By Yohannes Edemariam
Pre game: A Lunar Eclipse
It’s Saturday night, 2000 hrs. in the McMaster Athletics Centre the Ryerson men’s basketball team is warming up. As the players shoot around, Ludacris shares his wisdom from a loud speaker in the corner: “When I move you move…”
The stands are almost full, something the Rams aren’t used to. For some reason there’s a group of squawking eight-year-olds huddled together in one corner. Outside a lunar eclipse is taking place.
The Marauders enter stage right to begin their warm up. Many of them can dunk and they shake the frame holding up the backboard as they do.
Four minutes into the game: Air Fraser
The Rams are down four points to none. The game is a mess; neither team seems to be able to complete a pass let alone a decent play. But finally Errol Fraser streaks in from the left and as he soars in towards the basket he is fouled but scores anyway and completes the three point play. Despite a few appreciate words, the Rams’ bench look bored out of their minds; every now and then they raise a catatonic defense chant.
Second half: More Errol
Fraser is on fire. He’s carrying the laod. He’s stepping up out there. I can’t think of any more clichés, but you know what I mean. He just scored 10 points in less than five minutes, including a breakaway tomahawk jam. The Marauders, however, are pulling away. They have a ten point lead. Marauders guard Ben Katz keeps sinking three pointers and each one is a like a dagger sinking further into the back of Rams head coach Patrick Williams.
9:30 left to play: Some Stormy Time Outs
Katz hits another three. Coach Williams calls a time out to yell at Vladimir Matevski who is supposed to be guarding him.
Williams: “Do you guys want to fucking win a game?”
Team: sheepish nods and a few grunts
Williams then asks Matevski directly what he thinks he’s doing letting Katz get all those open shots. Matevski grunts and blames someone else.
Williams: “Don’t worry about that, I’m talking to you — shut him down!”
Matevski: “I’m trying.”
Williams: “Don’t try, do it! Shut him down.”
The team hustle back onto the floor, give up too many rebounds, and the Marauders extend their lead. Rams are down 13.
Matevski gets called for travelling a couple times, and screams at the refs; the poor guy is making a mess. Williams calls another time out to scream at him.
Williams: “I do not want you to fucking self destruct in this game!”
Matevski looks away.
Williams: “I’m talking to you. Everything you’re doing out there…you’re acting like a little bitch.”
Matevski starts yelling, not exactly at Williams but around him. When he finishes he slams his water cup to the floor.
There’s more swearing and arguments on the bench and then the Rams move sheepishly back onto the floor. They cheer up a little when Fraser steals the ball and goes in for another tomahawk. Drama rising. Ten minutes to play. The Rams are down 15 and if they don’t turn the game around now it will be too late. There’s a whole slew of charging fouls and jump balls; it’s getting violent. More and more bodies slam to the floor. The Rams hit a three. The bench erupts. Coach Williams can’t sit still and begins to pace. It’s ragged; more charging fouls. The score is 66-49; 6:24 to play.
But then 31 hits another three and the Rams bench exhales; the game is slipping away.
5:58 left to play: “Six Minutes to Play Our Hardest”
Those kids in the corner won’t stop screaming. The Rams have called another time hour. Their starters are drenched in sweat. Williams tells them to stop arguing with the refs and start rebounding. The next few plays are really the Rams last chance to turn this one around. On the bench guard Vladimir Nikolic mutters, “Six minutes to play our hardest.”
Seconds later the Rams are on defense. As the Marauders swing the ball around the perimeter, Mark Ibrahimovic calls out from the bench to teammate Waleed Belcher to offer some advice: “Wally! Wally!” he yells. Belcher doesn’t hear a nearby spectator tells Ibrahimovic to sit down. “Fuck you!” he screams at the fan but stops trying to contact Wally. Whatever advice he wanted to give might have helped because the Rams mess up the next couple of plays to find themselves down by 20 points. The game is no longer salvageable.
Five seconds: The End, Score – 80-58
All the starters are now on the bench. For the last few minutes there has been no more swearing or arguing; just pats on the back and other various forms of male bonding. The kids in the corner chant out the last seconds: Five! Four! Three! Two! One! The buzzer sounds. Rams lose.