a magical journey through some of the greatest sports moments you've never heard of. I have a feeling this post will help explain so much.
4. Scoring 26 points in a basketball game - It was my senior year of high school. And what a way to go out. A career-high 26 points. I was en fuego! OK, so it was a church league basketball game. Actually, a preseason church league game. But still, everyone was trying their best! Also I should get bonus points since I did it in those frighteningly short Larry Bird shorts, which were still somewhat prominent in 1991.
3. The race - As some of you know, I am a bit of a runner. How one determines what classifies "a bit" of a runner, I do not know. But nevertheless. How successful has my running career been? Suffice it to say that I've gotten my name in the paper a few times.... along with everybody else who finished the race.
But it all started in middle school. It was the Presidential Fitness Run. The distance was one mile, which was four laps around the orange cones that Mister Stanley, the PE teacher, had set up on the playground. I was running a solid third the entire race--not showing off, not lagging behind--and was pretty much resigned to finishing there. But as I approached the start/finish line to complete my third lap, I saw the two guys ahead of me inexplicably slow to a walk and then a complete stop.
As I zoomed by, I glanced back at them, wondering if they were tired or if maybe I had miscounted the laps. I could see Mister Stanley say something to them, then they started to run after me. I hadn't miscounted, they had! Buoyed by my unbelievable luck, I could not be caught. I won! And from that day on, a myth began to grow about my speed. OK, not really, but it's a great line.
2. The big mud volleyball tournament - In olden times, my friend Ben would attend church from roughly March through July so that he would be eligible to play on the church softball team. Well, one of those months in one of those years, some people from his church decided to get up a team and enter a local mud volleyball tournament. Needing one more player, he gave me a call and as fate would have it, not only was I home, but I didn't have any plans.
The other teams were about equally made up of guys and girls. But our team was composed of five guys--none of whom had ever played organized volleyball--and one girl, who happened to be the volleyball coach at the local high school. It was kinda like a bad volleyball reality show, but with the attractive scantily clad female aspect of Dog Eat Dog.
We came. We played. We got mud on our face and on our clothes. In our hair and in between our toes. And our team finished second. That was out of four. But finishing second alone would not have made this one of the four greatest moments in Bone sports history. Oh who am I kidding, sure it would have. But what elevates it all the way to number two status is what happened next.
A girl on the team we lost to in the finals was standing there talking smack about their victory. So I crossed under the net and proceeded to tackle her gently in the mud. Then some of the girls led us into the woods to a creek where we all hopped in. I had never played mud volleyball before, and never did again, but to this day that still might be the most fun I have ever had.
1. Bone on ice It was my very first time ice skating. I was in high school. What, I was a late bloomer, OK? Anyway, I wasn't doing so well. The first trip around the rink, I must have fallen at least twenty times. Every time I'd let go of the rail, down I went. About a quarter of the way through my second lap, I had just fallen again. Before I could get up, I heard this angelic voice ask, "Need some help?"
I looked up and saw two girls standing there smiling at me. Or giggling at me, whichever. They helped me up and with one girl taking each arm, proceeded to skate me around for the rest of the night.
Can there be any doubt that was the greatest moment of my athletic career?
I would like to be able to tell you that I got their numbers. But it was not to be, for I did not ask. (This was pre-What Would Brian Boitano Do, so I was lost.) That's what makes this such an inspirational, yet tragic tale. It's kinda like in The Natural when Robert Redford hits the homerun, then dies at home plate. Or am I remembering that wrong?
This concludes our countdown of the greatest moments in Bone sports history. I hope these memories have helped to entertain and inspire each of you. Until next time, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.
Unless you're like in a planetarium. That would just look stupid.
"Glory days, well they'll pass you by. Glory days, in the wink of a young girl's eye..."