Avec le Corps de Ballet du Boston Celtiques

In an effort to soften their stuffy image, dancers from the Boston Ballet performed at halftime of a Boston Celtics game.

                                                             The Boston Globe

Glen “Big Baby” Davis, power forward and principal dancer


As I took my position beneath the field goal of the Boston Celtics, I felt the butterflies enter my stomach, even though my mouth was firmly closed.  I, a mere prima ballerina of the stodgy, stuffy Boston Ballet, was going to perform at the TD Garden!  I think that’s its name.  It was called something else last week–the TD Banknorth Garden, and something else the week before that.  Bank mergers are so confusing!

A thing of beauty is a joy forever.  Also a thing with bodacious knockers.


Did you know that Parkay Margarine was named after the Garden’s famous parquet floor?  I didn’t either until I noticed the similarity.  More importantly, “da Garden” is the hallowed ground where the Boston Celtics Dancers–who are also known as the Celtics Dancers–put their derrieres in the air-iere for the many fans of the team, both in person and on the TV.  Instead of dancing in front of an audience of hundreds of women and the few men they dragged along with them to the Opera House, I would be seen by millions of men while their wives were reading in bed!

“She walks in beauty, like the night, her stretch pants just a trifle tight.”


Every little girl who puts on a tutu and pointe shoes dreams of someday shaking her booty with the Celtics Dancers!  There are seventeen in all, and isn’t it a remarkable coincidence that there are two Ashleys– Ashley E and Ashley M–among them!  For diversity, there’s a “Jennafa”–hollaback, girlfriend!  And no dance team would be complete without an Alex, an Alexis, an Alison, a Caitlin, a Courtney and a Casey, now would it?

La danse du trois-garcons-armure


It is our hope tonight, the corps de ballet, that we will successfully execute la danse du trois-garcons-armure, commonly known among CYO basketball youth as the “Three-Man Weave.”  If we cannot master this elementary movement, how will we ever advance to une fouette pick-et-roll?

Phi Slamma Jette!


The buzzer sounds–il est trop bruyant!–and I take my position on la gauche aile, or “left wing.”  Here, I will receive the pass from la droit aile, throw to la outre femme–then repetez, repetez, repetez, until the last dancer makes a layup or, if she is truly formidable, will execute une dunque du slam, perhaps a 360 tomahawk!

Dee Brown’s historic dunk


If it is me who ends up with “le rock” under “le basquet,” I will try to replicate the most famous dunk in Boston Celtics history–the “I’m-not-looking” dunk by Dee Brown that won the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest of 1991!  Dee was a hero!  At least until he was arrested on suspicion of robbing a bank because he was black and happened to be walking on the streets of Wellesley.  I understand that this is where many bank robbers get their start, but curiously Mr. Brown was innocent of the charges.  Probably on a technicality.

I take a deep breath.  The lead ballerina pauses, poised on her toes, then says “Commencons-nous!” We are off!

Dear Reader, I would like to say that everything went parfaitment, but non. The three-man-weave–it is more difficult than it appears!  Soon, we have twisted up le court as a croissant avec prunes! The crowd–they laugh so cruelly!  Where is Lucky, the agile Celtics mascot, when we need him!

The buzzer sounds again and our coach–I mean artistic director–summons me.  I am being benched!

It cannot be, I say to him, for lack of hustle.

“No,” he replies, his face as icy as a cold shower.  “You–you are un porc de balle!”

A ball hog–moi?


Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Dance Fever–Catch It!”

A Traditional Christmas . . . With the NBA

For months we suffered through a lockout
Now in low-post we hope they’ll block out.
For guys whose gift was dissed by a wife
Or can’t bear to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”–
It’s Christmas Day—with the NBA.

Shoot-first guards, flat-footed centers
They’re all among the 1%-ers
And yet they hear no outraged howls
As long as they don’t draw six fouls.
It’s Christmas Day—with the NBA.

When, exactly, did this begin,
This chance to ignore your kith and kin,
And in-laws who are long-distance callers
By watching instead a bunch of ballers.
It’s Christmas Day—with the NBA.

I’ll bet you an ugly necktie that
Santa has no Chinese tat.
They probably mean something like “No smoking please”
Or “With two items white rice is free!”
It’s Christmas Day—with the NBA.

I think with pity of the Baby Jesus
Away in a manger, as his tuchus freezes.
Surrounded by oxen and also lambs
No flat-screen TV to watch monster jams—
It’s Christmas Day—with the NBA.

Yao Ming: Brad Miller Has No Liver

NEWARK, New Jersey.  The Houston Rockets kept their slim playoff hopes alive last night with a blowout win over the New Jersey Nets, but afterwards center Yao Ming had some sharp words for teammate Brad Miller, who scored only two points.

Ming–or is it Yao?

