Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Three Masters Basketball Commandments by Lahh Woods

Reflections on Masters Basketball Weekend 2015 in Buffalo, NY


Disclaimer: The following statement is not intended to be offensive or disrespectful
to any religious groups, or individuals, practitioners of any spiritual traditions.  These
are, in my humble opinion, three basic suggestions on how to have a safe, healthy,
and enjoyable Masters Basketball Experience. LW

Commandment Number One- Be Prepared...Fellas you know you're coming up
here every March to relive the dream or at least compete. Right?!  So we have to
prepare a few months earlier.  Do some sit ups.  Jog in place.  Touch a basketball.
Do some  jumping jacks. Get your blood pressure checked.  Do twenty push ups
a day.  STRETCH!!! Be Prepared.

Commandment Number Two- Have some Fun.  As serious as we are about Life,
Love. Family...And Basketball.  We have to have a good time while we still have
breath in our lungs.  This should be a stress free weekend.  Arguing Masters
Basketball with your old college roommate, the referees, tournament officials,
hecklers in the arena or any of your slightly overweight opponents is not on the
weekends agenda. We can't take ourselves too seriously.  Curb some of your
emotions.  Get it on.  Go for what you know...and have a good time.  Show a
little sportsmanship.  Make a new friend...not a new enemy. Blessings

Commandment Number Three- Don't Get Hurt- Play hard, listen to your body...
Get your rest during the game.  If you need a blow, get off the court and let someone
get some playing time.  Are you really physically prepared to play an entire game at
your age? Every game?  Did you stretch today? Did you stretch yesterday?
Do you stretch at all?  Be wise and "Don't Overdose on The Pill!"  Learn how
to live to fight for another day.


                          New York $ugar Daddie$ 2015

Friday Night's Game- The New York Sugar Daddies competed on Friday night and
we had a successful run verses OES Canada.  The pregame musical inspiration played
on the team bus for game one was provided by non other than the notorious, great,
gangsta MC commonly known as Barry M.  Gangsta MC Barry M The pregame music
is important.  It is critical, it sets a tone, it gets you psyched for the battle ahead. This
was a good game for us. Not much defense played by either team in this game.  We
had an advantage over their club due to the fact we had fresh legs and they had just
played a close one prior to our game time. We had a good start to the game.
We moved the ball well and fed Big John Marques in the low post.  We didn't bicker
amongst ourselves, we shared the ball, and shared our minutes.  We kept it basic and
slowly began to create separation from O.E.S..  They were tired.  However, they were
not about to lay down and take a "L" to us.  They had one guy with a buzz cut that
carried them for a significant amount of time...Let's just call him "Lights Out." aka
Leroy Casanova.  He must have had five or six consecutive 3-balls before we made
the adjustment.  When OES Coach Doug Coombs was asked about Casanova's
whereabouts during a second half break Doug quipped, "He went to go pour some
cold water on his shooting arm, because he was Too Hot!"  We eventually secure
the six point win and are feeling pretty good after our 8 hour drive. Sugar Daddy
Roger "Red" Collier stated, "We need to find a way to secure air travel...We need
to leave earlier, get the proper rest...And a couple of practices wouldn't hurt either."
The Sugar Daddies were led by the stellar play of  John "Sky Hook" Marques,
Warren "True" Storey and Kelvin "The Skate" Jones.  Johnny Pugh, Tony Greene,
and Roger "Red" Collier aka as the "Sugar Daddy Brain Trust" did a remarkable
job of rallying the troops. 

OES went undefeated for the rest of the weekend and secured the 50
& Over Competitive National Title for 2015. Coach Coombs comments on the
New York Sugar Daddies, "The competition in Buffalo was pretty competitive.
You guys were the only team to beat us this weekend.  We went all the way
after that game.  We didn't shoot very well against you.  I told our guys that
they shot the ball so bad they would be lucky if the ball hit the floor." 
OES has a great club with a long history of Master's participation.


                   OES/LCI Strong History/Strong Team 2015 Competitive 50 & Over Champs

Coach Coombs has been coaching for 45 to 50 years and has a great sense of
humor and a unique perspective on keeping a solid club together, "You have to
get rid of the a##-holes, and find the very good players, who are very good
people."  To name a few of those "very good players" on the OES [formerly
LCI] Roster...This year's MVP Rob Samuels, Ian Mahoney [St Francis U],
Tony Christie [Elizabeth State U] and a little known Canadian baller named
Mitch Wiggins [NBA]. Coombs rates the Master's National Tournaments as
follows [4] Canadian Masters Open (September in Toronto) [3] Detroit Masters
Seniors Games (June in Southfield, MI) [2] Buffalo National Championships
(March) [1] Coral Springs Masters (May in Florida)

POP QUIZ #1....So what did we do after we hit the hotel and showered,
knowing we had a full weekend of hoops ahead of us.  What do you think we did?

