I Guess It's Popcorn and Diet Soda For Dinner Again: A Not So Debacherous Account of Several Early Evenings Spent In The Unseedy Underbelly Of Metro Area High School Basketball

I don't have a lot of regrets about my life.  Yet still, every March I am reminded of two (out of three) of my greatest disappointments thus far: I never got to play in the State Basketball tournament.  And no matter how hard I want to do the right thing, I'm prone to making some poor nutritional decisions.

Friday, March 11th

Wayzata vs. Robinsdale Armstrong, Section 6AAAA Quarter Finals, Osseo High School
Osseo is one of my favorite places to go watch the Sectionals.  Mostly because they have an outstanding concessions stand with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.  Not that I ever get them; I just like the idea that it's an option.  I usually go for "Oriole Combo"--a hotdog, chips and soda for like, 4 bucks--or of course, the popcorn.  On this particular evening I get both. 

The Osseo gymnasium also holds a special place in my heart, and for good reason.  It as it was here a few years ago for a Mpls North vs. Hopkins sectional game that I first saw and was amazed by blipsters. 

As far as this game goes, nothing memorable stands out.  Wayzata wins, but it's also kind of like losing, as there is literally no chance they will beat Hopkins in the championship game.  A kid from Armstrong got a really nasty scratch on his face.  That was cool.

Saturday, March 12th

Minneapolis Washburn vs. Waconia, Section 6AAA Quarter Finals, Washburn High School
My friend, and most formidable one-on-one opponent, Matt and I pick this one over a double shot of games for the same price at Concordia.  Reason being, the possibility of a volatile situation presents itself anytime the suburbs battle the city.  Or in layman's terms, black vs. white.

Somehow we don't set off the metal detectors upon entering the gym.  Which is fortunate because we are both brought our guns.  Just kidding about that last part.  We left them under the seat in the car. 

The concession stand is literally behind a steel cage.  Popcorn looks good but neither of us go for it.  Not surprisingly, with the budget of small inner city school like Washburn, there is no pep band.  Instead it's a guy running a mix of hip hop songs of an iPad.  I'm glad to know Whomp, There It Is is still making it onto pre-game warm-up tapes.  Jock Jams for life.

The game is fairly tight most of the way through.  Offensively speaking Washburn does not move well without the ball.  Meaning instead of coming to the ball they just stand around and wait for something to happen...which drives me fucking INSANE!  They keep the game close, but it's really hard to believe this is the team that just beat Eden Prairie (the only team to beat Hopkins this year.)  It comes down to some free throws in the final seconds of the game, and Waconia reserve guard, a 9th grader named Tommy Gove is on the line with a chance to win it.  He misses both.  Dude is so visibly upset with himself that I'm concerned for his metal health.  I have to contain myself from going down to the court and giving him a hug.  But in the end Waconia wins it in overtime.  Call off the suicide watch. 

PS-Vanderbilt recruit, Shelby Moats is a fucking giant. 

Matt makes a joke about the Waconia fans using their GPSs to find the quickest route to the freeway.  "Let's just get the hell out of here. We will stop for diner once we see the Applebees on 494."  Neither of us even knows if 494 is how you would get to Waconia.

Tuesday, March 15th

Concordia Academy Roseville vs. Saint Croix Lutheran and Minnehaha Academy vs. Blake School, Holy Angels High School, Section 4AA Quarter Finals
It's private school night, yay!  I say that in jest of course.  But you know what; great games.  And not only that, but a new kind of people to watch: Well-to-do hip business men and their tan, gum-chewing, breast-augmented hot mom wives.  Neither of which can be pried away from their phones.  The student sections are made up of nice looking white folks.  All of he Minnehaha Academy girls are wearing dresses and when they walk by the stands everyone cheers.  These are customs I'm not, ah, accustomed to. 

Considering these are all religious schools, surprisingly (or perhaps, not surprisingly) the language is fairly crude.  Lots of "fucks" flying around.  Speaking of fuck: how about those tan hot moms?  Amirite or amirite? 

I go for the popcorn and a Diet Dr. Pepper. 

A couple of the players have beards.  Something about high school guys with beards really irritates the shit out of me.
Concordia Academy beats Saint Croix Lutheran in double overtime with a 3-pointer of the glass.  Hurts to lose like that.  Especially when it's a win or go home situation and you're clearly the better team.  Minnehaha Academy beats Blake School in OT and I'm not so sure they were the better team either.  I know I'm not supposed to like lily-white private school players but the Pryor boys from Minnehaha are both entertaining and intriguing. 

So much whistle blowing, sneaker squeaking, and teenager squealing that by the end of the night my head is pounding so hard I'm afraid I'm having an aneurysm.  Turns out I'm not.  Lucky me. 

I have to go to a girls game tomorrow.  *Lucky me*.

Wednesday, March 16th

Grand Rapids vs. Alexandria, Williams Arena, Girls AAA State Tournament 1st Round
There is really only a handful of reasons I would take an extended lunch break to go watch a high school girls basketball game.  All of those reasons would have to do with me knowing someone involved with said game.  In this case, it's the coach of the Grand Rapids team.  His name is Dave LaCoe and he is one of the most awesome, gorgeous, entertaining people to ever walk the earth.  He is also my former high school basket ball nemesis turned college roommate.  He's pretty much a basketball legend in the state of Minnesota.  I'll let you research that on your own. 

