Friday, August 21, 2009

A Major Problem

When I was in sixth grade, I stood six feet tall and had more armpit hair than the rest of the elementary school combined. So when field day came at the end of the year, it was no surprise to anyone that The Shark performed swimmingly. I shattered records, I shattered dreams, and when it was all said and done, I shattered the ladies’ hearts. Anyone who witnessed that field day will tell you that it was one of the more impressive things they had ever seen. They will then go on to tell you how badly I failed to athletically pan out and that I’m a prime example of why hitting puberty early isn’t necessarily a good thing, but that’s not relevant to this story.

The reason I bring up my field day dominance is not because I wanted to discuss what I accomplished on the field that day, but rather because it prompted a solid piece of advice from my mom that I still carry with me to this day—don’t let your success get to your head. Unfortunately, I initially chose to not listen to her and instead turned to a life of pulling chairs out from under kids as they went to sit down and other various acts of mischief. I knew that what I was doing was wrong, but I assumed that my seventh grade principal had heard about my performance in the sixth grade field day and would just let each irresponsible act slide. I simply thought the rules didn’t apply to me. But when he slapped a lunch detention on my record, I knew I had hit rock bottom and had to either change my ways or get used to eating lunch by myself and missing out on all the dirty jokes that Jimmy Parkland had heard from his older brother.

Fast forward to this past basketball season. I built this blog from scratch in late October and used my position as the unknown guy on the team as the foundation. In the infancy of the blog, I wrote about how I never play, how I get left out of team pictures, and why per diem is so crucial to my well-being because I’m not on scholarship and therefore have no money. Then I went on Bill Simmons’ podcast (twice), got kicked out of the NBA draft, and ultimately ended up on the front page of I essentially became fairly well-known for writing about being unknown. Don’t worry, I’m struggling to find the logic in that sentence too.

As my blog became more and more popular (and I love every one of you for helping make this happen), it became harder for me to be the unknown on our team. I couldn’t write about what it was like to go places and everyone get recognized but me, because suddenly I was getting recognized too. I couldn’t write about how I planned on pranking The Villain because of the thousands of you reading, one of you would consistently warn him of what was coming (or he would just get on here and read for himself, which is really what I think happened). Because of this, the direction of the blog had to change slightly. I started giving a general behind the scenes view of life as a college basketball player instead of the view of life as a useless college basketball player that I originally set out to give. This upset some of you to the point that you thought it necessary to e-mail me and explain that you “want the old Club Trillion back.” I completely agree with you, but my hands have been tied. It’s not like I can just make stories up about getting disrespected and pass them off as fact. After all, I’m not James Frey.

Some of you thought that the success I’ve had on this blog gave me a big head, which is why I changed the direction of the blog, but that’s just not true. I like to think I got my big head from my dad, who wears a size 7 and 3/4 baseball cap, which, for those of you who don’t know how hat sizes work, is another way of saying the circumference of his head is 7.75 times greater than the circumference of the moon. In all honesty, ever since my seventh grade lunch detention, I’ve learned that no matter how popular I may become, I still have to follow the rules like everyone else (it may come as a shock, but not every athlete thinks the same way). I assure every one of you that the advice my mother gave me years ago is still nestled on the forefront of my mind. Seriously, don’t be fooled by the blog that I got, I’m still, I’m still Mark from the block. Besides, even if, for some reason, I have a lapse in judgment and momentarily think that I’m relevant to the success of the Ohio State basketball team, I’ll always have Coach Alan Major there to bring me back down to Earth.

Coach Major is the only coach, other than Coach Matta of course, who was on staff during the National Runner-up season and is still on staff now. You might remember him from his botched attempt at congratulating Kyle Madsen last season. Of course if any of you have ever watched one of our practices, you know Coach Major as the guy who was never properly taught how communicable diseases spread, which is why he finds it necessary to drink out of my water bottle on a daily basis.

In his defense, Coach Major perspires so much that he’s almost an impressive enough of a sweater for Bill Cosby to wear him. I’ve seen enough Gatorade commercials to know that this means he needs to replenish his sweat and the best way to do that, in his mind, is to drink water. He’s out there giving his all and working up a sweat, which is something that I can’t really say I’m doing. The man needs some water to quench his thirst and give him the energy he needs to perform at his best. Makes sense, right?

What’s so disheartening about the whole thing is that Coach Major makes absolutely zero attempt to make it a secret that he’s drinking out of my bottle. On many occasions, I have taken a drink from my bottle, set the bottle down, and watched in disbelief as Coach Major walked up next to me to take my bottle. That he doesn’t make any effort to hide that he’s drinking out of my bottle is strange because he puts forth an incredible amount of effort every day to seek out and drink only from my bottle. He will walk past at least ten other water bottles to get to mine and when mine empties, he waits for a manager to refill it instead of simply finding another bottle. It’s like he wants me, no, needs me to know that he’s drinking out of my water bottle. Psychological warfare at it’s finest.

My theory concerning what goes on every day in practice is that in another life I plundered Coach Major’s village, set his house and livestock on fire, and left him for dead. Somehow he managed to be the only survivor in the village and upon realizing this he made a promise to himself that he would find a way to exact revenge for all the townspeople who perished. Once I joined the team he figured out that by attacking me mentally he could cause much more damage than if he were to inflict physical harm, so he devised a plan to take my water bottle every day in practice and make sure that it’s bordering on empty as soon as I get done running sprints. Over the course of four years, I would eventually be driven to insanity and his master plan would come to fruition. That’s really the only feasible explanation.

Even though I apparently killed everyone in Coach Major’s village and the prize cow he planned on showing at the local county fair that particular year, I still feel like I have to fight back even more. I’ve tried asking him to get water from the fountain in the practice gym like every other coach does, but he wasn’t a fan of that idea. I then had the managers get him his own water bottle but he really didn’t drink out of it all that often (because drinking out of his own bottle doesn’t attack my sanity in any way) and the managers decided that they didn’t want to fill up a water bottle that wasn’t going to be put to use. I tried playing nice (sans the burning of cows and whatnot) but I’m running out of time and running out of pride. It’s time to take things one step further.

My next move is to put something other than water (no, not urine) in my bottle and watch as the surprise unfolds. My initial thought was to put hot chocolate in the bottle, but scalding an assistant coach’s face isn’t exactly the best idea I’ve ever come up with. Instead, I think I’m going to buy a bunch of Frosties from Wendy’s before practice someday and fill my bottle up with them. That way Coach Major will be discouraged from drinking out of my water bottle (because who wants to consume dairy while they are working up a sweat?) and I can enjoy a delicious chocolate malted beverage while standing on the sideline. I’m going to kill two birds with one stone, which will be quite an accomplishment considering killing one bird with any number of stones seems like it would be a pretty difficult task.

Every practice for the past three years (the six practices we’ve had this month in preparation for our trip to Canada next week are no exception), I’ve been reminded by Coach Major that I’m an untouchable in the basketball caste system. By drinking out of my water bottle, in front of my face no less, he is basically telling me to take my blog and shove it because he doesn’t respect me in the slightest. I appreciate his attempt to keep me grounded, but I think it’s time for him to understand that I don’t plan on making the same mistake I did in seventh grade anytime soon. I’m a different person than I was back then and if Coach Major can’t accept that maybe it’s time for me to take matters into my own hands and break the chains on my own. Let this blog entry serve as a warning to you, Coach Major. If you continue to drink from my bottle, I can assure you that you will definitely be in for a treat. A well-chilled, chocolate malted one, to be more specific.


Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by John K. There’s your shout-out, John. And here’s your video.

Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder