We all make bad decisions in our youth. This story time involves vandalism but not in a traditional sense. I feel bad about it now, but it’s still a funny story. Don’t judge. Just enjoy the stupidity.
My brother, Steve, was one grade above me. When we were both in high school, we loved to play pick up basketball with all of our friends. Even better than playing basketball on a standard ten foot high basketball rim was playing at the grade school, where the rims were only about nine feet tall.
Why were nine feet high hoops better? Because then we could dunk. I’m just over six feet tall, but I don’t have great jumping abilities, and neither did my brother or any of our friends. The only way we were throwin’ it down was on a lower rim.
After playing countless games at the grade school, one rim started to get loose. The bolts that held the rim to the backboard rattled with each monster dunk. One fine sunny day, Steve, his two jerky friends, Justin and Omar, and I decided that we should see who could slam it so hard that the rim would rip right off the backboard. We each took turns attacking the rim with fierce two-handed jams, reverses, and alley-oops. I had little chance of being the one tearing the rim off. Even though I was six feet tall, I weighed about six ounces. I would hang and shake my bony frame around after each dunk, but the rim remained.
My brother went after me. He ran toward the hoop, leaped off the black top whipped the ball behind his head, and then at the apex of his jump, he hammered down on the rim, sending the basketball through the hoop with tremendous force. His body weight, combined with the violent attack on the hoop, pried the rim loose from the backboard. Steve triumphantly landed on his feet with the rim still in his hand.
Right as he turned to show us his triumphant achievement, Justin yelled, “Steve! Look out! It’s the cops.”
Immediately, Steve bolted off the court and into the swamp behind the parking lot. I looked around for a place to run and hide, but the only place to take cover was in the swamp. As soon as I was about to run for it, Justin grabbed me by the back of my shirt.
Justin and Omar were completely red-faced as they tried to suppress their laughter. Justin whispered, “Little Tief, there aren’t any cops.”
I was dumbfounded. No cops? Why did he say that then? Then I put it all together. They wanted to see if Steve would run into the swamp. I tried not to laugh, which made it more hilarious. All the while, we could hear Steve groaning as he marched deeper and deeper into the bog.
After a few minutes, Justin called out, “Tief. Come out. The cops are gone!”
We laughed as we heard Steve trudging through the swamp, cursing to himself. He stepped out of the cattails and walked toward the court covered in silt and sludge. He still held onto the rim. I laughed uncontrollably at him.
Omar asked between giggles, “Tief? Why didn’t you drop the rim?”
Steve just shrugged his shoulders.
A few days later, somehow my mother learned about what we did. I don’t recall what the punishment was, but I still remember how much we all laughed when Steve came back out of the swamp with the rim still in his hands.