[A] We headed over to Santoras for Late Night Meal   http://santoras.com/
[B] Stayed in our rooms, got some warm milk, and got to bed early http://www.hilton.com/search/dt/us/ny/buffalo/0/0/0/0/0/0/10?WT.srch=1
[C] Talked smack and watched 100 college games on 100 TV screens
[D] Drank Beer, Wine and Sangria until the bar closed  http://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/fitness/2013/05/21/running_and_beer_go_together_for_these_toronto_athletes.html
[E] All the Above...Except B

[Correct answer is E]

                                                                       NIAGARA FALLS


Saturday we had a busy day after breakfast...We go back to the hotel and watch
a 70's styled Blacksploitation Film [Thanks to Coach Pugh and his dvd Player] called
Black Dynamite.  http://blackdynamitemovie.com/ This film was made in 2009 and is
a dead on spoof of all that was good, bad, and ugly about the "C Budget" action packed,
cultural stereotypes of "Ghetto Life in Da Hood."  While watching this movie, jam packed
with so many symbols and images from the early 1970's, I didn't know whether to [a] laugh,
[b] get mad, [c] protest or [d] cry.  I believe I did a little bit of each.

Coach Johnny Pugh reflects on the weekend, "In  Summary:  I really have mixed feelings
about the Tournament, and the Trip.  On one hand I had a great time bonding with my
Team. I think for the most part are great guys.  The Hotel was good. The weather was
mild for Buffalo. I can honestly admit that the Competition was good."



After the movie and popcorn, we prepared for our 7 PM game by going to the Niagara
Clothing Outlets and spending some of the meal money we had in our pockets.  We
rush back to the hotel, change into our game gear and race to the gym.

Saturday Evening's Game
Someone suggested that we change the pregame music. They wasn't feeling MC Barry
M...I said, "We listened to MC Barry M and got a "W"...So we should stick with MC
Barry M until we lose a game. Right!!??  I got outvoted and we switched the music in
the van to Public Enemy.  Welcome to the Terrordome  Heads nodding.  Game faces
tight and focused..."Get that MC Barry M crap ooutta here!" was shouted from the
back of the bus.  "We should have played this yesterday!!" We are ready for battle...
or perhaps we are not.  Carnegie Jazzmen GM Andy Terranova reflects on the 2015
North American Masters competition, "There were several high caliber teams who
came from as far away as Chicago, Indianapolis and New York City.

We had minimal warm up.  No fanfare.  They toss the ball up and we immediately
go up 10 on the local club,Carnegie Jazzmen, from Buffalo.  We're feeling pretty good
about ourselves right about now.  And then suddenly it happened.  These Carnegie
Jazzmen, this Buffalo team is not going any where.  We were playing...Pass. Pass. Shoot
....They were playing Pass,,,Pass,,,Pass,,,Pass,,Pass,,,Pass,,,Pick...Cut...Pass...Layup.
Next thing I know we're not up ten...We're down ten.  Now the realities of what were
dealing with are beginning to sink in. All of a sudden those mixed drinks and beers
we had the night before at 1 AM aren't tasting so good to us.

Now it's been said that "home cooking" is the way to a man's heart and to a local
teams advantage.  However, home cooking or not....These guys were out performing
us.  It wasn't anything we hadn't seen before, but their collective effort was a site to
behold.  They moved slowly.  Not very athletic.  They moved with purpose, balance
and UNITY.  One voice.  We on the other hand were not that organized in our efforts
on that day.

We needed someone to step up.  We needed somebody to put on a Sugar Daddy green
cape and play big on the glass...You know above the rim.  We needed buckets. We
needed some heroics.   We don't need a big man...We need men that play BIG!!  Where
was Black Dynamite when you really needed him? Where was MC Barry M?


We at times played hard...We at times played together...We always seemed to
have something to say like...too many cooks in the kitchen.  "The zone's not working!"
"We can't play man to man, because Man to Man's not working!" "We should trap...
What about a trap?" "My stomach hurts!"


