Basketball, Brain Brawling and Big Brothers

Featured Stories, Opinion, Team FYN Sports

This is not a movie review, that’s coming later when the nerds rally for Amazing Spiderman tonight. No this is a tale of a trip to Amherst Massachusetts to see my “Big” brother get his doctorate, and swing by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, which is about 20 minutes from my brother’s apartment.First and foremost I’d like to offer my most sincere congratulations to Doctor McKinley Eric Melton for successfully defending his dissertation and completing all necessary requirements to get his doctoral degree. He’s a PHD not an M.D so call 911, not him, if you have ailments. Now that that’s out of the way; time to discuss the trip.

First off, we (our good friend Jillian Horsey, or as she refers to herself when introducing herself to any of my friends “I’m Lindsey’s brother’s best friend,” and myself) landed in what must have been the hottest weekend in Boston history, can’t confirm that just guessing; second, those people actually talk like that.

I thought that accent was just played up on television and in movies; it’s not. Wow, was all I could say as the rental car man made me wonder if he was for real or just over doing it because we just got off the plane. I’m pretty sure he was legit.

Next, we paid 55 tolls in five minutes on the Turnpike. Coincidentally I hate Boston, and especially the Celtics, but that has more to do with them taking Fab Melo one pick before my beloved Hawks in the draft last week than anything else, that and the 12 of 13 losses to the Celts in playoff series.

Finally we arrived in Amherst late Thursday night, said hey to my brother and mom, and got some sleep. Jillian ended up downstairs with Cruz, one of my brother’s good friends and also a member of the doctorate program at U Mass.

Apparently Cruz’s apartment was hotter than Hades on high, as Jillian was quick to inform us all the next morning. We on the other hand enjoyed the very cool effects of my brother’s air conditioning. For those of you who have not frequented areas out of the south, not everywhere has central air.

I won’t bore you with the details of the next day, as there was not much more than some shopping done (got a new pair of Chucks), and a visit to a Red Robin restaurant that resulted in me being threatened with a fork stabbing if I refused to stop my constant chorus of “Red Robin, Yummm.”

The next day was the big day, when my brother had to defend his dissertation, which went swimmingly if I do say myself. No doubt it was the best doctoral defense I’ve ever been to. However, there was foolishness that must be addressed.

Before I discuss the foolishness I must admit that I was in full big brother mode, which to some might not seem strange; however, the dynamic of my brother’s and my relationship is not normal.

Some years ago we decided to switch roles, seeing as he is bigger and more mature than me, we decided it would be best if he was officially the big brother, and I the little. Obviously I’m still older so the titles are in name only; however, on his big day I took it upon myself to look out for my little brother.

I had to, he was sweating and pacing, “more nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs” (did not hear many sayings like that in Massachusetts believe me). Our dad would have been extremely proud; I know our mom was, even though she tried to hide it.

Now onto the foolishness; it all began when this fool Anthony (yes that’s his real name, and yes I am calling him out) asked a long convoluted question that had absolutely nothing to do with my brother’s dissertation. When I say long and convoluted I mean, with no hyperbole, it was about a 4-7 minute question.

Now my brother had made it known that no one not on the panel was to ask him any questions, not family; friends; nor fellow department mates. All were given notice to remain unnoticed when question time came.

No questions were to be asked, period. Therefore I was already looking sideways at Anthony in the first place. Then when the question was finally gotten to, it was about as related to the material as Blake Griffin is to Andy Griffin.

My brother proceeded to answer the question anyway. Of course Anthony did not stop there, and continued on asking about apples when the material was clearly on oranges (not actually apples and oranges but I think you get the point). The chairman of the committee looked down the table at my brother, as if to say,

“Why are you still entertaining this fool? That’s got nothing to do with what we’re talking about.”

My brother responded with a look that said,

“Because I don’t want that fool thinking I couldn’t answer his question. I got this.”

My brother was deeply in his element, the zenith of his nerdom if I do say so myself. I do say so myself. After my big brother further schooled Anthony, Anthony was still not satisfied and continued until he was interrupted by the Committee Chairman who promptly shut him down and went onto the next person.

Now, as I said before I was in full big brother mode, so after the defense was over, I was all but ready to invite Anthony out to the parking lot to discuss his foolishness. Now let me go ahead and say that Anthony was by no means a small man, and the physical discussion I wanted to have with him may not have ended the way I would have liked. That being said, I would have made sure that he did not walk away pretty.

I did not pursue that path, due to the fact that no matter how protective I felt of my younger big brother, I must accept that we are not on the playground anymore and he would not have wanted his brother having physical discussions at his doctoral dissertation defense.

However, if he had shown up at the dinner afterwards, all bets would have been off, and it quite possibly would have “been on” as the saying goes. By the way, just as I realized that Boston people actually have that awful accent, I learned that academics actually talk like they do on television and in the movies. Seriously, how can you have a 20 minute discussion about artwork when you are not in a museum?

Fast forward a few hours and my brother gave me the background story on Anthony. Apparently Anthony despises my brother, all because of one word, “auspices.”

It all started when Anthony mispronounced auspices. It is pronounced aw-spi-sis; Anthony pronounced it aw-spi-sees. My brother said something smart about it and Anthony got very upset.

No in my brother’s defense, he told me how he wanted to next tell Anthony that he liked him because he’s southern and unapologetic about it. Anthony is from Texas. My brother planned later to pull Anthony aside and explain the proper pronunciation and use of the word. However, he never got that opportunity due to Anthony taking great offense and storming off with these final words,

“(Forget) you (sir)! I’m smart to (sir)! I know big words too (sir)!”

