Author’s Note: Every year since their 2008 inaugural season, the Erie BayHawks have hosted two open tryouts — one in the team’s home city, the other in that of their NBA affiliate (beginning last year, our beloved New York Knicks). Last Monday, The BayHawks held their first tryout in Manhattan. Being a lifelong cager myself, I wanted to see first-hand how well I could stack up against competition not incredibly far removed from the limelight of the NBA. As it turns out: Not very well.
“OK, what’s our next turn?” my wife, having nobly volunteered to drive us into Manhattan at 5:30 on a Monday morning, inquires.
Groggily grabbing the criminally unreliable Garmin GPS, my sleep-deprived brain does a double-take at the screen.
“In a little less than a mile you have to take Sprain Brook Parkway… Sprain Brook Parkway? That’s what it’s called? Sprain Brook Parkway?”
In the pantheon of bad basketball tryout omens, there are maybe two things that would’ve frightened me more:
1) A net-less iron rim crashing through the windshield
2) Accidentally running over a hitchhiking Clyde Frazier
I made it into the city by seven, a full hour before the scheduled start time. This year’s tryout — Erie’s first in New York since officially becoming the Knicks affiliate last year — is held at Baruch College, a CUNY satellite on the corner of 24th and Lexington. Loping down two flights of stairs to the college’s basement gyms, I easily find the registration table, manned by one of the team’s trainers. Luckily, I’d paid my $150 registration fee in advance, determined to make sure I secured a spot. I introduce myself, adding that I was the guy that had emailed the front office about covering the tryout from a first-person, Plimptonian angle, and should I also sign in on the media …
“Oh we know who you are,” the trainer interrupts, cracking a wry, mischievous smile, the kind of smile that says “you, my friend, just paid the equivalent of a Knicks ticket for the privilege of puking in the bleachers.”…
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