Perhaps its a sign of age, perhaps its an occupational hazard, but I had a bad case of "why bother" when it came to the Harlem Globetrotters appearing in Morris this week.
I was sure that the Globetrotters of today could not possibly live up to the Globetrotters that I remember. How many Sunday afternoons did I watch Curly Neal and Meadowlark Lemon on ABC's Wide World of Sports, not to mention watching the cartoon version of the Globetrotters helping those darned kids solve mysteries on Scooby Doo?
Nope, I was pretty sure the 2011 Globetrotters team would only serve to remind me how many years it's been since then.
Add in my disgust with some of the spoiled, over-indulged and somewhat delusional so-called professional players in the NBA. Yeah, LeBron James, I'm talking about you. It's sad to say, but prior to 7 p.m. Thursday, I was convinced that few athletes are capable of living up to the hype anymore.
I was wrong.
The Harlem Globetrotters are awesome. Sure, they are ridiculous show-offs, but they are also crazy talented players who obviously have put effort into learning the game. A lot of effort.
The sheer athleticism of these players isn't necessarily evident, as it is secondary to their showboating. But there's no disguising the level of skill it takes to shoot and dribble like that.
The Globetrotters put on a remarkably well-choreographed program, combining mad basketball skills with theatre and a big helping of comedy.
I think what I'm more amazed at is how much kids really enjoyed the show. I had thought that this video-game generation would be much too cynical to find the slapstick of the Globetrotters to be entertaining for more than five minutes.
Again, I was wrong.
Every fan in the P.E. Center got exactly what they came for and more.
Something exclusive to the Globetrotters is the four-point shot. Four circles near the half-court line were four-point zones. That's more than 10 feet from the three-point line. And they did make that shot a couple of times.
There was also a penalty box. Anyone caught clowning around spent two minutes in the box. As you can imagine, there was clowning around.
Not content to just steal ideas from hockey, there was a little professional wrestling, when a Globetrotter pinned one of the Washington Generals to the floor. My favorite moment was when the Globetrotters lined up in a football formation and worked a NFL play, including the instant replay.
There was also a little song, a little dance, audience participation, and absurdly large mascots doing funny things just for a laugh.
I have to admit, I really liked Turbo. Funny guy, but his player profile is what impressed me.
"Turbo is a great example about how you can overcome obstacles. He was cut from his ninth grade basketball team due to poor grades, so he put his nose to the grindstone, and his next report card put him on the honor roll."
Would I want my kids to be like Turbo? You betcha!
The night ended with every kid of any age who wanted an autograph, getting one. The entire team lined up on the court and signed autographs for 30 minutes. When's the last time any NBA team did that?
My only complaint? There wasn't nearly enough "Sweet Georgia Brown."
So, really, there was nothing to complain about.