Thursday, January 8, 2009


KDP is the safest neighborhood in my school boundaries. There's very little gang activity and the housing is actually pretty up to date. Ben and I even considered moving there last year, it's close to both our schools and compared to what we are paying now - it's pretty cheap. Well, tonight I was in the neighborhood eating my dinner at Subway . . .

I'm about to check out when I hear these youngsters yelling at the cashier, "You always raising prices man. I'll only give you$1.75. That's all I can do." Of course the Indian cashier is just ignoring the boys, and then as I take a closer look I realize they are the captains of our football and basketball teams. Classy guys, real classy. Then, I'm checking out and this voice behind me says "Give me one of your cookies Szilagyi." I turn around to see Ra-Heem smiling at me. "Sorry kid, I'm not getting any cookies." And he walks out of the store, I really think he just came in to try and get some free food off me. So I sit down to eat and I look at the window and see Stormy, a short little girl, putting up her fists about to swing at some older guy. I think to myself, "They act just the same at home." Stormy notices me and runs inside to give me a hug. As she leans over she whispers in my ear "Szilagyi you shouldn't be here, it's not safe here for someone like you." I just smile back and say "Oh Stormy, last year my husband and I looked into living in KDP." She was so happy I knew the name of her hood, "How do you know about KDP." So I throw out "Tameyka Griffin graffittied it all over my classroom last year." Meyka is probably the most popular kid from KDP so this automatically satsified Stormy and she went outside to continue throwing bunches at about three different boys. And that is when I notice, they made my sandwich upside down.

Now for a little discussion about my coaching experiences this year.

I'm shocked to admit coaching Volleyball is much easier. Even though I only know the basics of the sport, and have really only played for two years as a teen and two years at college. And I never watch the sport on TV. Anyway, here are my reasons why.
  • Volleyball isn't a big sport in the African American world. The two teams that go to the championship each year are the White school and the Latino school. Therefore I spent the majority of practice time working on the basics. Like passing with your legs and not swinging your arms like a bafoon.
  • Volleyball games move much slower, especially when it's just a game of passing. One time I threatened them that if they didn't play pass, set, hit like we worked on in practice they would all be running suicides at the end of the game. It worked.
  • The girls were some of the best students in the school. Straight A's. Good attitudes. Eager to learn. Always at practice etc etc.

  • Basketball on the other hand is very much an African American sport and these girls think they already know everything there is to know. They claim I play "White/West coast" ball. But truth is I've been to tons of the Varsity practices and I'm really trying to run practice like my Black superiors run their practice.
  • The games are a nightmare. It is such a faster pace. And none of the girls can really hear what you are shouting from the sidelines. And they get so tired and whine the whole time.
  • Which is partly due to the fact that on this team I have a group of hoodlums. Who have never played in a game with referees before. So as you can imagine, one girl was thrown out of the game last night. She actually cursed at the ref. This sweet move left me with only one sub. And as for their grades, well our two best players can't even suit up for the games becuase they are failing every class.
So to sum up our game last night. We had no uniforms so Pari's shorts nearly fell off after she stole the ball and went for a layup. So we got her a new pair of shorts, and she just dropped her drawers in front of 150 of her peers. I about killed her. But it wasn't until she cursed out the refs and got a T that I told her to just go change out of her jersey and watch us from the sidelines. Before she could the track coach ran her down and had her come apologize to me for her behavior.

Speaking of the track coach. Our track team rocks, I think it's 13 in the nation. So when a track girl asked if she could play I gave her a jersey, even though she's only come to one practice. And though she didn't start, I will admit she played the whole game. That girl can run and I needed at least one hustler out there, even if she refused to dribble or shoot.

As for my other players, my two posts had no idea how to play down low, and they are horribly out of shape. Two other girls have never played ball before in their life. And poor Aliyah, when the ball rolled right by her and she didn't even try to pick it up the whole crowd just laughed. And then there is our point guard, who scored all 7 of our points. That's right we only scored 7 points. Well she was tired and beat up so she didn't always run down the court on defense. The varsity coach yelled at me for leaving her in but honeslty, my only sub was complaining about her asthma. What was I to do? And when I finally did pull her out, I had no point guard. The track girl realized she had to step it up and actually play ball and not just run the court.

Overall it was a hoot. But the funniest part came today as the schools 300 pound 19 year old 10th grader walked through my classroom shouting "You team some trash Szilagyi. Got beat by 50. You team some trash." Well, LeBria, one of my never-played-in-her-life players was in my class and she didn't appreciate his comments. So she started yelling back when the Vice Principal walked by and said "I'll take care of this." Then he followed the student out of my room and hollard "Hey Lattimore, that team has some standards. You see, they all have to have a 2.0 to be on that team." Thank you Mr. Bryant, only a black man could get away with treating one of his students like that. (Or a black woman, I did hear one of the security guards yell at a student "No, F - - - you Shannone. Go to class!) Oh the joys of the hood.

1 comment:

Mom and Dad Bassett said...

I'd love to come to one of your games, girl! They sound like a hoot. Afterward, we could go out for a sandwich in the hood! You talk trash woman!
Keep them memoirs comin'.
Love, Pa

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