Pete’s Last Hope To Stay Out of Hell

Do, or Die

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Questionable souls, standing in line, waited for one last chance to save themselves from the fires of hell.

There were two lines that stretched into infinity. One coming into the arena, and another going out.

The sounds of the Celestial Games filled the air.

“Do you have any idea what our challenge is going to be?” Pete asked the hulking soul in front of him.

“I heard it was different for every soul,” the hulking soul named Tyson replied.

The cacophony of sound increased as they walked into the enormous coliseum packed with Saved Souls seeking entertainment. Super sports fans. They were so good that they didn’t have to compete to stay out of hell. They went directly to Heaven after dying.

God sat on a huge golden throne on the other end of the coliseum. He was wearing a baseball cap and a sports jacket that glittered like diamonds. “Let the games begin!” he roared.

The games consisted of a variety of sports. Baseball. Football. Basketball. Hockey. Soccer. Golf. And boxing. The contestants were assigned a sport. Those in the football line had to tackle famous running back Gale Sayers before he got a touchdown.

Sayers, was one of the happy souls that got to play the game again…and again..in his version of heaven. Determined souls slid right off him as he barreled for touchdown after touchdown.

The souls that were assigned basketball had to make a basket with Wilt Chamberlain guarding them. He happily swatted away desperate shots without working up a sweat.

Those souls in the baseball line had to get a hit against Sandy Koufax. When it came to hockey, the souls had to keep Gordie Howe from scoring a goal. The souls assigned to golf had to play – and beat – Arnold Palmer in a 3-Hole sudden death.

There was one line – in the center of the coliseum where the souls waiting to fight against Mohammad Ali, were groaning out loud with fear.

Pete was in the basketball line. He watched Tyson dribbling the ball around Wilt…looking for a shot. Finally he thought he saw an oppening and took it. Wilt smiled and waited until the last second before sending it into celestial orbit.

Pete had a few basketball moves, but never played with an organized team. He grew up playing street ball. The were few rules in that version of basketball. He stepped onto the court and was handed a ball.

Pete looked up at Wilt who was smiling at him.

Flashback.

Pete and a four teenage friends are playing pickup basketball at a local gymnasium. Their team is playing one of the tougest groups of thugs in the neighborhood. The “No blood – no foul” rule was in effect.

The other teams center was taller than anyone in the gym. His arms looked unnaturally long and it was nearly impossible to get a shot past him. The game was tied at 19-19 (a point for every basket). It took 20 to win.

Realizing that he couldn’t get around, or shoot over their center, Pete dribbled to half court. Without even trying to drive and pop against their big man, Pete stopped and took aim.

He always had a good set shot. The range wasn’t impossible. He’d made many shots from there before. The center was content to let him make the shot. Everyone else was closely guarded.

Pete fired away. The ball arced and came down smoothly, barely moving the net in its descent. Game over.

“C’mon man! Bring it on! “ Wilt said, with a note of irritation.

According to the rules, a soul had to drive on Wilt and score. But Pete was never too worried about rules. This was sudden death. A deep breath…and Pete released the ball!

As It Stands, this tale was for all of you sports lovers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Played Basketball On LSD…and There’s More

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It was the summer of 1971. Or, was it ’72? It might have been ’73.

Anyway…my buddy and I often played 2-on-2 pickup basketball games in gyms in Southern California. One day we dropped some really colorful Orange Wedge acid (could have been Orange Sunshine) and went to a gym to play basketball.

Acid heads know what I mean when I say we were starting to ‘Come on” when we challenged two guys to a game. Perhaps if we weren’t in a hazy state we would have noticed some odd things about them.

But we didn’t and the game was on. About the time one of them pulled up to take a shot I was getting “follow-ups.” The ball seemed to hang in the sky, coming down like a rainbow as it rattled around the rim and went in.

My friend looked at me, and shrugged. Then he started to get “follow-ups” while we tried to guard the basket. It was useless. We were moving like automatons. The game was over before we knew it. 10 – 0. A point a basket.

We took a break. Got some water at the fountain in the gym. We both were enjoying all the colors around us when I happened to look over at the other side of the gym and spotted one of the guys warm-up jackets…they were cops!

At that moment we we a white version of Cheech and Chong. Can’t remember all the dialogue (I’d be lying if I did), but I know we panicked hard for a couple of minutes.

It was a real bad thing to be caught doing drugs in the ’70s. People were getting life sentences for a joint.

Then something strange happened.

Perhaps it was pride. Perhaps we were a good team of two. We looked at each other and smiled. The two cops were taking shots at the basket on the far end of the court. We brought our Red-White-and Blue ball over and challenged them to a rematch.

They smiled so wide I could see their tonsils. We knew what they were thinking. Another easy game.

We got the ball first. I drove to the basket and when they both picked me up I tossed the ball to my friend. Swish! 1-0 us. They blinked for a moment then took the ball out. We played tough man-to-man defense, unlike the first game.

I wish I could remember the final score…but, I can tell you we won! Both men seemed shocked. They had to suspect we were flying higher than the balls we were tossing up from every angle.

What a victory. As soon as we got outside I threw my guts up – some orange flavored cereal from that morning – and then we went tripping on to our next adventure. It must not have been that good, because I can’t remember it.

As It Stands, this is a story I couldn’t have shared during my newspaper days. I’m glad I can now. Hope you enjoyed it.