Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
JOB INTERVIEW FOR THE GENERALS
My good friend, Marv Melsner, was a pretty fair small college ballplayer who prided himself on being in superior condition. He would like nothing better than to play basketball for pay year around. He’s not NBA capable, too short at 6’4” to play inside in a foreign league but he thinks he’s fundamentally sound enough to compete in big arenas around the world. When he saw this chance to play 120 games a year he laced up his Adidas and ran to the hotel where they were interviewing for new Washington Generals. He recorded the interview for our readers:
Washington General Interviewer: Your name is Marv? Sit down, please. We want guys who love the game of basketball, love to hear it bounce and are willing to play in all conditions. It says here you averaged 16 ppg at Grinnell College. Are you passionate? Are you one of those guys?
Marv Melsner: I am, Sir. I’d love nothing more than playing basketball every day of the year.
WGI: That’s good. You could be playing in ten different countries next year, sometimes outdoors, concrete courts. You good with that?
MM: I get to play basketball and see the world? Why wouldn’t I be?
WGI: Some guys can’t take the grind. Some get a little depressed.
MM: Depressed? With fans paying good money to watch us play?
WGI: That’s the thing, Marv. Not too many will be there to watch YOU play. When they’re all rushing to get autographs after the game, don’t take it too hard if no one asks for yours.
MM: The Generals don’t get to sign any autographs?
WGI: I heard tell it happened once, but the rumor was never confirmed. How do you feel about getting de-panted a few times a game?
MM: De-panted? Like in the middle of the game, some Globetrotter pulling my pants down?
WGI: Yes, you’ll be expected to wear hearts or little doggies on your underwear. Is that a problem?
MM: I guess so. Maybe I can wear Batman or Superman underwear.
WGI: No, we follow regulations. It’s either hearts or doggies. Plus you don’t want the underwear looking weird when a bucket of water is thrown on it, do you?
MM: Water? I thought it was confetti.
WGI: No, confetti is for the fans. You’ll get water splashed on you, definitely. How good are you at blocking half court hook shots?
MM: Well, you won’t believe this but I’m actually pretty good. I’ve practiced blocking hook shots and was pretty successful at Grinnell.
WGI: Wrong answer. You will never block a half court hook shot. Understood? You will be allowed to play defense but only at certain times of the game. Is this a problem? Sometimes the ball will be hidden from you in the shirt behind your opponent’s back. Is that a problem?
MM: You mean because it will be obvious the ball is stuck in the shirt and I’ll look like a fool hunting for the ball? Will my pants be on when I’m searching for the ball?
WGI: Yes, when they hide the ball, your pants will be on. Now, one more thing, how are you with losing?
Will it eat at you? Will it gnaw at your soul? Will you ever be sitting at a lonely coffee shop in Budapest whining about never winning a game?
MM: No, I’ve got energy. I get off on traveling the world. I get a thrill seeing the net splash. I don’t need to win to appreciate I get to do something a lot of kids just dream about. Sign me up, Sir.