Blog: The Worst Teammate Ever
(originally written 7/17/12)
Play competitive sports for 20+ years as I have and you WILL be saddled with flawed teammates at some point.
There's just no avoiding them—they're like mosquitoes. They suck the life right out of you.
The term "flawed" is multi-faceted. Maybe you have a talented teammate who's just there to goof off. Or a serious teammate with minimal talent. Or one with such a feeble grasp of the "playing for fun" concept that he slams his glove down and snarls when my friend hits the first double of her life. (Yes, an idiot teammate of mine once did this. But I'm not here to talk about the past.)
Or perhaps you have "Charles".
I never got his real name; we're designating him "Charles" because this fella was one turr-ible basketball player. Just when it seemed the two stiffs who stunk up Northhampton Park and left my buds and I basically playing 2-on-4 back in March couldn't possibly be bottomed, Charles lowered the bar enough that the local spider population can use it to limbo.
He was totally useless—how he could play so poorly with a cute girl now watching from the bleachers? They bring out the very best in me. Apparently they turn him into Kyle's cousin Kyle from South Park.
There was one play where I tossed him a pass from four feet away and it hit him in the shoulder. There was another where I fed him a beautiful bounce pass underneath and it went through his arms like a hula hoop. Later on, I was left guarding both our opponents on an inbounds play because Charles had spaced out and was wandering near the far 3-point line. He was closer to guarding our frikkin' cars than our opponents!
I tried valiantly but couldn't stop them from scoring on the play—and ended up stumbling out of bounds and scraping up my leg in the effort. "Duhhh, are you okay?" asked my teammate.
It was at that point I strongly considered advising Charles to take his own life. It is a suggestion often used by my two favorite radio hosts, Rob and Arnie, when a caller tells a terrible joke or painfully boring story, and I felt it applied here.
"Look, I know white guys are stereotypically bad at basketball, but not this bad. Just watching you play, I'm not sure how you even put your clothes on to come here. You really, really suck. And worse yet, you're sucking in front of a cute girl. She's gonna tell her friends because she's a woman and that's what they do. You will be persona non grata in the dating world. Which is probably for the best cuz it'll eliminate any chance of you reproducing.
So what I want you to do is go across the street. There's a bus that stops there every hour. I'm not advising you to get on it. I'm advising you to run in front of it. Do it for yourself. Do it for all the Olympic competitors who will kick off the Games tomorrow with more athleticism in their earwax than you have in your whole body. It's for the best."
Of course, I didn't do that (although it's highly possible Charles tripped over his own feet and cracked his skull open later on.)
Instead, I feigned fatigue and left before I slammed a ball off Charles' forehead in frustration.
He was a nice enough guy, but a turrible teammate. In fact, the worst teammate EVER.
But at least our cars were safe...