We fight back into the game and we're down 3 or four with about a minute left.
We are right there...Right where we want to be.  I believe we are going to win.
We've got momentum...We've got weapons...We got it going On! We've got 12
seconds left on the clock. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON!!??!!  All hell
breaks loose. Some yelling at the two chemistry majors at table on court #2...
Some yelling at the bench...after 5 minute discussion I take a short walk and
watch some 65 to 70 year old ballers on court #1 doing their thing. Strong.
Athletic. Organized.  Efficient in their movements.  They we relatively quiet. 
I pray for health and the opportunity to do what they are doing in a few years.
God Bless Them.

I return to our court.  They've added thirty seconds on the clock.  Play resumes
and we cannot overcome this well oiled Carnegie Jazzmen, Buffalo Basketball Club.
We'll see them again, I think to myself.   We'll see them again...When we live
to fight for another day.  Andy Terranova comments, "One of the better teams
was the Sugar Daddies from NYC. We got lucky from the free-throw line
against them.  [The Carnegie Jazzmen shot over 95% for the game]  Without a
very high free-throw shooting percentage, that game we would have lost...
Class team too."

Coach Johnny Pugh stated," Now about the Games. I thought we played the first two
games a little sloppy but I thought we played well enough to win.  We beat OES and
lost to The Carnegie  Jazz...Which {game} we put under Protest because of time lost
due to lack of recognition of a 30 second or 45 second shot clock..And a time clock
error where we were down one possession and the referees never called 10 seconds
after we pressed them...After a made free throw and 25 seconds went off the clock.
Long story short, they put 10 seconds back on the Clock they kept the possession
they got fouled and we lost." 

                                      Curfew? What Curfew? We're out with the coach.

Sunday Morning's Game vs INDY STARS
The decision of what pregame music would be played in the van today was left to DJ Warren
Storey.  It was Sunday morning, we are one and one, and we need a lift.  It was up to him
to decide which direction we would go for inspiration.  His choice for the day would be
an important one. He decided to go with The Sunday Morning good word.  STAND
Coach Pugh remembers, 'The third game against the Indy team was very intense, we
had double technical fouls at the beginning of the game, then as I'm bringing my player
out to cool of he gets a 2nd technical and is out of the game."  INDY STARS  Player/
Coach James "Nut" Adams had these observations, "I think your player {Kelvin Jones}
took himself out of the game.  [I say the ref took him out of the game. LW] I know you
[Sugar Daddies] have certain players who always come to play.  I thought the big man
[John Marques] would be more of a factor...and once your team lost that player
[Jones] Your team went into substitution [rotation] problems. It started to break
down...people arguing about playing time."
Coach Pugh added, "We put up a fight but lost as they pulled away.  Having said
everything I don't put our losses on the refs. Could they have done better? Yes, but
as players we cannot leave it in their hands.  As a team I felt we could have done better
and as a Coach I felt I could been better. Nevertheless I loved the effort for the most part. 
Some guys  got a little upset but we got through it.  I would like to thank Peter Durham,
he was a good host and the staff was friendly. I would like to thank all the players on
our team, great guys and everyone who supported us.  Thank You."

                                              INDY STARS- 55 & OVER CHAMPIONS

The INDY STARS defeat Carnegie Jazzmen by eight points to win the Age 55 Competitive
Division Title.  The INDY STARS consecutive win streak has to be in the area of 12
games as the win yet another  National Masters Basketball Title.  James "Nut" Adams
reflects, "We thought we could run on them.  Never underestimate a ball player."  The
INDY STARS went up as many as thirteen points in the first half, only to be challenged
by the tough Carnegie Jazzmen team from Buffalo, New York.  The Jazz hit several three
pointers in the second half and made some defensive stands to cut the lead to four points
late in the game.  "They thought they could steal the game, but we didn't fall apart...It's
a team effort, not an individual effort," stated Adams via satellite from his Indianapolis
home.  Congrats to the INDY STARS for yet another successful tournament showing.

Bernard "Super B" Braithwaite, who has played with the Sugar Daddies and LCI/OES,
comments on Adult Masters competition, "It's a great opportunity to compete against
guys in your own age bracket.  You get to travel and play against people from all over
the country. Personally, I love it."  Perhaps Mr. Cal Dilworth, the Masters Veteran and
major supporter of these games, puts the Buffalo Maters weekend best when he said,
"We had fun...No injuries...That's a good tournament."

Madd Madd Shout to Peter Durham and the 2015 Buffalo Masters Committee...
Yet another year of excellence, where community and friends follow the bouncing
ball. Thank You.  Blessings. LW

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