Ming challenged Miller, who has a three-year $15 million contract with the Rockets, to step up his game for the playoff run, alleging that the two-time All-Star had been “xiao-ing” (dogging) it lately.  Yao’s complaint?  “Brad Miller has no liver,” the Chinese center told reporters, speaking without a translator.

“I have not been xiao-ing it!”

“What’s he talking about?” was Miller’s reaction.  “If I didn’t have a liver how the hell could I convert glucose into glycogen?”

Liver, without onions.

Asked to elaborate, Yao explained that the Chinese consider the liver–not the heart–to be the seat of human emotions and the source of inner strength.  “For 4,000 years Chinese know that emotions go as liver goes.  Brad should suck it up–that is all I am saying.”

Heart = Liver

Yao substantiated his claim by showing reporters a pirated Chinese CD of the mid-70’s girl group “Heart.”  The rock band’s name was translated as “Liver.”

Martin:  “Um–I thought I had a spare.”

The charges are sure to divide a team desperately in need of unity.   Kevin Martin came to Miller’s defense and pledged to donate one of his livers to the Rockets big man.  When informed that the human body contains only one such organ, Martin rescinded his offer.  “I thought they were like kidneys–you know, everybody starts out with a pair.”

Adelman:  “Show some heart.  Or liver.  Even some spleen.”

Coach Rick Adelman suggested that Miller take time off to deal with his personal issues, and Yao seconded that notion.  “He should go to China where harvested body parts are plentiful.  He could get a liver for the price of Peking duck at a good restaurant.”

Pacers, Pistons Clash Mars NBA “Read to Achieve” Session

DETROIT.  Before he took the job as Detroit Pistons head coach in 2009 John Kuester says he received assurances from general manager Joe Dumars that the disciplinary problems that erupted into the NBA’s biggest brawl ever with the Indiana Pacers six years ago had been resolved.  “I should have had him put it in writing,” he says now after an altercation at a joint “Read to Achieve” sponsored by the two teams at Vinnie “Microwave” Johnson Elementary School here left two students with skinned knees and a third with a black eye.

Dumars:  “So I was wrong–nail me to the cross.”

“There was some pushing and shoving between Tayshaun Prince and Will Bynum over who was going to read ‘Green Eggs and Ham,'” says NBA Director of Security Joe Gadsden.  “One thing led to another and pretty soon the Legos were flying.”

“I would not eat green eggs and ham!”

The 2004 brawl between the two teams, dubbed “The Malice at the Palace,” was a subject of interest for several of the youngsters in an introductory question-and-answer session.  “Is it fair to hit somebody when they’re not looking?” asked twelve-year-old Duane Morrison.

“See–this here is called ‘cold-cocking’ somebody.”

“Only if you’re throwing a sucker punch,” noted veteran Pistons center Ben Wallace.  “And if he is looking, you’re allowed to say ‘Hey–isn’t that J-Lo over in the stands?’ to distract him.”

Once the reading portion of the program began the teams quickly differed over the proper scansion for several lines in Dr. Suess’s classic work.  “It’s trochaic pentameter,” asserted Pacers forward James Posey.  “You’re a stupid dingleberry,” snorted Pistons forward DaJuan Summers.  “It’s iambic.”

“I do not like them in a house–I do not like them with a mouse!”

Punches were thrown–accounts differ as to who struck whom first–and soon gigantic men were tussling on mats that had been placed on the floor in anticipation of mandatory naps at 1:30 central time.

“We want kids to learn about violence in the safety of the classroom, not the streets.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern said the league would review film before meting out punishment, but that any fines or suspensions would likely be overturned on appeal.  “Our players make so much money,” he noted, “they can afford better lawyers than us.”

Zydrunas’ Complaint: Where’s My Parade?

MIAMI.  The Miami Heat are on a roll, having won ten straight games after last night’s 101-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.  “The Dream Team is finally hitting on all cylinders,” says season ticket holder Mike Doltzmeier of Hollywood, Florida, referring to the self-selected trio of superstars–LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh–the team acquired in the offseason.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas:  “How come the guys never ask me along to discotheque?”

But there’s one long face in the team’s locker room, that of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the Lithuanian center who was acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers after James made his much-publicized move from the same team to warmer climes.  “I was promised a parade, just like LeBron,” Ilgauskas says, his face a map of disappointment.  “I am from Cleveland too, I should get similar welcome.”

“Seriously–you should try Lithuanian food sometime.”

The Heat and the man who is sometimes referred to as The Human Pencil Eraser because of the smooth pink surface he maintains on his head differ on exactly what promises were made before the season began.  “We said he could go to a parade,” says Tom Schneidhorst, the team’s vice-president in charge of community outreach.  “I think there’s a language problem here.”

Chewbacca:  Runs the solar system pretty well for a big man.

