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Basketball Brotherhood Stop #5: Waleska, Georgia

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 4, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

On the way to Crichton College Friday afternoon, my mother brought up my previous trip to the Atlanta area and how it turned out.

“You didn’t get there until 2 in the morning,” she said to me, “Atlanta’s six hours from Memphis.”

Mainly because we had truck trouble, nearly died, had to pick up a complete pain in the rear from Nashville that sang every third song out loud that was on the radio, and head through Hurricane Katrina’s little ghetto sister Hurricane Laquisha to get to Atlanta.

“I know,” I said.

“These people have a little bit more sense than them,” she said, referring to the church I was at until last August.

Once again, we would be on the team’s charter, once again driven by Ms. Pam, something that caught me off guard.

“I thought you said we were going on the shuttle,” I said to Coach Wilkes.

“Charter, Ryne,” he said.

Friday afternoon-Joining us on the latest stop on the “Basketball Brotherhood” tour would be Mama Walker as well as Ms. Pam’s daughter.

Unlike the last stop on the tour, where I found myself explaining to Sapp about the quality of acting in “Transformers”, we ended up watching one of the classics, “Talledega Nights”, from Colonel Sanders’ collection.

“You should see “Walk Hard,” I said to Marcus Butler, who was sitting behind me, referring to the hilarious film that I viewed two weeks ago.

Instead of going south on Highway 78, we took the same route that my former church members and I took when we went to Atlanta back in May, heading east on Interstate 40 towards Nashville.

After passing through Mufreesboro on Interstate 24, we made a pit stop in some small town near Shelbyville at a truck stop.

“What city is this?” I asked the lady at the cash register.

“Christina,” she replied, “25 miles from Mufreesboro and 45 from Nashville.”

“Do you carry the Tennessean?” I asked.

“Right outside,” she replied.

Friday night-We arrived in East Ridge, Tennessee for dinner at Shoney’s around 7 o’clock Chattanooga time for their traditional Friday seafood buffet.

Given the fact that I was always impressing people with my triva knowledge, Coach Walker decided to stump me with trivia about the ABA.

“You always write about hotties in your columns,” he said, referring to the numerous references I make about the random hottie, Miss Candy, or any other girl that I either flirt with or dated in the last three years.

“Who was the first team to have a dance team?” he asked me as Coach Wilkes, Stan Brownlee, and Derrick Boykin looked on in anticipation for my answer.

“Los Angeles Lakers,” I replied.

“Wrong,” he said, “it was the Miami Floridians.”

The next category that was given to me was basketball in the Missouri Valley Conference, since I once attended a Valley school for a semester before returning home to Memphis, only to be once again shot down by Coach Walker.

“You’re off your A-game,” Stan said to me as we left the Shoney’s.

We arrive in Calhoun, Georgia, a city stuck in the middle of the Appalachian mountains at the local Quality Inn, which from the jump looked like the seedy hotels I always see around Memphis.

Thirty minutes after I jumped out of the shower and started to watch football on television, I received a phone call from Coach Ryans, who was next door.

“The water is supposed to be cut off at 8 in the morning,” he said, “Just take your shower and stuff tonight.”

Saturday morning-In an attempt to avoid taking a cold shower, I decided to wake up an hour earlier to take a nice warm shower as well as watch the sun rise over the Appalachian Mountians.

Even though we were told the night before that we would be without warm water when we woke up at 8 in the morning, I went down to the lobby and tried to get the hotel to extend the grace period for at least one hour.

“These guys are not going down to some town I’ve never heard of smelling like they slept in the city dump for three years,” I said to the lady, “No way, no how.”

“You can’t fight City Hall,” she said to me.

After drinking coffee and spending time on the business computer checking Facebook and Myspace, I went back up to the room before the cutoff time, waking Coach Wilkes up in the process.

“Is the water still on?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I replied.

At breakfast, the subject at the table was about the Nintendo Wii and how it would be a great recruiting tool for high-schoolers who want to come to Crichton and play basketball.

“Think about it,” Marcus said, “a Wii in the student center.”

“Then students won’t be in class,” Mama Walker said, “They’ll be too busy playing the Wii.”

Saturday afternoon-When the documentary on the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry came on the day before I left for St. Louis, I remembered paying close attention to the story about Woody Hayes blowing his top off when a group of good-looking girls served his players their pregame meals prior to the Michigan game.

And since to that point the only person distracted by a very attractive female while spending time on the basketball court was me, I felt that there was no need for the team to be distracted by the beauty of a Georgia Peach.

That is, until we got to Reinhardt.

During the shootaround we had, a couple of nice looking ladies were sitting on the bench on the end where the team was shooting that were team managers for the school and as five or six minutes passed, I started to realize that the school was doing their best to distract us from another butt-kicking of a school I never heard of.

“Zarc,” I said, referring to Zaric Brankovic, “the school sent those two girls to distract us from shooting.”

“How can you tell?” he asked me.

“I just know,” I replied.

Although Reinhardt tried the same gimmick that Glenn Edward Schembechler pulled 30 or years ago, it didn’t matter as Crichton won their fifth straight game behind the play of Stan Brownlee and DeMario Chaffin 84-59 over Reinhardt to improve to 7-4 overall.

After the game, we ended up stopping at a Ryan’s in Dalton to celebrate, therefore avoiding the dullness of your local truck stop.

“I cried, man” I said to Marcus about his up-and-under move on Reinhardt, “It was too pretty.”

“Why did you do that?” he asked.

“I have no idea.”

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