1.16.2021 – at end of the bench

at end of the bench
players play at not playing
insane, to stay sane

I came across an old book of Mitch Albom columns from the 1990’s the other day.

The Detroit Free Press used to issue pseudo books of Mr. Albom’s by picking 100 of his recent columns and reprinting them.

I remember them well as I was working at a book store back in then.

Then went by the imaginative titles of Live Albom #1, #2 … etc.

I also remember them as I remember reading them when the columns themselves were in the Free Press.

Or at least I remember the events in the columns if not the columns themselves.

Telling you the truth I DO remember reading some of them though.

Sounds too much to accept that I could recall Mr. Albom’s writing after 30 years but some of them, I can.

Maybe that says more about Mr. Albom’s writing than about me or maybe I am just a little odd.

Ernie Hemmingway once put on paper a statement on writing that went something like, “if you can write in such a way that WHAT YOU WRITE becomes part of the consciousness of the reader, then you are writer.”

I will that this applies to Mr. Albom, at least before he had to admit he ‘contrived’ or ‘projected’ a lot of his conversations with people as to ‘they way it would have happened … had it happened.”

I guess instead of reporting we just change the heading over his books to fiction, it is still good.

But this is all prologue.

I got the idea for todays Haiku from a column that appeared in the Detroit Free Press on April 18, 1990.

Written during the Detroit Pistons 2nd NBA Championship run during the Bad Boys era, the article was about two player, Scott Hastings and David Greenwood who never, if rarely got into a game.

An NBA team has 12 players.

5 players play at any one time.

So 5 really good players is all you need.

With maybe 2 or 3 guys off the bench.

That leaves 4 or 5 guys, really really good, NBA level talent, athletes sitting on the bench trying to look excited about being paid a lot of money to not play.

Mr. Albom titled the column, At the end of the bench you play at not playing.

Then led off the column quoting Scott Hastings as sayin, “Every thing we do is insane. It keeps us sane.”

Mr. Albom’s column was the story of 2 grown men working to dealing with life in one of the brightest of sports spotlights and the light just misses them.

The two players Greenwood and Hastings, how they passed they time, talking to fans, asking them to order popcorn, cheering for their team, watching the crowd, commenting on the weather, taking part in time out huddles.

Listing goofy thing after goofy thing just to pretty much stay sane.

Or at least stay awake.

This is what struck me.

This was just these two fellers in there little world.

If you were a fan and sat nearby you might have noticed it.

Some of the players on the Pistons bench said they were aware of the zany world at that end of the bench and tried to avoid.

It was … private.

You know what I mean?

It was a world of just these two players and they did these things just for themselves.


Today with twitter?

Today with twitter and other aspects of social media?

These guys and there little world most likely would be mega stars or ‘influencers.”

And it would not have been the same.

So many little worlds like this used to exist.

Private and on going unto themselves for the sake of themselves.

If there was an outlet for this it was AM TALK RADIO late late at night.

Today all these little private goofy, odd and maybe scary worlds are in the fore front somehow.

Instead of being under the carpet or off the radar they lead the newscycle.

I think these little worlds, like the players at the end of the bench, have always been there.

But now they have a voice.

A megaphone.

A megaphone yelling LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME.

Social Media has pulled back the carpet and revealed all the bugs underneath.

Instead of the guys at the end of bench, I am the one going insane to stay sane.

I feel like I am playing at not playing.

All the news now is just AM TALK RADIO with live video … of the person talking.

Can say it is an improvement.

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