Ilgauskas’ agent took the matter to arbitration, and the team and its backup center are working on a compromise.  “We’re talking to Local 143 of the Brotherhood of Tanning Bed Repairmen and the Greater Miami Cocaine Dealers Association,” says Gediminas Paksas, a Lithuanian immigrant who represents many of his fellow countrymen from the basketball-mad Baltic state.  “We were close with the Dade County Veterans of Star Wars Premieres, but they wanted Z to dress up as Chewbacca, so I nixed that one.”

Three-man weave:  Closed course, professional drunk driver.

Ilgauskas will make $1,352,181 this year, a reflection of his status as one of the NBA’s top “7&7” men, or someone who averages seven points and seven rebounds a game.  “It is not the drink the old people order in Miami,” he says, referring to a cocktail composed of equal parts Seagram’s Seven Crown whiskey and 7-Up, the refreshing lemon-lime soft drink.  “That is responsible for the way they weave across the roads, not the three-man weave of basketball.”

NBA Launches Campaign for the Cure for White Man’s Disease

NEW YORK. The National Basketball Association today announced a league-wide effort to increase minority participation in the sport by funding an initiative to be known as the “Campaign for the Cure for White Man’s Disease.”

“You can do it!”

“White Man’s Disease is the number one killer of alley-oop plays in America,” said NBA President David Stern.  “There’s nothing more painful than watching Chris Andersen clang one off the rim, unless it’s looking at his tattoos.”

Chris Andersen:  He went to the tattoo parlor and forgot to say “When”

White Man’s Disease, like Sickle-Cell Anemia and Tay-Sachs Disease, attacks members of a specific genetic group–Caucasians–and impairs their vertical leaping ability. “Some people, like Larry Bird, overcome this crippling plague,” said sports medicine expert Leonard Furz of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. “Others are consigned to miserable lives as certified public accountants or life insurance salesman.”

Bird:  One who overcame the deadly disease.

Basketball has lagged behind other professional sports that have undertaken efforts to increase minority participation, such as Major League Baseball’s “RBI” or “Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities” and the National Hockey League’s “Hockey is for Everyone”.  “We’re playing catch-up ball, and we know it now,” said Stern.  “I thought we were playing basketball before, but I stand corrected.”

Stern:  “I feel most comfortable at the power nebbish spot.”

Predominantly white NBA beat reporters, for whom neck strain caused by looking up to towering basketball stars is an occupational hazard, were skeptical of pro basketball’s motives. “They’re just doing this so they won’t get sued for racial discrimination,” said Indianapolis Star-Times reporter Myles Heinz. “They’re not going to do it out of the kindness of their teensy-tiny hearts.”

Kyle Korver:  “I got an H on you!”

In first weeks of the 2010-11 season current and former NBA stars will fan out to hotspots where the disease threatens to reach epidemic proportions.

Malone:  “There’s no jazz in Utah, so I went country.”

“You walk the streets of Salt Lake City and it’s like a ghost town,” said former Utah Jazz power forward Karl Malone. “Everybody’s white as a sheet.  They’re also kinda petite and got slow feet.”

NBA Adds UConn Women, Nets Join Youth Basketball League

SAN ANTONIO, Texas.  Following their runaway victory over Stanford in last night’s NCAA championship game, NBA President David Stern has extended an invitation to the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team to join the professional league this fall, replacing the New Jersey Nets.

“Yes!  The big bucks!”

“Those young ladies put on a demonstration of hustle, skills and determination that showed a national TV audience what basketball is all about,” Stern said as he was doused with Diet Coke in the winner’s locker room.  “I wish I could say the same about New Jersey.”

Jay-Z:  “Can I get a refund?”

Under the proposal the Nets would join the Metrowest, Mass. CYO Elite division, playing against 12 and 13-year olds selected on the basis of tryouts and their parents’ obnoxiousness.  “It’s a competitive league, no doubt about it,” said Mike Ward, coach of the St. Zepherin Zephyrs of Natick, Mass.  “It’ll take the Nets a couple of years to get acclimated, but they’ll pick first in the fall draft based on their abysmal record.”

“St. Zepherin is killing us!”

The 53-47 win over Stanford was UConn’s 78th straight and clinched their second consecutive NCAA Division I championship.  At their current 11-66 pace, the Nets would win seventy-eight games in the year 2012 unless, as predicted by Mayan mythology, the team moves to Brooklyn and the world ends first.

“He was there–I saw him.”

The Nets are a former ABA team that is owned in part by rapper Shawn Corey Carter, better known as Jay-Z.  Mr. Z pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal charges in 2000 stemming from the release of a duet with Mariah Carey after initially denying he was anywhere near the studio at the time of the recording.

The UConn women’s basketball team has overcome numerous obstacles in becoming the premier program in the nation, including lack of funding.  “We’re a public institution,” noted the school’s Assistant Director of Sports Information Beverly DiPasquale.  “We need to save every nickel we make to pay the men.”