We talk briefly before the game. I wasn't planning to bother him because I know how serious this all is, but he sees me attempting to sneak a few photos of him, and runs over to give me a hug. He introduces me to a women that I believe is his wife (?) and someone who I think is his son (??). It's all happening really fast and I do not want to distract him.  Besides, I don't think he actually said who these people were, but rather, just told them who I was.

I don't really have any time to check out the concessions but it appears ice cream is the big seller in this section.  Eh, wonder how the popcorn is? 

Grand Rapids ends up losing.  Man, it has been great to see Crow in his element but I have to get back to work, and he's got a post-season pep talk to give his girls.

Friday, March 18th

St. Paul Johnson vs. Hill Murray, Section 4AAA Championship, St. Paul Washington Middle School
"Fuck you, nigger!"  Those are the last words spoken screamed in the confrontation between a Caucasian male father--young children and trophy wife in tow--and a carload of African American teenagers in the parking lot after the game.  The gf and I have to laugh, as it is not going down the way you're thinking it is.  It's the grown-ass white man taunting the black teens, threatening to punch out the rider's side window and yelling at them, "You want to have some fun tonight?  Huh, do ya?!" And it's also the grown-ass white man that is embarrassing himself and his family, who just kicked a dent in the black teens car door.  His wife and children pleading with him to stop and, "Get in the goddamn mini-van already."  And surprisingly It's the black teens screaming "nigger" at him, the white man, as they drive off.  This man is not taking this loss well. 

Emotions are running high, and people, white fucking people, specifically, are acting out in a fairly disgusting fashion.  Like sore fucking losers.  Just before the incident in the parking lot, I came out of the bathroom just as the gf is engaged in a verbal tryst with a handful of privileged private school .  She became enraged when she heard one of them say, "The reason Johnson doesn't have any fans is because they are all either on drugs or in jail."  And before that, the taunting chant from the Hill Murray student section, directed towards the predominately African American fans on the other side of the gymnasium, "G.E.D.  G.E.D.  G.E.D." had already left a sour taste in her mouth. 

And while I do recognize the comedic value of all this, I still can't help but thinking the following thought: Hill Murray didn't just lose the game; they lost their dignity.

That volatile situation I was looking for at Washburn, I found tonight.  Disturbing white-people-behaviour aside, this was basketball, the way it's meant to be: in a loud, packed gymnasium with rabid fans, and everything on the line.

Wednesday, March 23rd-Saturday, March

State Tournaments, Target Center
Ok, yes, I do realize that at this point this thing has drug on long enough. I want it to be over with just as much as you do.  But it's State Tourney time and I'm not about to quit now.  I go to so many state tournament games that I can't keep them straight anymore.  Plus I am forced to stop taking notes when I lose my Moleskine.  (Whoever finds that thing is in for a treat, let me tell you.) 

In a rubber match with Eden Prairie, Hopkins not only avenges their single loss of the season (for the second time this year,) but also win their third straight 4AAA State Championship.  And you may find it surprising, considering some of the disparaging comments I've made about them in past years, that I cheer for the heavily favored Royals.  But that's because they totally deserve to win.  They are far and away the best coached, disciplined team in the state.  (Chisholm who?)  Plus EP has a few players with beards...and I now know what it is that bothers me about so much about it... 

Seriously, high school dudes, save the facial hair for your thirties, when your chances of eating pussy have begun to spiral downward. 

For four days straight my dinner has consisted of buckets of mediocre popcorn and overpriced Diet Pepsi.  But it's all worth it.  Because truly, I love this shit. 

Plus, it's nice to have something to write about besides big butts and punk rock once in awhile.


  1. TOO LONG; DID NOT READ!April 8, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    Jesus bro, shorten it up a bit will ya ;)

  2. I'm sending a link of this to the Minnesota State High School League. I don't think you will be allowed any games next season.

  3. well this is a different take on things lol. let me guess you're trying to be the Hunter Thompson of high school sports alol. you must not have made it to the c.heights/patrick henry sectional game. did you hear about how that ended?

  4. I will have to read this later when I have a spare 3 hours. If I had to venture a guess I'd say the three previous commenters are the same person.

  5. Cool story, bro.

  6. Yes it is long but is your attention span really that short that you are easily frightened by a block of text? What a pussy. I personally don't like the guy that does HDD (BNB? Nathen?) but I still find his writing entertaining enough to take five minutes to read it. Don't be such pussy.


    I blame Twitter for people's short attention spans. I'm not friends with Nate anymore either.

  8. "Nate" eh? J.Sho goes for the jugular!

  9. Eh, stick to what yo do best big buts and punk roc.

  10. I personally believe.....that HHD has a staff.

  11. In the digital age it's a natural reaction to groan at a lengthy block of text. That being said, if you actualy know how to read, it usually only takes a couple minutes on any given site. Personally, I scroll down to the comments to see what people are saying first. If the majority of the comments are negative there is a good chance the piece is actually good and worth the read. The internet has made it so easy to be an anonymous jealous hater. Ok, now I'm going to read this, and I bet I will like it.

  12. That^^ is obviously Nathen/BNB/Doomgoblin defending himself. Sorry bro, not everything you do is worth the eight to ten paragraphs you "write" about it.

  13. so doomy g is nathen too?

  14. and why wouldn't bnb be allowed at games next year? i dont get that comment.