My brother thought no more about it, until months later when he heard from two different people that Anthony was extremely agitated about the whole thing and was telling people how he had to “check” my brother. My brother, hearing this, decided to call Anthony and “clear the air.”

When speaking to Anthony, my brother explained to Anthony that calling people out in public is not his style, and that if he were to call someone out he would pull them to the side and speak to them one on one; as he was doing during the phone conversation.

He then proceeded to explain to Anthony that the word “auspices” was pronounced aw-spi-sis and not aw-spi-sees. He also informed Anthony that “auspices”, pronounced aw-spi-sees, is the plural of auspex, one who studies birds.

Here is where the fun begins; my brother then began to outright school Anthony, telling Anthony that not only did he not pronounce the word correctly but he also misused the word. Anthony was complaining about all the things that accompany the course work that he had to deal with when he used the word auspices.

The problem is, when one is under the auspices of something, one is under the patronage of an organization. For example, if one were attending school on the Bill Gates Scholarship, anything that person had to do specifically to fulfill duties related to the scholarship such as tutoring, lab work, research, etcetera, would be under the auspices of the Bill Gates Scholarship.

My brother then explained to Anthony that what he meant to say was, “under the umbrella of,” “in addition to” and by my brother’s estimation about 10 different ways that Anthony could have said what it was he meant to say. Needless to say, Anthony was less than happy with the conversation.

My response when my brother told me the back story was two fold, first I said,

“That’s how my brother fights.”

Second I promptly moved him into my #1 spot on the all time roasts list, moving Mr. C. (a close family friend) to #2.

(The previous #1 roast was of the comedienne Monique. Mr. C. saw her in a commercial, asked what her name was and when I gave the answer responded with this gem,)

“She should have a bigger name.”

I had to move my brother in to the top spot, not just because of the cleverness and the wit, but because the roast was akin to Mark Anthony’s speech is Julius Caesar.

“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”

The roast was framed in an apology/clearing of the air, making it the best roast I’ve ever heard.

Now for all those who have been wondering about the basketball in the title and the aforementioned trip to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, I can only describe it as AWESOME!!!!

I was amazed from the moment I stepped into the place, mostly because I was not expecting to pay $19.00 for one adult ticket; however, I must say that it was worth it.

One can read just about anything and everything one could ever possibly want to know about basketball, and yes I did read anything and everything that ever wanted to know about basketball.

Looking up and seeing the pictures of all the Hall of Famers, was breathtaking. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the schemes that were posted; from press defense, to pick and roll, to the triangle.

There was a wing that celebrated great high school coaches, as well as the college and pro greats. It was interesting to see the international players such as Arvydas Sabonis, and Drazen Petrovic.

The highlight had to be the Olympic room, which featured a wall which had an American flag made totally out of tennis shoes, (well actually basketball shoes, but you get the point).

The Hawks fan in me could not take a picture with Larry Bird, which after the Boston Celtics’ grabbing of Fab Melo, I am greatly appreciative of my decision. I tested my vertical, and even got to shoot a few baskets on the full size court, located right in front of the gift shop. I’m still a little miffed that despite more than 20 people on the court not one full court basketball game was started.

I also did get a few dunks in on the dunking goal; set at intermediate heights so we short guys could say we dunked at the H.O.F. Coincidentally, I dunked at the H.O.F.

Now I must admit that the weekends’ best example of why my younger brother is my “Big Brother” came when I got my hands popped two times by our mother at the H.O.F. The first time was clearly my fault, second not so much.

The first time involved the statue of James Naismith and sign that very clearly said, “Please Do Not Touch.” How could I resist? It’s not like I go to the H.O.F. everyday, if I didn’t touch it I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. I checked around, no cameras, nobody that worked there was walking by, and then one finger, touch and POP!

The next time was not my fault at all. “See what had happened was,” there was an ESPN like booth where one can sit down and do a television broadcast where one reads from the teleprompter and gives a sports report. Cool no problem, except there was a problem.

I was sitting there reading from the teleprompter about Kevin Garnett having a big game 24 points and 11 rebounds against; you guessed it, my beloved Atlanta Hawks. I just stopped reading all the together and asked,

“Really, the Hawks can’t get no love?”

Now that would not have been so bad, except for not 45 seconds later I see a picture of Danny Manning, or as Hawks fans know him “Danny @#$%^&* Manning;” the man who we traded Dominique Wilkins for and who promptly left us quicker than Chris Humphries.

DOUBLE BIRDS!!!! That’s what I gave him, right up to the picture. Now to those who may be wondering how in the world is Danny Manning in the H.O.F.? He’s not; the picture was of the front of a sports page that had Larry Bird at the top. Danny Manning just happened to be in the bottom left corner of the page. I had to do it; it wasn’t on purpose. My love of the Hawks just could not let such and indemnity pass, despite Jillian exclaiming,

“You’re mother is right there!”

Her exclamation was not necessary as I surely felt my hands being popped for the second time that day.

We did not leave the H.O.F. until just before closing, despite me being the only sports nerd in the group. It’s so cool that there was definitely something for everybody, especially my brother who completed his undergrad studies at Duke, and therefore had to take a picture with the Coach K/Duke display. I of course challenged him to name two players currently on the team; he had to Google.

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, although I’ve got to give a shout out to Bruno and Onyx, inside joke. I did try to keep the attendant who checked our bags, and the TSA agent talking, just because their Boston accents were so thick, but that’s about it.

The flight home did see me set squarely in crying kid central, but hey I had a good time and my I got to see my brother become a doctor, so I can’t complain too much.

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