Gosh, I never realized how little Robert knows about basketball until we watched one of the Celtics’ biggest games of the year on Friday.
Alright, alright. I mean me. Sadly, I am married to someone who loves watching sports, and I don’t keep up with them in the least. I made my first bracket for the NCAA March Madness tournament (College basketball, for those of you who know even less than I do) and failed miserably. I got 12th out of 13 teams — and the 13th person didn’t fill out theirs at all. Apparently, though, most of the people probably cheated, as there are little numbers telling you who is in what seed, but I didn’t know that when I chose my teams. So you can basically look at those and guess who’s going to make it pretty far. Instead, I had to choose based on who I had heard of in the past, what team sounded cooler, which mascot I liked best, or which had better colors if everything else was tied. Basically, I didn’t get the little cheat sheet that would have hinted that Gonzaga is actually a good team and shouldn’t just remind me of Gorgonzola cheese. I think I would have kept them past the first round had I known they were a one seed. The only plus was that I kept one bad team in that had an upset, so I got a lot of points for that. I don’t remember which team it was, so please don’t ask. Maybe a Texas or Tennessee team? Is one of them kind of bad but made it far?
Back to the Friday night game, though. I strongly believe in the “fake it until you make it” method, so I wasn’t about to seem like I didn’t know what I was talking about during the game. So in true Krista fashion, I joked my way though the entire thing. I either got a few good chuckles, an “I’m impressed with your extensive basketball knowledge” comment, or a look of complete horror that I could possibly be that unaware of what’s going on in the game. Each of these were completely worth it since we laughed a lot more and I felt surprisingly entertained during the whole ordeal.
Here are some tactics I used, and how well I think they worked in making me sound like a sports genius:
Rambling about the players’ personal lives. 8/10
“Yeah, he’s got several siblings, so I’m sure they’re proud of their brother for playing professional ball.” This statement gives me a ton of credibility. First, by giving a nonspecific fact that has a good chance of being true, you are building your credibility while not being questioned very much on the legitimacy of the fact. If Robert questioned me more I could Google the answer and would likely find that Jaylen Brown would have at least a sibling or two. Using more obscure players — perhaps on the bench — would give a lower likelihood of questioning, as people will be less curious about their personal lives. Next time I need to pay closer attention to the benched players and focus on them a little more.
Second, calling “Basketball” just “Ball” makes me seem like a super-fan. You can shorten a lot of different words to sound cooler and like you’re in the know with the sport. “Double dribble” suddenly becomes a “Double,” “Three pointer,” turns into shooting a “Three,” and so forth. Also, I have noticed a lot of moves in sports are shortened to just a few letters. “Touchdown” is “TD,” and “QB” for “Quarterback.” This tells me that saying something like, “Man, LeBron needs to work on his FT’s!” would be pretty cool. Maybe “free throw” isn’t typically called “FT,” but whoever you are watching with will surely not correct you because it just sounds legit, and they won’t want to risk look like a fool schooling you on something that may or may not be expert lingo.
I’ve seen several Celtics games now, so I know that Al Horford seems like a really nice guy, and that he’s a married man. I don’t know anything about his wife, though I should probably begin studying because I do actually like learning about the players’ stories, and am much more interested in that than their stats on the court. I took what I knew and ran with it. I talked about what a nice guy Horford is and how cute his family is. I wondered whether his kids would eventually be pro basketball players, and Robert completely tuned out as I rambled about generalizations you could probably make about most good families. I wouldn’t say he was impressed by my knowledge, but it definitely didn’t hurt being an expert on something that he knew nothing about.
Making observations based on the players’ appearances. -2/10
As soon as I saw Brian Scalabrine, I had a sneaking suspicion he was Irish. There were a few standout features that gave me confidence, so I went for it. “Did you know Brian Cabrini is Irish?” I asked without letting on that I had never seen this man in my entire life. Sadly, I misheard his name, but Robert didn’t seem to notice. He was just slightly unimpressed and more interested in watching the game than talking about one of the announcers. Noted.
There was a man playing basketball with something that looked like a delicate fabric cast on his left arm. It looked like it would be for managing sweat, but why wouldn’t he be wearing it on both arms then? That logic is pretty good, so it must be for an injury of some sort. I decided to call it a broken elbow, even though it didn’t even touch that part of his body. For some reason I found this to be more entertaining because I figured it would be funny if Robert didn’t notice that and it would just be hilarious for him to think I was that much of a noob. I had to keep going with it to sound legit, so I said, “Yeah, it’s great he’s recovered so well from the break. I was afraid he’d be out all season!” I got a look of complete confusion, followed by a, “No he didn’t, and that isn’t even touching his elbow.” Darn! The reaction was worth me looking like an idiot, though.
I’m going to go ahead and give this method a negative two because if anything it hurt my credibility. I talked too much about people that didn’t matter and made inaccurate observations. I think if I had taken it a little more seriously I could have actually made myself seem like a basketball nerd, but I wasn’t in the mood to be serious. I’ll try it again next time.
Changing the subject if you don’t know something. 4/10
My methods must have worked pretty well, because Robert quizzed me on things during the game. Some of the questions he asked were insultingly easy. “He’s wearing green shorts,” I answered. “The sky is blue.” Okay, so none of them were that easy, but it basically on that level, as I know the very basics of basketball. After all, I was the knockout champion of gym class my sophomore year of high school. Anyway, he realized I knew random facts, so figured he would quiz me on the game more. When he asked me what an “and one” was, for example, I mumbled something too softly for him to hear and changed the subject.
“Wow! I forgot that Kyrie might get MVP this year!” Apparently, they don’t have an MVP for each team, though, and there’s only one for the entire NBA. That makes his chances of getting it really slim, and I can’t remember for sure, but I don’t think he’s really in the running for that right now… It would have been wise to have memorized a few facts ahead of the game, but I’ll remember that for next time.
Unfortunately, my plan might have worked if I had a more interesting fact in my pocket, but it just hurt my credibility. He asked again what the “and one” was, so I said it was Michael Jordan’s basketball clothing line. Sadly, I should have kept it a little less specific and I think that would have impressed him. Apparently Michael Jordan’s line is called the “Jordan Brand,” and is a part of Nike’s collection. And One is its own basketball brand. They claim to be “the greatest basketball brand EVER,” and I believe them. There is a move in basketball called “and one,” though, and it means you get an extra free-throw shot after you make one while getting fouled. I hope I explained that well, I just learned about it on Friday.
I gave this method a 4 out of 10 because I think it could have worked better if I had some real facts to throw out during the game. Changing the subject is a little annoying, but if you have something more impressive and more important to say, why not? This will go better the next time around, I just know it.
What are some good basketball facts I should know for the next time we watch? Where did you study to learn more about sports? I think I’m learning just from watching the games, but there is a lot to remember and are a lot of players who look like they’re doing the same thing on the court, even though they have completely different jobs.