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Hoops Friendships Keep Ticking

I’ve been blabbering about Two Bikes and A Ball, my recent bike-ride-basketball odyssey with Rick Horan, who can, uhm, ride a bike. The basketball part? Well, check out the video (Google: “Two Bikes and a Ball”—use the quotations). I’ve got to recommend watching the video and closing your eyes at the same time. If you peek, you’ll see what I mean.

I posted something online that got a good amount of attention, so I figured I’d put it in the paper for those of you who don’t “go on the computer.”

Here goes:

I don’t live in the past. I’m STILL trying to make the NBA.

I was reminded yesterday why I can trace all my best friends through basketball.

On March 6, 1977, I was part of the Nazareth High School team that beat Power Memorial 59-57 at a packed Fordham University gym to win the NYC Catholic High School City Championship. (About a million maniacs were part of that team, too!)              

Winning the City Champs was a big deal, and we were given watches to commemorate the feat. It was a treasured keepsake—until that day I put it on the roof of my car and drove away. Probably in the Top 10 of my all-time knuckleheaded moves.

I wrote about my absent-mindedness in a column a couple of years ago. And then a few days later, a small package arrived at my house and goose bumps followed. A 1977 City Champs watch—the one shown here—came to me in the mail. No return address, no signature, no nothing. 

It wasn’t the one I left on top of the car. It was the generous gesture of one of my teammates. I had zero idea who might have sent me the replacement watch. I emailed all my teammates asking who sent it. Crickets. Nothing, no one copping to it.

I put the watch in safe place and kinda forgot about it.

And then the other day, two and a half years later, this teammate emailed me to say he liked my videos, “Two Bikes and A Ball” on YouTube. And then he asks, ever guess who gave you the watch? I got goosebumps then, and I just got them writing this now.

I have not seen this teammate in 40 years. I would like to give Billy “Chickie” Chandler a personal Standing Ovation. Teammate and friend for life.

Now you know why I can’t stop playing basketball.

PS: The watch is still ticking, baby.


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